Sorry to have kept you waiting for another post - I think you'll like this one! ;)
As I now am just starting to feel like an "experienced" mama I thought I’d share some of my dirty little secrets of motherhood that help me to take care of three kids on a daily basis. Whether you have one child or five (or more!) there are some dirty little secrets that I believe every mother either already has or should have because let’s face it sometimes a shortcut leads to the road of sanity! So here are just a few of mine - and now secrets no more!
1. Floor snacking (the true inspiration behind this post). Baby D is a crawling machine and as such, moves at lightning speed to anything edible or non-edible on the floor, which then enters the mouth immediately. In the stage of finger food exploration, land of puffs, cheerios, crackers, etc. much of this food ends up on the floor. So my first dirty little secret is: sometimes in our house there is floor snacking. When two other kids are calling me into action, the vacuuming has to wait momentarily, and it’s generally just enough time for Baby D to get a little snack in – whatever he missed when it was placed on a nice clean tray in front of him. It’s gross, and I imagine a handful of you reading this are cringing, but you know what, it happens! He seems to be no worse for the wear! Between meals, bottles, and floor snacking I know my child is both well fed and building a strong immune system.
2. Meet our babysitter: WETA Kids Channel 26. I could very easily let the guilt take over of using cartoons as a “babysitter” to get things done or occasionally blog, but I don’t. It’s another dirty little secret and sometimes one of the best tools I can utilize on a particularly busy day. As I write this, Daniel Tiger is on and the episode is about doing the best you can, how fitting! This lesson is taught to children to learn young, so you can carry it with you your whole life! “The best you can, is the best for you” – thanks Daniel Tiger, because sometimes my best is putting on this delightful show and getting online to pay some bills, wash some dishes, or even take a shower! So if you’re like me and put on the TV for however many hours to tackle tasks in your day that require little interruption, then embrace this dirty little secret, because we’re all just doing the best we can! When the TV isn’t on play games, read books, go on adventures – it’s all about balance!
3. I have a personal chef – it’s called a microwave. Yet again, I could let the guilt take over & beat myself up for not cooking every meal from scratch – I mean I’m home for goodness sake right?! The reality though, is that sometimes I don’t want to cook…sometimes I want something out of a box and heated to a safe internal cooking temperature after 5 minutes in what I deem a modern miracle, then eat directly out of the container not creating one more dirty dish to clean!
My kids get organic milk, eat more fruit than I keep stocked in the house, and then there’s my dirty little secret - from time to time they get frozen chicken nuggets and kids cuisine meals heated up in the microwave and voila, dinner is ready! For some of you this is a shortcut you refuse and I applaud you, I have life goals based on you – but my reality calls for shortcuts and many times a microwave is involved!
4. I have a cleaning lady – there is no witty joke here – I have one. Hold the eye roll for just a moment & let me explain! This is a dirty little secret for a handful of reasons. First off, I know what you are thinking…”you’re a stay at home mom (SAHM) and you have a cleaning lady?!?!”, “What do you do all day, why aren’t you cleaning, how is that affordable, etc?” My day varies and no day is the same, and yes a good portion of my day involves cleaning, but I like to call this cleaning "baseline cleaning". To maintain a baseline of mild cleanliness in my house I do the following; clean dishes, clean up toys (over and over again), sweep/vacuum –preferably before floor snacking happens, & laundry – a never ending pile of laundry for the army I apparently clothe in this house…
I love being a SAHM, but like any job, some people are poor at their job, good at their job, or excellent at their job – I’m going to rate myself in the good category. I manage a lot, I try to engage the kids daily, make sure their needs are met, and they are happy and loved. What I don’t do is have the perfect daily schedule of tackling house chores, doing little lessons for my toddler, making perfect wholesome meals and packed lunches, etc. I’m not excellent at this SAHM gig, I do "ok", but there's always room for improvement. I digress – but the reason why I have a cleaning lady is because I NEED one. It’s a dirty little secret that’s a bit shameful for a SAHM since most people believe a main role of this title is cleaning. Time slips away from me (bill paying, errands, book stuff, managing a rental property, and time for friends and activities for the kids, personal time/social media, and so on). Deep cleaning bathrooms, mopping floors, changing bedding, and dusting - all fall to the wayside. For SAHMs out there that tackle all this solo I’m literally amazed. I can feel hives developing thinking about having to tackle every single house chore and responsibility on my own. I’m thankful I can have a cleaning lady. It’s not easy to afford (we are not the Kardashians), and there are times when we choose between going out to something fun or purchasing something new for the house in order to pay the cleaning lady – but it’s a choice we feel is right for our family. It's a dirty little secret of mine, and one I’m perhaps equally ashamed of and thankful for at the same time. Thankfulness wins out and the shame takes 2nd place.
My dirty little secrets (and these are just some) are my shortcuts to surviving being a SAHM and doing the best I can. Ultimately my shortcuts provide me sane moments when at times our family of five can make me feel like I live in a nuthouse! See photo for case in point.
As we head into Thanksgiving I call on you to embrace your dirty little secrets and be thankful to any shortcuts you have in your life! Most importantly thank yourself!
Give yourself some credit for doing the best you can, even if it falls short of perfect and leads to a dirty little secret! I truly believe love and happiness comes out of imperfection and controlled chaos, or at least that's what I'm banking on :P