As I (I’m pretty sure?) have said, I have a toddler. A sassy, energetic, 2.5 year old, who has been potty training for the past six months or so. This is important to the story I promise.
Additionally, I’m pregnant. Like 17 weeks, or for non-moms, 4ish months.
And, because of course it fucking is, it’s Christmas break. The time where the monster and I hang out in the middle of the year, because I’m off work and working mom guilt is fucking real people. We throw off his routine, I get mad, he gets cranky. Good times. Last year was fairly mild, the year before we spent a couple days in the hospital with RSV. I mean clearly, Christmas break is a TIME in our lives.
Today being New Year’s Eve, we were cleaning house yesterday so friends could come hang out and I wouldn’t be embarrassed by the state of my house, which was admittedly, ashamedly, dirty. Well, I was. Hubby was…I don’t even fucking know, yesterday, and Monster? Well, he was pooping on the hallway floor.
And then, as I’m emptying the dust pan, he looks at me and goes, “Look at this!” as he’s holding his massive turd. Which he had somehow stepped in and managed to track a few more feet down our–of course, carpeted–hallway. When I sat down and asked him why, he just looked at me with big blue eyes, and goes, “Sorry I pooped on the floor, Mama.”
Now, even today with a little space and time, the story is funny. But yesterday? After he’d already had one poop (in pants) accident? Not so funny. In fact, it sent me into a spiral of self-doubt as a mother, which led to self-doubt as a wife because as previously stated my house was a fucking war zone. (Sidenote, I don’t actually believe that it’s my job as the wife to do the lion’s share of cleaning, in fact usually we split it, and my husband has had to take over more since I’m been in grad school. Still). I texted my mom looking for advice and she mentioned what I already knew, that his routine was off and he was going to act out.
But that doesn’t change the guilt and self-doubt. He’s been basically potty trained–including nap times!–at daycare for a month, and pretty much accident free on and off since June, but home is different. And, as my mom put it, it’s only going to get worse when the baby comes in June, because Monster is used to getting all of his grandparents on my side’s attention, and most of ours, and he probably isn’t going to love being a sibling–at least at first.
I wished I wasn’t pregnant yesterday. Which made the guilt even more prominent. And, I worry that the guilt and anger I’ve felt for so much of this pregnancy are going to negatively impact the little nugget I’m currently growing.
Mom guilt is fucking real, my friends, and it feels pretty unavoidable, but real talk: don’t we all have these days? Days where our kids just won’t listen? Days where it seems like everything we say is ignored by our husbands and children? Days where our house looks like we lost the battle–because, to be honest, we probably did. Does it really fucking matter? If my house is messy, it’s because I have a toddler, I hate cleaning, and I haven’t been in a great place lately in terms of mental health lately. If my toddler isn’t listening, it’s probably because he’s a fucking toddler and part of their M.O. is testing boundaries. Does that make me a bad mom? A bad wife? No. It makes me human.
The problem with mom blogs, Pinterest posts, Instagram, whatever, is that people don’t talk about this shit. We feel like failures and we hide behind the “perfect” posts: our kids doing sweet things, looking clean and perfect, clean houses, romantic moments. I’m not advocating to put all your dirty laundry on social media, but maybe a little more realistic? I’m terrified to be vulnerable, but I find myself drawn to vulnerable people: Kirsten Bell, Cardi B, Chrissy Tiegen, and P!nk come to mind, but also some of my friends who are so fantastic about posting real life shit, with their names and faces attached. (As I post real life shit behind a blog where my face and name aren’t visible, I know, I teach English, I get the irony.) I think they’re stronger than people who hide behind this idea of what life is supposed to look like.
So, as we approach the end of 2018, my goal is to try a little vulnerability, a little honesty. Lower, more realistic expectations for myself and my family. Less wanting perfection, because it’s unattainable, but also because it would be so fucking boring if it were a thing.