Let’s face it, we all get tired. We all get fed up and just done with the day. It is just part of the job of motherhood. I, for one, always get up in the morning with hope. I am going to make all of their meals from scratch and fold all of the laundry AND put it away the same day! I am going to be patient, watch the tone and volume of my voice and manage all three kids with expert mommying skills. Every night I go to bed recounting those promises and kissing the pillow that I made it through another day. Most of the time I get it right. But sometimes, I don’t. I cheat at motherhood. Make it by the hair of my chinny chin chin. I used to feel bad about it. Berate myself for not being better more of the time. But in this journey, I have decided that It is OK to Cheat at Motherhood. Here are some ways I cheat!
We all want hear time after time that it is bad for our kids to let them use electronics for very long. I agree, actually and my kids are not allowed any electronics during the school week, including TV. The only ‘exception’ is 19 Kids and Counting on Tuesday nights, but only if it is new. I need all the parenting help I can get y’all and anyone with that many kids has to have some useful tips. Whether I agree with their beliefs or not, the show itself is the only one the kids and I can watch together and the only one where I know values and morals are on display. Other than that, though, it’s electronics off.
However, the non-electronic rule does not apply to mommy. I know, I am a hypocrite, but it just does not. The kids point it out to me. I would feel bad about it but I hide behind the ‘this is my work’ excuse and figure I will pay for it later. But when I am drowning, when I am tired and when I am out of ideas, I do use technology to cheat at parenting. They still can not play on them, but I can play on my phone for the benefit of them! Games like Head’s Up and the kid friendly YouTube videos can entertain my children while leaving me planted lazily on the couch. A cheat I use at least once a week, technology can make my day a little easier.
Processed foods have their place:
I totally admire the moms that are so dedicated to their kid’s diets that they have never, ever, ever had processed foods. I am not one of those moms. I am more like 70/ 20/10 . 70% of the time, the kids eat ‘perfect’ meals. 20% of the time they eat mostly healthy meals. Like grilled chicken and corn and noodles, but all smothered in gravy. 10% of the time I am rummaging through the freezer for anything eatable I can pop in the microwave and serve up. Or I am ordering a pizza on my electronic device to be delivered to my door. I refuse to feel bad for cheating at meal time here and there. When you are drowning in all of the responsibilities of motherhood, school work, home maintenance, laundry… don’t forget the damn laundry, dirty dishes, dogs, emotional meltdowns and more, pizza is a cheat I refuse to give up.
Let them be messy:
The thing that bugs me more than my kids inability to put things where they go – as in, anywhere but the floor under my feet – is the non-stop asking of them to pick up their stuff. Clear their place. Flush the toilet. Don’t get water on the floor from the bathtub. Put their clothes in the hamper so I can do more damned laundry. Put their bikes in the garage. Make their beds. Hang up their towel. Throw the trash IN the trashcan. And on and on it goes. The non stop directional instructions that we hope will actually cut down on our daily work and somehow instill the desire to be neat and clean individualsgets old very, very quickly. I get sick of it. I really, really do. All except flushing the toilet. Because that is just gross.
Once a week or when I hit my breaking point, I simply stop. I let them be messy. When the dog eats their favorite toy for the moment and they step on sharp edges with their delicate feet and launch into a the ‘Mommy it huuurrtttsssss!’ tantrum, I simply tell them that if they had picked it up, they would have avoided said disaster. Now I realize that at some point, I am going to have to stay up way past my bedtime and actually pick up their junk, or force feed them an M&M per toy they pick up, thus allowing the whole processed food thing to interject itself, but sometimes, I just need them to be messy. If for no other reason than to stop hearing myself talk to the wall.
There are some things you should never cheat on in motherhood. Don’t ever stop telling your children how much you love them, how proud you are of them (especially when you are doubting it), hugging them, kissing them, allowing them to think for themselves and be curious. Don’t let them ever doubt how much they mean to you.
But on the stuff that memories are not made of – unless you don’t do the laundry for a really, really long time and they are forced to wear an outfit you dug out of the closet from two years before and it is school picture day and the sleeves come to their elbows and the pants come to their shins, thus creating a possibly traumatic memory – it is OK to cheat at motherhood.
At least I think it is!
How do you cheat in motherhood? I want to know!