Coping with The New Normal of Parenthood
Motherhood is an incredible experience. But fully appreciating it requires letting go of the old notions of normalcy. It means recognizing that there is a new normal.
In the new normal I must accept that my house is in a permanent state of disarray. Any order that is restored in the putting away of toys, books, papers, the unraveled roll of paper towel, the wet, soapy bath toys rescued from sure peril in the scummy tub drain and tossed to their new demise on the disheveled sofa cover, the upended tubes of Lincoln Logs, the wooden Melissa and Doug kitchen food and utensils and pots and pans scattered abroad, the cleaning up of pee and poo mishaps or the sticky fingerprints on the furniture, the windows, the walls, my soul, will be short lived—a moment to breathe and soak in the feng shui. And only a moment.
Just remind myself of that quote I heard some mom say once, that a messy house means a happy child. I only hope that visitors and service people are so taken in by the happy and charming child that they don’t notice the hoarder motif in the home décor.
In the new normal, showers are short, interspersed with frequent calling out for my son [I’ve coined the term sounding for the vocal technique I’ve adopted for keeping him near me while I’m showering—if he replies, I can tell whether or not he’s in close range], or occasional drippy forays out into the living room to ensure that he hasn’t gotten into the fridge and opened the strawberry box, eating a bite out of each and every berry, and leaving the remains spread about him on the kitchen floor, as he once did, or that he hasn’t escaped out the back door, which I’ve remembered in a panic that I forgot to lock.
In the new normal, the chaos level, like the national threat level, is always orange, if not red. In the new normal, you cannot leave your bags, or your toddler, unattended even for a moment. In the new normal, even once we are both dressed, our hair brushed, our collective teeth brushed so they not all yellow- they white and shiny, even after that last quick check in the mirror to make sure my eyebrows haven’t grown together or some bit of goo hasn’t planted itself somewhere on my face, its origins heretofore unknown, while I was busy with other things, it still may take another twenty minutes to actually make it out the door and into the car.
In the new normal, I have to take a deep breath and say, So, I just put my child’s shoes and socks back on six times between the house and the store and home again…but who’s counting? In the new normal, he takes his arms out from under the shoulder straps of his car seat as I’m zooming down the road, and I tell him to Lie back, just lie back, until I get to a spot where I can pull over and strap him back in. In the new normal I just have to get over worrying about what anybody else thinks of my mothering.
I’ve gotten some great tips from other moms on how to combat the chaos of the new normal. One mom said she takes her shower before her husband leaves for work, so he can watch the kids. [Light bulb going on.] Another mom told me she always keeps a spare hairbrush in the glove compartment of her car. [Ah hah.] I’ve taken to keeping a spare of tweezers, lotion, toothpicks, every aspect of my toilette, in the glove box. Works like a charm.
What are some of the ways that you keep things organized while the kids are on the loose? Or do you too have a funny tale to spill about the zanier side of life in the new normal?