It’s not a secret that the image of a frazzled mom is kinda played out. We’ve all seen the commercials that make it appear like a khaki-clad mom is experiencing the ultimate frustration when mopping the floor, or feeding her toddler, or leaving the house with kids. I mean, is there anything that’s tougher than corralling a trio of uniformed kids into a van for a soccer game? I mean, aside from getting a teething toddler back to sleep at four in the morning. Oh, and also distracting a hungry toddler long enough to prepare dinner.
Most of time time, I find these portrayals to be far from realistic. I mean, who wears khakis anymore, aside from people who work in retail (I see you guys, you have my heart). Still, I have indeed found that getting myself out the door with a kiddo can in fact be a total and complete sh*tshow. And I only have one child! I bow down to people with two or more kids and who manage to function in society. Actually, even if you have kids and you don’t function in society, you are still my sheroes.
I’m almost two years into motherhood and I’m rarely smooth with exits. I thought that getting myself ready and out the door before I had kids was a miraculous feat, and I assumed that doing so after becoming a mom would be basically the same. Like, maybe it would take a few more minutes, but mostly how hard could it be to get myself plus a little baby/kid ready to go? 10% more effort, tops. This is what I thought getting ready would be like. I was, as I'm sure you've guessed, vastly underestimating how difficult it would be. Here's how comically off-base my pre-baby concept of leaving the house with a kid was:
Brush teeth. Put on clothes, dry hair, apply a bit of make-up.
Gum. Put on clothes while toddler empties sock drawer. Ponytail and chapstick.
Stop to check weather app to determine if I need a jacket. Also pause to Facebook at a leisurely pace, check email, play a few rounds of Plants Vs. Zombies 2.
Change toddler’s diaper. Chase him around the house with his socks. Put on socks while he gleefully squirms in my lap.
Realize that my copy of Real Simple is still sitting untouched on the coffee table. Stop to peruse for ten minutes.
Chase him around the house with pants. Put on pants.
Decide that I’d like to take a coffee with me. Turn on Keurig, wash out my favorite travel mug while I wait for the machine to warm up.
Chase him around with shirt. Put on shirt.
Check my phone again as coffee brews.
Ask him to retrieve shoes, which he actually does albeit slowly and thoughtfully. Put on shoes.
Add milk and sugar to coffee. Sip and enjoy. Sigh comfortably.
Attempt to secretly pack snacks in the diaper bag. Toddler spots snacks and freaks out. Offer him three Cheerios. Re-hide snacks.
Put on my jacket and shoes, grab purse. Find keys exactly where they should be.
Put on my jacket and shoes, grab purse. Look for keys. Find them in toy bin, along with toddler’s hat. Put on hat. Fetch it again after he gleefully throws it across the room.
Get into my car without even fathoming a world where this would be a complicated thing.
Secure toddler in car seat, singing "B-I-N-G-O" the entire time. Dump my own stuff into the passenger seat, slide into the driver’s seat, allowing a feeling of pride and relief to wash over me. Boom.