Pop quiz time! Let’s be honest, who among us doesn’t battle that nasty question rattling about in our minds, “Am I doing this right?!”
The thing is, motherhood is all about making choices. I love the concept of moms being the CEOs of the household. Because it’s so true, but mostly because it makes me feel fancy and important.
For a considerable chunk of time, I considered having business cards printed declaring my title as such. Then I calculated the reasonable surplus of said cards after handing them out to all of my employees. Even if I included the dog in my count of zero, gave multiple copies to my children and to my husband and bought the Vistaprint value pack using a fab Groupon, I’d still have well over 200 hundred left. This may not be the best investment.
So I just go on, quietly declaring to myself throughout my days, “You are the CEO. YOU CAN DO THIS.” It’s a pep talk and identity all in one. Score!
To be honest, I don’t really know what company CEOs do, but I’m guessing it’s all about declaring terribly important decisions, like “No! Use Shipping Dock A, not B!” and “We must replace all the toilet paper!”. And this is pretty much exactly what my job is. While the tricky weight of my choices may not involve plummeting stocks or future quarter projections, but they do juggle something pretty darn valuable: Mommy’s Sanity.
You see, we moms must work viciously, daily to make smart choices, and we always wonder if we’re doing it right, all while desperately working to keep our our sanity in check.
So let’s take a minute to check in on the bottom line with this POP QUIZ: are we making the right choices?
- You have 25 minutes before you must pick your daughter up at preschool. Do you: a) take a shower or b) wash the mountain of dishes on your sink?
- Your kids have been having screen time for a bit (read: ages too long) and it’s time to turn it off. You look into the living room and they are sitting side-by-side on the couch, snuggled up and giggling over a Little Einsteins episode together. Do you leave them undisturbed?
- Your kids ask to have friends over. You are so back-loaded with work, you want to cry. Yes or no?
- You fondly remember the Peanuts cartoons from your childhood. You want to take your kids to see the new movie, but they have no idea who Charlie Brown is. Do you rapidly Amazon Prime-up the DVDs and schedule a crash course?
- Your 4 yr. old daughter is having one of her epic tantrums about something nonsensical. What’s your first, go-to appropriate response?
- Your leggings are obscenely comfortable and you really like the blue shade of your long-sleeve tee. You don’t have time to exercise and smell mostly fresh. Do you bother to change?
- You miss your friend. Your kids are busy being “fantastic”. Do you pick up the phone and call her anyway?
- Your husband sets the thermostat at tundra level and then leaves for work. Do you wait until your feet go numb or immediately turn it up as he walks out the door?
- You wake up exhausted and loathing the general concept of preschool. Do you a) decide to bag it all and do Color Wonder pages ad nauseum with your child all morning instead? b) go anyway and glare covertly at anyone who looks semi-perky in the parking lot?
- Your kids are in bed and your husband is out for the night. Do you a) give the house a beyond-needed tidying up or b) cozy up with the newest Rainbow Rowell book?
- It depends (such an annoying answer, I know). But seriously, what will give you the most peace? Kitchen clutter makes me feel significantly scattered, so unless it’s been a sizable period of time since I showered, I would probably go with the dishes, but this is different for everyone.
- Yes. Let them be. I know, the screen-time limit afficianados are glaring daggers at me right now. But in my book, if they are happy, and moreover, enjoying their time together, it’s a win in my book.
- If the friends are a help in distracting your children to give you space and not an added stress, go for it. My children are 4 and 6 so we are on the fence with this on. Going low-stress is always a super idea, but I also like to encourage my kids’ friendships, so usually end up saying yes.
- Yes, obviously. By the way, if you haven’t yet indoctrinated your children in the world of Peanuts, YOU ARE FAILING AS A PARENT.
- Pray. No, seriously. As I’ve shared, this is the truest pain of parenthood for me. That said, I don’t know that we can win this one, friends.
- No, don’t be silly. UNLESS it will make you feel more calm to pull yourself together. My reasons are typically guided by concern that others will think me a sloppy fool. This is dumb. Ignore such rationale–always, please.
- Always. If she’s a real friend, she’ll ignore the background screams and get it. If she’s not, she’s not worth it.
- Wait. I know. You totally thought I’d tell you to run to the thermostat, right? The thing is, I work really hard to respect our budget and my husband. So I pile on the six sweatshirts and grouchily stomp around for at least a solid hour before nudging the temp up to a humane level.
- Glare away. Glaring is always cool, and if it’s not, everyone else is too intimidated to tell you otherwise. Also, there’s a chance your kid might learn something, so there’s that…buck up, mama. I feel you.
- Please. You are reading Mom of the Year, not a gorgeous parenting journal. Snatch up your book, and for goodness’ sake, read with us!
The bottom-line: Sanity is a careful balance, not a clear-cut formula.
The point: Sanity, however it is best achieved for you, matters. Protect it passionately. Ignore what works for the too-fab mom at preschool, and embrace your own North Star, if you will. Do what works for you, and once you make your choice, go with it and don’t look back.
Go for the sanity, friends, go for the sanity…
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