Introducing ‘Mondays for Moms’: A love letter to the mom who never feels enough
Editors note: ‘Mondays for Moms’ is Yellowhammer’s first weekly lifestyle offering. Every Monday, Erin Brown Hollis will bring doses of love, humor, encouragement and empathy to Alabama’s moms. Check back every week for a new post, and be sure to download the Yellowhammer News app on your smartphone and subscribe to Erin’s “Cheers to That” podcast for more great lifestyle content.
The following is the first edition of Mondays for Moms:
A love letter to the mom who never feels enough
I imagine my first vision of becoming a mom embedded in my brain the second I realized there was a follow-up storyline to my legendarily intense Ken and Barbie sitting-in-a-tree play sessions. It was something aching inside of me that just awakened, I guess. Once I discovered I wasn’t actually my brother’s mom (apparently bossing people around isn’t the only resume filler for motherhood), it was game on for fulfilling my destiny of adding “mommy” to my resume.
And, like most little girls who grew up and later became moms, I imagined those first few moments with my newborn were going to be worthy of the opening lines in the next magical fairytale that I had written for Ken and Barbie so many years back.
And they were … for a little bit anyway.
She cooed. I ahhed. You know the drill. The lime margarita flavored hospital popsicles were flowing and momma was in euphoria. It was everything my little five-year-old brain had dreamed it would be (absent the massive mesh panties and ridiculously uncomfortable witch hazel pads stashed in places I shall not mention on this PG-rated website).
Ahh yes. It was all fun and games and Instagram perfection … until we got home from the hospital.
I suppose I thought the precious baby nurses in the hospital would manifest in some mystical form a few miles down the road in my humble abode and/or that God would bestow upon me some magical power to care for my new little family member with ease and the energy of a marathon runner who made it all the way to the finish line.
But, then the cruel reality settled in: It was just gonna be the two of us.
Daddy had to go back to work.
Family members had to tend to their own lives.
And there we were. Just an over-tired newborn momma and a precious little *screaming at the top of her lungs* bundle of joy.
No one warns you about the scariness when you are staring at the wall in your child’s nursery for those first moments at home alone. No one tells you that rather than critiquing whether or not that stuffed animal is better positioned to the left or right of the Diaper Genie in the nursery, you will instead begin to feel those pastel-colored walls closing in. And fast.
When I had my babies, there weren’t viral mom videos flooding my social media feeds of fellow mom-sisters offering some #realtalk on a Monday morning during naptime (aka mom nation’s only opportunity to sip on cold coffee for a hot second).
There weren’t mom blogs flooding my inbox with the hope that I was not the only one wiping barf off of crib rails at 2 a.m … or at least not any that I was reading at the time.
Nope. We were all alone on our struggle buses of insanity.
The things nobody tells you about when you have a child are the things that will be most endearing when glancing back 40 years from now, or at least that’s what my mother continues to profess to me.
Mornings of sleeping in and enjoying a casual breakfast have turned into fire-alarm-esque warning bells that the day has begun and you’re already 20 minutes late to the party.
Breakfast does not consist of healthy yogurt parfaits accompanied by those delicious Starbucks lattes anymore. HA! Yeah right. Now, we’re lucky if we manage to cram a Nutri Gran bar down our throats while driving 15 miles over the speed limit to make it to carpool line on time.
Laundry has become a game of “Where did she find this?”; “How did she manage to come back with the entire playground in her shorts?!?” and my all-time favorite: “Poop or chocolate?!?”
My closet has become my safe zone rather than my land of pretty things. I’m safe … and alone … in there, right?!
Speaking of being alone, my restroom rituals have turned into a one-woman stage show … with all eyes on me. It’s almost like my little ones expect a singing, acting and dance show worthy of a short stint on Broadway. Anyone else like to potty alone? Could someone share this concept with my kids?!?
Forget about hosting a Southern Living approved get together unless you block out childcare for three days prior. Let’s get real, they probably need to be gone for the whole week to make it doable.
What about those fun nights out with hubby and friends? Drinks until 10 or 11, which now sounds like an out of control college rave, have turned into hot toddies and zonked out by 9:30.
And you know what?
I would not change one thing.
Because now my mornings consist of extra snuggles and slobbery kisses.
My breakfasts contain roaring laughter and frequent giggle fits.
The surprises in the laundry basket aren’t always horrifying and mystifying. Sometimes I find tiny hidden stuffed animals reminding me of what a precious stage my babies are in.
One day I’ll miss all those snuggle bunnies in the bathroom. Well, “miss” is a strong word. I will reflect on those moments fondly as I revel in my return to freedom.
Southern Living can save my cover spread for another day. I’d much rather be reading those bedtime stories than polishing that silly silver anyway…
As far as a night out, I sneak one of those in as often as I can. But, nights at home suit me just fine these days.
And I bet you’d agree … after 8 p.m., of course …
So, the next time you feel like you are the only momma staring into the business end of a toddler’s rear for the 50-leventh time on a Tuesday morning at 3:32 a.m., take comfort, girl. I’m right there with ya. And the rest of naptime nation is, too.