We’ve all had on days and off days, even on weeks and off weeks, but I am not used to having on years and off years. Maybe that’s because I haven’t had TOO many years as a mom — seven to be exact, pushing out three kids in that time frame. But, as I reflect on 2018 vs 2019, I went from being completely on top of everything to being a complete disaster (in my mind). Last year I was waking up at 5am every morning to do a boot camp style workout and was showered before the kids woke up at 6:30. I had a weekly menu plan and was cooking nutritious meals every day, resulting in major weight loss. I was organized, didn’t forget anything, spent my day dressed in daytime clothes and went to bed at the same time every night — 10pm. And this was all with one kid always home with me and another in daycare only 15 hours a week. My mind was alert, my body was strong and I felt like Supermom!
This year the only workout I’m doing is a yoga for back pain video (when I find time), eating like I don’t give a crap about my body and gaining back all the weight I had lost, being woken every day by my more-responsible-than-me seven-year old daughter for school, waiting to shower until I feel dirty, losing my mind, being forgetful, less responsive, unorganized, going to bed inconsistently and usually late, and ending the day in the same wrinkled pajamas, stale makeup and messy ponytail I went to bed in the night before. Basic sentences have become tongue twisters because my brain feels like mush. My 38-year-old face is having a reunion with my 16-year old face – hello acne! At the time of writing this I had a zit on my upper eyelid. I didn’t even know that was possible. One example of my brain fog is sending in $29 to attend my daughter’s 1st grade field trip which stated $15 for kids and $17 for adults. When her teacher pointed out my embarrassing mistake, I put $3 in a baggy with a post-it saying, “I guess I need to retake 1st grade math” to poke fun at myself. I then thought I put it in her bookbag for the next day, only to find it two weeks later behind a cookbook. I also emailed her teacher asking where her school pictures were. Fun fact: They were in her bookbag! I swore I looked in there. These goofy mistakes are happening more and more frequently, and this year I even have the luxury of both of my youngest going to Mother’s Day Out, giving me 15 hours a week to myself. What went wrong?! All I can say to my husband is, “I’m sorry, I don’t know what happened,” not that he’s asking, like a good hubby.
Although I feel like I’ve morphed into this “disaster,” I can still reflect on my days in detail and see how much I’m doing: nonstop loads of laundry, feeding picky eaters, carting younger kids to/from school three days a week, taking the dog out (even if I do forget to let him back in, most likely because a diaper needs changed…or the dryer buzzed…or I saw a crumb on the floor (SQUIRREL!)), constantly wiping down the crusty table (where do these crumbs keep coming from?!), filling and emptying the dishwasher usually twice a day, running errands even if I look homeless, being dad and house caretaker when my husband is traveling for work, dealing with school incidences such as “your child got someone else’s poop all over them on the bus” (true story), vacuuming the dog’s fur tumble weeds that I see rolling across the floor when the air turns on, possibly showering, stressing about never having time to sit down and write which fulfills my soul, planning never-ending appointments and fun outings, finally peeing after telling myself for the past three hours that I really need to pee, decorating our house for all the holidays because I’m festive like that, purging kid clothes and toys on a regular basis, cleaning the house (let’s face it; I use overnight guests as my only motivator for this), helping my kids pick up the ridiculous messes they make, replacing soap, napkins, wipes, TP and Kleenex boxes around the house (our family alone is probably killing the planet), school and church volunteer duties, playing with my kids, scrolling Facebook and Instagram if I’m being honest, realizing at 6pm I forgot to brush my teeth this morning on a much too common basis (by this point I may as well just wait ’til bedtime), Facetiming with out-of-town grandparents, dealing with constant bickering, limiting screen time which ultimately adds more drama and loudness to my day, prepping school bags for the next day (hopefully I didn’t leave anything behind another cookbook), packing lunches that only get half eaten, bathing slippery kids, the two-hour bedtime battle, the combined multi-hour meal struggles, and still show my spouse love and attention throughout the day. I think you get the point, and as fellow moms (and dads), I know you understand and can relate to all the minuscule tasks that make up our days. It’s when I reflect on all of these things that I think:
- No wonder I’m a disaster!
- How the heck did I do all that other responsible stuff last year?!
- When I go back to work one day, how will I do all of this on top of 40 hours of work?!
- Thank goodness I wasn’t a mom of the ’50s having to look like this every day.
It’s exhausting to even think about. And I’m supposed to drink 75oz. of water each day on top of it all?! It’s a good day if I consume one bottle! At least the coffee, milk in my cereal and late-night wine add some fluids to my deteriorating system.
I guess my point is this: whether you’re in an on year or an off year, know that you’re in a club either way. You’re killin’ it this year by looking all cute in your yoga pants as you leave the gym each day and later running your errands in your skinny jeans and coifed hair (hand raise last year). OR you’re killin’ it this year by treading water daily in your sweatpants and flipflops with socks in the rain, yelling at your dog to get inside while your phone is dinging in the background showing you a notification of something else you’ve forgotten to do (hand raise this year).
Each December we feel that internal struggle of how we want our upcoming new year to look like. Originally, I was going to end this post motivating my readers to get with the program and be their best selves. But then I realized I can’t even promise that to myself. The desire to make changes may be there, but maybe the motivation is lacking. Or maybe you have no plans of changing anything, but come January 1st a fire is lit and you improve upon your already awesome self. I’d love for my 2020 to look more like my 2018, but you know what? My 2019 still brought happy kids, a fed household, family travel, festive holidays and laughter. I may have some extra cushion around my mid-section and my greasy hair may be hiding under a winter hat, but my kids still see “mom.” So my only New Year’s resolution is to just keep swimming. My next motivated phase of life will come when it wants to, as will yours. For now I’ll enjoy the holiday cookies, a New Year’s party with friends and the run-to-me hugs from my kids when I pick them up from school.