Think this is going to be one of those articles where I describe what a “good” mom does and try to do everything possible to make sure you understand that I am NOT describing you? And then everyone gets heated and writes about it in the comments. Got your juices flowing for a good old-fashioned Mommy War?
Not that kind of article. Sorry. Take a billion steps back from all that pressure and chaos, and welcome to this post. Nice to have you!
According to my extensive research, there are only three types of mothers. You can be more than one kind but not all three. So I guess that means there are more than just three kinds. Although then I think you have to cross multiply, and I was an English major in college. Let’s skip it and get to the words. I’m good with the words.
The Middle of the Night Mother
This mother is a SAINT. She is the hardest working mother out there. Yes, I said it. Doing everything any mother does on little to no sleep is THE WORST THING about being a mom. You’re supposed to be sleeping at night. Everyone else is! It’s dark. You have to be quiet. Everything around you is screaming, “Go to sleep!” Except of course for the baby you’re holding who is screaming the exact opposite.
Those early weeks and months with a newborn are tough…now imagine they continue on past that precious first three month window that everyone lies to a new mom about. Imagine it goes on for a year. Imagine it goes on forever. Now hear this, for some unsuspecting mothers out there, it really does go on that long. Maybe crying it out didn’t work. Maybe Momma didn’t want to use cry it out. Maybe the baby has reflux or a heart condition or a bad attitude. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Whatever the reason, these moms are stuck being awake all day and most of the night too.
Whether you’re a mom who has been up every night since you pushed out your bag of insomniac beans or you’re just dealing with a growth spurt, teething, thunderstorms, sickness, or attachment, here’s to you. Applause. Hugs. Drinks. Dessert. Silence. Whatever you need, you deserve.
The Late Night Mother
This mother is an overachiever. She’s the one who, as a kid in school, was always raising her hand to answer the question. We get it. You did your homework. Please come do mine too, and let’s call it a day. As if keeping them alive and fed wasn’t enough, The Late Night Mother takes those rare minutes at the end of the day after bedtime but before the late night feedings to do more. She crafts, party plans, makes baby food, writes thank you notes, makes lists, not only takes pictures but uploads them, and more. So much more. She isn’t trying to show off! So she says. She’s just trying to keep the part of her that needs the satisfaction of checking things off of a to-do list calm. Because unfortunately, “raise children” takes a long damn time to cross off the list.
The Morning Mother
This mother is from another planet. She gets up BEFORE the kids (I know, right?). She exercises and showers in the morning. She probably eats kale. On purpose. She makes smoothies and does yoga. She meditates, and not just to keep from losing her shit when the toddler asks for the one hundredth time why he cannot eat popsicles for breakfast. She responds to emails, pays her bills on time, and owns an Ergo, an organic one. Seriously. WTF, mate?
Watch out for her! She might seem like a regular person, but she clearly is not. She has energy and pep…and not just from ten cups of coffee. She doesn’t try to make other moms feel bad (on purpose), but her existence in the world will be something for you to compare yourself to. Don’t! Some people are very strange, and it is not our job to figure out how they work…we’re too busy trying to peel ourselves out of bed and making promises that tomorrow will be the day we rise and shine!
How about in the evening? Every mother morphs from a human into a blur of hands and commands during the dinner rush. She gets everyone up from naps, changes diapers, sings the cleanup song (thanks, Barney), sets the table, plates a dinner she made, welcomes home her other half, yells out ways everyone can lend a hand (though they only sometimes listen), gets everyone fed, wolfs down her own food, cleans it all up (or at least gets it out of toddler reach), fits in some family time, scrubs down those smelly babies, tucks them into bed, reads stories, gives the hugs and the kisses and the promises for the sweetest of dreams…and then collapses. Every night. With and without help. On weekdays and weekends and holidays too!
And as for the afternoon, no woman is a mother in the middle of the day. If she’s at work, she’s desperately trying to finish her day’s load because she knows there won’t be time once she gets home and everyone needs everything at once. If her babes are napping, she’s doing all the things she couldn’t do while they were awake: eating, peeing, doing chores, showering, making phone calls, basically being the person she was before she had kids. If her children are awake, she’s trying to enforce “quiet time,” so she can have just five freaking minutes to herself to try to remember what it feels like to take a breath without thinking about the little people who have taken over her home. No matter how much they love those miracles of life, all women are fighting to be themselves for just a few brief moments again in the afternoon. And if they tell you that’s not true, they’re skillfully lying. Which is another wonderful ability that all women share.
So who are you? Who do you want to be? Who do you want to be around? Take your time and think it over. Because, as a mom, I know you’ve got all the time in the world to do your own research and consider your options and then choose the path that’s right for you and your family. You would NEVER just pick a parenting method, close your eyes, and charge forward hoping the therapy bills won’t be too high in the future. After all, you’re not THAT kind of mother, are you?