Earlier today I spoke to a friend who’s known me 90% of my life. She said she had a breakdown after reading this blog one day, feeling stressed because she realized she would soon have to start making her own baby food, thinking it would be too much, wondering how I do it with two kids when she has one. It’s interesting timing, because yesterday I was thinking I should tie up loose ends and come clean about a few things. I think it would be easy for someone to read parts of this blog and think somehow I have super powers or my children do things like go to bed without a fight. (Actually, tonight is one of the nights Eliza went right down, but Zach is still up and super ornery, sitting on Greg’s lap next to me trying to contort himself into a position from which he can watch back episodes of “30 Rock” with us.)
The truth is I mess up quite a bit, and constantly wonder if what I’m doing is the right thing. So, to be sure you all understand I am real with you, here are my current “mommy confessions”:
TEACHING and DISCIPLINE
1) I’m not sure I would call it caving in, but I did not, in the end, force Eliza to eat her macaroni and cheese with peas and carrots (from my last post). What happened was she was so tired (and hungry) that she fell asleep sitting up on the couch. I took the opportunity to heat up some leftover matzoh ball soup. When I came back to the couch, Eliza was awake and she wanted my soup. Now, I had tried to get her to eat this soup before with no luck, and as it had carrots and celery in it, I considered it an even trade with the macaroni and cheese. She ate it up. She was so hungry that she probably would have eaten anything. And her eating habits have been much more, shall I say, cooperative since then. But I technically did not stick to my guns.
2) I haven’t spent time planning meals to cook for Zach in probably three weeks. Part of that is because we were on vacation, but part of it is because I’m too tired. Maybe I’ll get on another baby food cooking kick tomorrow or the next day. But I highly doubt it.
3) I haven’t started teaching Eliza how to sort laundry yet. Today she wanted to “help” me fold sheets, and after about 2 1/2 minutes of her messing it up, I quickly cut her out of the process so I could just get it done. Sometimes, it’s just not a teaching moment.
4) Sometimes when I need a bottle I just rinse out the one I used at the last feeding with hot water.
5) I don’t always remember to wash Zach and Eliza’s hands before they eat.
6) I let my kids eat off the floor at home and sometimes in public. When we’re out, if one of them drops food on the ground (like a sandwich or something I can’t easily replace), I check to see if anyone else is watching. If someone is, I say, “Oh, we have to throw that away now because it’s dirty.” But if there’s no one around, I just give it back. Of course, if it were, say, a raisin, I would throw it out no matter what. It just depends on how valuable the item is.
7) I’ve driven Zach to and Eliza from the mall – that is 25 miles away – without having them buckled in their car seats. They were IN their seats, just not STRAPPED. I always double-check this now.
8) I’ve driven Eliza around for an entire day without her car seat being strapped into the latches. Now I never put the car seat in the car without latching it in immediately.
9) When Eliza was about 5-months-old, she was on my bed and I went into the closet for a minute to hang up a few things, and she rolled off. Thank the Lord she was okay.
10) The morning we left for the beach trip a couple of months ago, Zach fell down our entire flight of basement stairs. (These things always happen under stress.) I was trying to get last-minute laundry done, so I carried a pile to fold upstairs and forgot to close the basement door. At the same time, Eliza woke up. So I dumped the laundry in the sun room where Zach was sitting happily on the floor, and I went upstairs to get Eliza. She, of course, needed to pee, so I reluctantly took her to the bathroom. When she was finishing up, I heard a “thud, thud, AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH” and immediately ran downstairs. He was at the base of the basement stairs, screaming his head off. I couldn’t stop shaking afterwards, and praise God he was alright. I even had the pediatrician check him out to be sure. But I think out of everything that’s happened, that was the worst.
We all have our shortcuts and shortcomings, and we all make our mistakes. I think being real with ourselves and each other helps us accept our humanity and realize we’re not alone in this journey called motherhood. I will be the first to say that it’s okay if you don’t make your own baby food. Sure, it’s healthier, and pretty easy, but I probably negate all the good nutrition I get them by letting them eat off the floor. Sometimes we’re just getting by, and that has to be enough. I hope you can share your confessions, too!