I have some painfully high standards when it comes to life, health, and motherhood, and wow do I fall short a lot of the time! My life could be easier if I stopped beating myself up about some things and found easier routes on others. Can you relate?
If so, read on! Here are the first five of 10 confessions about ways I have let things go. Please leave a comment and let me know what you do about these things!
1. I often skip breakfast. I’m really into good nutrition, healthy eating, several small meals versus a few big ones, etc.,and yet…
Mornings at our house are pretty chaotic, even when they’re going smoothly (the changing requests from the breakfast table, the frequent reminders to go get dressed after breakfast, the “Get dressed now!,” the “Why aren’t you dressed yet?”, the “Time to brush your teeth and wash your face!”, the “Did you brush yet?”, the “Ben! You need to get pants on!” plus emptying the dishwasher, clearing the table, trying to drink my coffee, getting myself dressed and ready for the day (loading my laptop bag, etc.), and in all the mayhem, by the time I’m getting out the door with both or one or no child (if it’s a sitter day), well, then I realize I forgot breakfast.
It’s not just forgetting. The morning chaos kills my appetite. Who wants to eat in a crowded kitchen full of noise and tasks and needs? Not me! It’s becoming a bad habit, this not eating breakfast, because then I’m working at a cafe until noon (if it’s a sitter day) or running errands with Ben (if it’s not a work day for me).
Do you eat breakfast? How do you make the time/space for it?
2. I don’t exercise much. Sure, I run a few times a week, and I try to do boot camp at least once a week, but my gym membership is languishing and I’m not nearly as in shape as I want to or could be. When I joined the gym, I imagined myself dropping the kids off at school/daycare and then heading over for a 9 a.m. class. Ha! It never works out; either we’re running late or I have only a precious few hours to work that morning and don’t want to squander more than a third of them working out.
Yesterday I tried a bar workout at The Bar Method, in Boston, and it truly kicked my ass. It made me feel like I have zero muscle tone in my quads and glutes and hip muscles. And some ab muscles, too. Surprisingly, I’m not sore today, but the workout was hard.
Do you make/find the time for regular exercise? Any tips for the rest of us?
3. I let my kids watch TV. This is a hard one to admit. I was raised with very little television, and my father is very anti-TV. I know the warnings about screen time for kids, and I wish deeply that we’d spend our time doing crafts at the kitchen table or working on puzzles together.
But by the end of the day, we’re all tired, and I need to get dinner on the table, pronto. Or sometimes it’s mid-afternoon and we all need a little time to ourselves, quietly. So TV it is. Not every day. PBS Kids only, and Max’s preferred show is “Wildcratts,” in which he learns a lot of facts about animals and the world.
No, I don’t feel great about this, but when the TV is on and they’re quiet and not beating each other on the heads with toy airplanes or bendy loaders and no one is crying or whining and no one needs me at all for at least half an hour and I can get something done, finally, well, then I am so darn happy to have the television.
In a perfect world they’d help me make dinner or color quietly at the table or do puzzles, but they don’t like to color and aren’t terribly interested in puzzles. And when I have 20 minutes to get dinner on the table, well, a two-year-old sous chef might take more time than I’d like to give him.
Do you give your kids screen time–TV, iPad, games on your phone? How much? Does it bother you at all?
4. I give my two-year-old chocolate milk. In the morning. Or almost any time, actually. It started as a weaning aid but now it’s almost daily .He doesn’t eat much these days. I try everything: whole-milk smoothies, kefir in fun flavors, yogurt. Hummus. Peanut butter. Sliced turkey. Chicken. Eggs. He wants nothing these days except chocolate milk, apples, and the occasional meatball (only if meatball is served whole). Oh, and kids’ Clif Bars (chocolate chip flavor, of course).
So if I can get him to drink a few cups of milk per day, great. I add the organic chocolate syrup myself (and make the chocolate syrup myself sometimes, rather than buy it), so I can control the amount of sugar, because I find store-bought chocolate milk disgustingly sweet.
Do you feed your kids things you thought you wouldn’t, just to get them to eat something?
5. I swear in front of my kids. I don’t mean to, really. But sometimes I let slip. Frankly, I’m often frustrated and annoyed and overwhelmed. I mean, regularly. I have such a hard time being with small children so much — the constant needs, the nonstop interruptions, the inability to have my body or my stuff to myself. I’m always being touched and poked and harried. They take my stuff, break my stuff, eat my food, make messes.
In short, they are children. Of course. And I’m their mom. I love them, but our nonstop interaction can be trying at times. And I swear sometimes when, say, I’m completely overloaded and drop something. When I drop something, mind you–not when one of them does. I don’t swear at them. I swear at me. If they break/drop/spill something, so what. That’s life.
But me? If I’m trying to carry groceries and diaper bag and Ben upstairs and can’t find the key and drop the mail and Max wants to unlock the door and I have to pee and the grocery bag falls, well, I swear. Yes, I do.
Max doesn’t like it (he knows it hints at a bad mood) and Ben repeats the words at unfortunate times. So yes, bad habit I need to break.
Do you swear in front of your kids?
Stay tuned for the next five confessions….coming soon!