Ever since I became a mom, I have spent an inordinate amount of time wondering how other moms manage the house, the job, the PTA, the pets, the grocery shopping and the bills. And the laundry, the never-ending mound of laundry!
I know some of you have hired help; I am happy for you, really I am. But many of us are not that fortunate, and that is the type of mom I wonder about. The ones like me who have a couple of kids, maybe a part-time job and a husband who helps some. Even still, you feel overwhelmed by the dishes in the sink, the dirty toilets, the permission slips, the overdue vet appointments and, at this time of year, the mad rush of the holidays. How, ladies, how do you do it?
Ok, so some of you take advantage of a dose of Mother's Little Helper to smooth out the rough edges. I get that, and I was among your number for awhile. Others have family right around the corner who help a lot. I have family, semi-local, who do help a bit. They helped more when the kids were little and I needed it even more. I know how lucky I am in that regard. But those of you that go the non-pharmaceutical route and have family that is hundreds of miles away. How the heck do you do it?
Let me give a shout out to the stay-at-home dads, too. I know a couple and that's a tough gig, too. Not only are you the odd man out in the playgroup and lack harrowing birth or failure-to-latch-on stories, but also you probably get the raised eyebrow from other dads who wonder what's so hard about staying home and playing Polly Pockets every day? How do you get through your days of juggling bottles and Ziplock bags of Goldfish when all you really want is a cold one and some ESPN?
I won't even touch the Pinteresting of Parenting that has occurred in recent years because I don't want to get sucked into it. Do I need any more reasons to feel like I'm about to fall off my own personal (special holiday edition!) hamster wheel of holiday cards to address, teacher gifts to buy, letters to Santa to supervise and presents to wrap? The sight of another mom's handcrafted Advent wreath gleaned from scavenged pinecones and ribbons she wove herself on a handloom might just send me screaming into the night.
So, how do I do it? By constantly running the numbers in my head. Two minutes to unload the dishwasher while brushing my teeth. Thirty seconds to run upstairs and wake the kids. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat "...And I mean it this time, get up or you'll miss the bus!" Five minutes: crunches and a couple of stretches, workout complete! I'm not winning any prizes here, folks, just managing day-by-day and minute-by-minute (literally) as I think you probably are, too.
And if you've got parenting 100 percent under control and are the mom posting the Advent wreath on Pinterest, don't tell me about it. I really don't want to hear about it.
Mary Becelia lives with her family in southern Stafford County.