There are a few things I’ve realized in the 5 years I have been a parent. Yes, I am not seasoned by any means, but I have noticed some things just aren’t worth your time with small children. At. All. So save it for something else more worthwhile.
I would love to think that my vacuuming does ANYTHING for my house. There are forever crumbs everywhere, in places I would never thought possible (bathroom? on the stairs to upstairs, where we NEVER allow food? Seriously?!?) In any case, I’d like to have a somewhat clean house and not feel like we aren’t slobs. I vacuum using the big vacuum once a week, and then do quick pickups with the Swiffer vacuum nightly, but I can never get caught up. Ever. Case en point, I found solidified pizza cheese on the floor after I had Swiffered and mopped. Where the HELL did it come from!?!? Who the eff knows. I wouldn’t say I’ve given up so that I wouldn’t ever vacuum my house again (although it’s quite tempting). But I’ve given up on keeping up with it and making my house look any shade of clean (forget immaculate. We are going for liveable.)
2. Thinking you’ll ever be “caught up” with laundry.
I have two small kids. They get into A LOT of shit. My eldest came home one day with paint all over the arms of their super cute new shirt and my youngest had graham cracker crumbs in their pockets. Include the potty training hell of accidents and my eldest’s desire to constantly change clothes/socks leads to multiple loads of laundry. And those things that are supposed to be washed often because of the sheer grossness of not for extended periods of time? Forget that shit. I recall when I had literally just washed my eldest’s bedding, which hadn’t been done in 1001 days, and then they peed through their pull-up that same night. Honestly, what the hell was the point? Now I reserve things like that for after sick times (not like it helps get rid of the virus, but it does make me feel better to do it) and accident times. And their clothes? Maybe I can just buy enough that they can get through for longer than a day without me having to do their laundry. Don’t even get me started on my youngest’s request to wear their Thomas shirt or their blue warm up pants daily. (No, you wore it yesterday. It’s dirty and full of who knows what from school. No, I will not do a load of laundry just so you can wear it AGAIN.)
3. Husband help.
He has gotten SO much better. He does help. A lot. He chips in when he needs to or when I ask. But when it comes down to it, it will never be the way we as wives hope it will be. I have to ask him, he doesn’t always just do it. When I ask him to take over the first part of the bedtime routine, I find that I have to undo his doing, because now the kids are all jacked up and screaming and shouting and it’s time for book and they can’t calm down. Amazing and never fails to happen. We divide and conquer when it comes to making the kids lunches. So when my eldest has a shit ton of not-so-great stuff to eat and the teacher made a comment about it, I had to grin and bear it and blame the shit out of my husband. Yep, I did. At the times that my kids will turn to me when I have my hands full and am trying to do 1001 things and my husband sits (or naps) idly by, I realize this is my reality. So I will grin and bear it with a huge glass of wine. And pretend not to hear when my kids need something so he gets off his ass when I haven’t necessarily asked for his help.
4. Having the “last word” with a toddler.
I’ve recently had some problems with this one. My youngest likes to get the last word in. All. The. Time. It’s effing annoying. So I try to cut them off. Again and again. And it doesn’t work. I try to even do the whole “zip-it” routine circa 1997 from Austin Powers, but regardless of how it makes me chuckle, it has no effect on how my youngest is going to continue to try to get their point across at whatever cost. I’ve given up there. I explain it, I cut them off, and then I walk away or just ignore. Is that the right way to do it? I don’t know. My husband claims my eldest was the same way when they were that age, but I’ll be damned if I remember (screw you, mommy brain). Coping isn’t as difficult as trying to explain to a 3 year old why it isn’t nice to keep harping on something really small and insignificant.
5. Explaining anything to children. Doesn’t matter the age.
A few reasons why this just all and all sucks with a capital S. When they are younger, they don’t get the reason why they have to do something, and trying to explain it is like trying to convince your husband he isn’t really babysitting when he stays home with the kids. So you just say no, or because mommy says so, and move on. As they get older, when you’d THINK they could actually comprehend some reasons, you try. But then, they tune you out. Or they continue to ask why, even if you already told them. Developmentally they should be able to understand some semblance of your explanation, but if you make it too complicated, they just think you’re putting them on. They understand when they are being played, but they don’t understand why they can’t have another Oreo? Yes. I’m so sick of trying to explain things that I eventually revert back to the mommy says so reason because I want to pull my hair out. And, looking back to #4, with a kid to tries to get the last word in, my cards are already stacked against me.
Consider this a polite warning. You can try to achieve all of these things and hope that your sanity prevails. But I’m telling you, you can spend your time and energy doing other things that are more worthwhile. And save your sanity in the process.