I don’t think I understood how important it is to “pick your battles” until I became a mom. There are SO MANY small and large battles you could fight, an overwhelming, unending list of things you could worry about. I learned the hard way in the beginning, but that’s sort of a new mom rite of passage, I think.
I began motherhood knowing that I wouldn’t ever be perfect at it, but dammit, I was going to freaking try! And so I fought all those unending battles – finding all the *best* gear, keeping clothes stain free, always having more than enough diapers in the diaper bag (and a backup stash in the car), doing everything in my power to make sure that my screaming baby never disturbed anyone other than myself while out in public (leading me to have no choice but to lock myself and my infant in our house for three months), keeping every spec of dust and debris out of reach of my precious child and his curious hands. Then, well, I was tired. I was SO TIRED. And so I started prioritizing… or maybe I just got lazy. Regardless, it made life easier. It lowered my stress level, and now I don’t feel so pressured to try so hard.
Kodak, the sponsor of this week’s lovely JuiceBoxJungle ad >>>, wants to know what three things are at the top and what three are at the bottom of my mom worry list, so here they are.
1. My kid’s safety – I’ve blogged about my Mommy Visions on here before, and how I can look at nearly anything that’s seemingly innocent and innocuous and vividly imagine how it might hurt or kill my child. I obsess about things like when to turn his car seat around, and what I’m going to do with him at the grocery store when he’s over 35 lbs because those grocery carts say it’s only safe to put them in the front up to 35 lbs.
2. What he eats- I’ve also recently started writing a lot about our efforts to eat more local, responsibly raised, sustainable. and organic food. However, from day one I’ve always been pretty consumed with what he’s consuming. I spent hours researching what fruits and vegetables I should introduce to him first and how to prepare them. I strive to offer a rainbow of whole foods at every meal. I truly think that my efforts are being rewarded by seeing how much my toddler loves nearly every fruit and vegetable he tries. I will say, though, that I don’t think of myself as a food Nazi. He’s had plenty of “bad” stuff from time to time, mainly because I don’t believe banning anything is going to do him any good.
3. His manners – It really stresses me out when he acts out in public. It truly does. Fortunately, I have to say it’s pretty rare. He seems to save most of his outbursts for when we’re home…. or stuck on a plane (which absolutely had me sweating bullets, but thankfully we don’t fly often). From 12 months to 18 months I was at a loss. He was a tiny little terrorist and I had no idea how to control him. He didn’t understand discipline, and I felt like everything I did to correct his behavior was only making it worse. I’m happy to report that the last few months have been much better. He at least understands the concept of timeout now. If I could just get him to stop laughing and running from me every time I tell him to do anything, I would be pretty happy with where we are in terms of his behavior.
1. Falls – Okay, oddly enough, I don’t even flinch when the kid falls anymore. Crazy coming from a mom whose number one worry is her child’s safety, I know. I think I’ve just come to terms with the fact that my little boy is a rowdy ball of energy, and he must have a pretty thick noggin. Also, it’s possible he’s part rubber. He falls all. the. time. The majority of the falls actually make him laugh. He also walks into things, like walls and windows, because he’s never looking where he’s going. He’s normally running away from me, looking over one shoulder and cackling like a little evil warlock. Then SMACK. I feel bad because when we’re around other moms and he falls they audibly gasp, run to him, soothe him, and ask if he’s okay all before I’ve taken a step. “Oh, he’s fine,” I always holler at them from across the room. And he almost always is.
2. TV- I know this is a heated topic, but it’s one I just don’t feel that passionately about. I’m not killing myself trying to make sure my child isn’t exposed to TV until college, or even the first few years, BUT THE STUDIES!! some of you are shouting at your computer screen. Listen, I didn’t plug my kid in front of Baby Einstein for hours on end as an infant hoping he’d know his colors and shapes by his 1st birthday, and it’s not like he’s sitting in front of a TV, zoning out all his waking hours. I’d be lying, though, if I said I don’t rely on a little help from PBS, Nick Jr. and Sprout to get me through my day. As much as I want him to go play with his “open ended” toys that inspire creativity and imagination, many times it’s just not happening, and I need to get the dishwasher loaded without him trying to inspire himself by running off with a steak knife. Also, sometimes he just really wants to watch “Go-go” (Diego), and I just really want to drink some coffee and check Facebook.
3. Messes- This one extends a little bit further beyond mom into the Stay At Home Mom category, for me. When we made the decision that I would stay at home, I remember telling my husband how our house would be SO clean because I would have “so much time” to do things like mop the floors and organize the pantry. Really, I *actually* thought that… until I had my outside baby. I was drowning in guilt the first 6 or 8 months of Kendall’s life, trying so hard to stay on top of everything, including all the household chores that I HATED while living off of next to no sleep. Then I had a lightbulb moment one day when I finally accepted that my “job” is a stay at home MOM, not a stay at home mom/housekeeper/organizer, and I was actually doing quite well at the MOM part. Our house is clean most of the time to a certain degree, but don’t go looking at my baseboards or my tile grout. There are splatters of dog slobber crusted to the wall here and there that will probably only disappear after we paint over them. There is food permanently stuck inside a ridge lining the perimeter of my kitchen table. I don’t care. I tell myself all the time, “A toddler lives here, 2 dogs and a cat live here, a maid does NOT live here.”
So what about you? What are your top and bottom 3? I’m sure everyone’s answers will vary, but it will be interesting to see which ones end up being the most popular.
Kendall is 21 months old, and right now I’m not worried he’s been napping for nearly 3 and a half hours