Every year, my college best friends and I get together for a girls’ weekend. We kiss our kids and husbands goodbye, some of us leave written schedules and directions, and spend at least one night together away in a hotel, usually in New York City. New York City is the most convenient location for the four of us moms who all have young kids and are spread out among the East Coast. One night is usually more realistic for all parties involved because you know–husbands–motherhood–kids–life.
I look forward to this weekend every year. As it approaches, I start counting the minutes. The excitement builds. The number of group texts increases. What are we wearing? How many Soul Cycle classes are we taking? Who is booking the spa treatments? Where are we going for dinner? Definitely somewhere we can dress up in the clothes we own but never have any place to wear them to.
I can’t wait for the reminiscing, the laughter, the catching up, the deep conversations, the getting ready all together in the same room like it was during college, and the staying up late and sleeping in (if you count 8:30 am as sleeping in). While we’re on the subject of sleeping, I can’t wait to not have to wake up to anyone asking me for anything. To not have to fight with anyone about what’s for lunch. To not have to enter into any negotiations or diffuse any meltdowns. To not have to share my ice cream! And to enjoy a glass of wine without interruption! Go to the bathroom alone! And most importantly, to not feel guilty about any of it!
Let’s face it, as moms, we are never just one type. We have multiple personalities. I have multiple mom personalities. On any given day, I don’t even know which one will make an appearance. Who you get usually depends on the moods and behaviors of my little one. Or what time of day it is. Or if my husband remembered to put the car seat in my car the night before. At any given time of day, whether at my house or out in public, you are guaranteed to be greeted by one of these mommies.
Happy Mommy: Happy Mommy typically means we had an extremely smooth morning routine. My son woke up sometime after 7 a.m., entertained himself until I got out of bed thirty minutes later, ate all his breakfast, got dressed without a fight, and needed no persuading to get in the car to go to school on time. Happy Mommy sticks around when the day is almost meltdown-free. I love happy Mommy. So does my husband. Happy Mommy is nicer on phone calls to him. She doesn’t nag or bark orders as much. She even might be inclined to give blow a job at the end of the day! She also comes out at night when my son has gone to bed. Happy Mommy sits on the couch with a glass of wine and binges on Netflix. Happy Mommy hopes she will reappear the following morning but you just never know.
Scary Mommy: Scary Mommy might be the norm around here these days, at least where appearances are concerned. Scary Mommy often drops her son off at school hoping she makes it to drop-off in time so she doesn’t have to get out of the car and expose the fact that her hair isn’t brushed, her face isn’t washed, and she might still be wearing the clothes she slept in or has at least changed into fresh sweatpants. And a bra is definitely not part of that outfit. It’s very possible that Scary Mommy is going home to go back to sleep after drop off and hopefully take a shower. But if it’s a choice between showering and napping, she probably chooses the nap.
Dear Pregnant Jen,
There is so much I wish I could tell you before you go into labor on that first night of Passover, March 25, 2016. Yes, you will go into labor during the first night of Seder while sitting at a table with 30 of your closest Jewish family members. Papa will be asking, “Why is this night different from all other nights,” and it most definitely is as you simultaneously death grip squeeze your sister’s hand under the table, time your contractions on your iPhone, text a close mom friend who informs you to “call the fucking doctor,” and realize that not only do your contractions not conform to the 5 minutes apart pattern you learned about in birth class, but nothing about labor and delivery is anything like you’ve seen on television or in the movies.
I regret to inform you that you won’t sneeze and gracefully pop a tiny human out of your vagina like Brooklyn Decker in What to Expect When You’re Expecting. You also won’t look pretty, perfect, and polished like Brooklyn Decker during and after the delivery of your baby. Swollen, stoned, and sleep-deprived is more like it.
Let’s start there. Labor is unpredictable and doesn’t always go according to plan. In fact, the word plan really has no business being in the same sentence as the words birth and baby. Your baby is going to do what he wants. He gives zero fucks about your plans, not while he is in your belly and not when he comes out. He doesn’t care that you want his bris to be after Passover so guests can enjoy their lox and cream cheese on bagels rather than matzo. It won’t matter to him that the best mohel in town might be on vacation (although he should because…it’s his penis getting snipped). And he really doesn’t give a shit that you want to do everything in your power to avoid a C-section and have him the old-fashioned way.
Do you ever wonder if you are missing the motherhood gene? I mean, I know I’m a kickass mom, but I think we all feel like this sometimes. I remember when I first started seeing my therapist during the days of postpartum depression (a time where I had no interest in being a mom at all), and she determined that I was more of an A-/B+ personality, she also decided I was part male (I happen to agree with her but that’s another blog post for another time). Lately that has me thinking…maybe it’s not that I’m missing the mom gene, but perhaps there are times when I could actually be a dad trapped inside a mom’s body–because here are eight examples of my less than stellar parenthood behaviors (we all have our moments) and let’s be honest moms, aren’t these things we like to get on our husband’s cases for? And if I’m being completely honest, my husband may have helped me with this list…because he kind of agrees!
- When I go out of town, my husband puts our little one to sleep and cooks himself a gourmet meal and sets a proper place at the table. I’m talking restaurant style–place mat, correct placing of utensils, fully poured glass of wine and all. When my husband goes out of town, I get in my pajamas, turn on the Netflix, call for takeout and eat from the box the food came in. And if dessert is involved, it’s probably coming in bed with me.
- On Saturdays, my husband spends all morning with our son, going from activity to activity—breakfast, soccer, car wash, mini golf, watching trains, riding the trolley, playground, Lego store, grocery shopping, and more. He wonders if they haven’t done enough. When my husband is out of town and I’m responsible for the Saturday morning routine, I most likely make it to the car wash before we find ourselves at home binge-watching Paw Patrol. I’m exhausted just thinking about that activity list!
Friend: “Jen, TGIM.”
Friend: “Thank God It’s Monday!”
Me: “Omg that is how I literally feel all weekend, every weekend. Well most weekends…”
Friend: “So then it’s more like TGIFM!”
Me: “Yes! Thank God Its Fucking Monday! I’m definitely going to blog about this.”
Before kids, Friday couldn’t come soon enough. Do you remember when you thought Friday was right around the corner and then realized, “Fuck, it’s only Tuesday!” The worst. I sometimes get envious when I see childless friends post funny TGIF memes on their Instagram and Facebook feeds. Because as a stay at home mom, Friday just means it’s one day closer to two whole days of my little one being home all day long and I have to make an effort to keep him busy all day long. And you all know the formula–the longer the child is home equals the more meltdowns to be had.
I can’t believe it’s already been a year. I know it’s been a year because tomorrow I will find myself back at Chuck E. Cheese, exactly where I was one year ago on New Year’s Day, when I launched this blog and posted it’s first post. Oh, good old Chuck E. Cheese, where a kid can be a kid…or really where the dreams of parents go to die or at least be overtaken by every nasty germ living on this planet, cold, soggy pizza, and useless, plastic prizes that your kids will cry over because they don’t have enough tickets to buy them. You can clearly guess my feelings about Chuck E. Cheese, but now, I’m getting off topic…
2016 was a big year for me. So much has happened since I decided to launch this blog on January 1st—things that I could have never anticipated happening in just a year’s time of declaring myself to be a writer. But rather than write a long, boring blog about this year’s accomplishments and next year’s resolutions that I probably won’t keep, I’m going to list what I’m grateful for from this past year and what I’m looking forward to most in the year to come.