Dude. I live in Chicago and EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. I wonder when the hell I am going to get out of this frozen tundra and move somewhere warm. Somewhere that doesn’t cause my fingers to seize up in pain just because they touched AIR. And then the spring comes and like seeing your beautiful baby after childbirth it’s like the pain and agony of the last season completely fades away until the next year when it comes back in full force and you remember all over again why you hate this fucking place.
It’s cold. I’m not talking like chilly. It’s FUCKING COLD. You walk outside and breath through your nose and your nostril hairs freeze up into tiny icicles that stab you from the inside. Your nasal passages become miniature igloos made out of your never ending frozen snot stream cubes because you caught a cold on the first frigid day and it still hasn’t gone away.
You skin hurts. Everything hurts. Your body is frozen, literally. You can’t move and when you do it’s like you’re going to shatter. Your skin gets so dry that it cracks and there is nothing you can do about it but apply copious amounts of lubricant to try to keep it moisturized but it’s basically impossible because the winter sucks the moisture right out of you every chance it gets.
It’s gloomy, which means you don’t want to do SHIT. It’s bright as fuck outside because snow is everywhere but it’s dirty snow because it’s been driven on and slushed around and now your beautiful blanket of soft white snow is a eyesore of sludge and salt, but it’s still blinding to look at. You don’t want to do anything but huddle under your blanket with a book but you can’t do that either because you just burned it on the stove in an attempt to warm your hands up for five minutes.
Your kids keep getting called off of school for a goddamn snow day. Every other day it seems is a school “holiday” where they get a long weekend off of school. And as if that isn’t bad enough, now the snow showed up on the night before the hellish five days you’ve just spend cooped up inside and they’ve cancelled school tomorrow. Awesome. At least I won’t have to pay for summer daycare this year because my kids will be making up winter well into July at the rate we are going.
Something necessary to your continued EXISTENCE tends to break down at the WORST possible time, and that “time” is almost always winter. Your kids *were* finally going back to school (hell YES!) BUT wait, no they aren’t. Because your car has been sitting in the frozen abyss that is your driveway for the last five days because you refused to leave in the blizzard and now your damn car is not cooperating.
You go back inside to find your house is especially chilly even with your two layers and 17 infinity scarves on and find your pipes burst because even though your kids are constantly running water somewhere in your house, apparently the weather is THAT cold that it can freeze even the hottest water moving through the pipes.
Your kids have a hard enough time finding socks. Try getting them to find two gloves, a hat, a coat, a scarf, and snow pants because now school won’t let them out for recess unless they are dressed like tiny snowmen. I don’t remember having the accessories my kids have now accompany me to school every day, but my kids need them, apparently. And also, not surprisingly, we can never find them when we need them.
You will fall. Some asshole (usually you) will forget to throw salt on the ice and you’ll run out the door in a hurry only to fall and bust your ass. But not only will you fall, you’ll do it in front of some hipster running a 5K down the block in the dead of winter, you know, someone “better than you” because… winter sucks.
Your dog won’t go out either. So not only is your entire family caged in the house with the flu virus, but the stench of snot and pet urine fills the stale air. Can’t we just open a damn window? No. Because they are shrink wrapped in an attempt to keep whatever heat you can as close to your body as possible.
Your kids will act like caged animals. As if they aren’t already acting like completley rabid dogs, winter exasperates the symptoms 10-fold. They are stifled, homebound, and antsy and they turn on each other (and you) at any chance they can get. It’s a toss up as to who is going to make it out of this season alive. But my money says, it won’t be me.
Winter fucking sucks the big icicle. The only benefit is that when I say I don’t want to go somewhere, I have a million degrees below zero excuses at my disposal to keep me in the house, out of the snow, and in my thickest, coziest loungewear.
Let’s stop pretending like parenthood is all unicorns and rainbows, ok? There are great days. FANTASTIC days, sure. But there are other days that I feel like an imposter. Like I am living someone else’s life. As if I have no clue what I am doing and it’s only a matter of time that someone finds me out and I am exposed. But why do I feel that way? Because some days… I am not a huge fan of being a mom. Some days I sit and day dream about what my life might be like right now if I hadn’t had kids.
I wonder what kind of home I would have with clean carpet and marker-less walls. What kind of car I would drive that isn’t filled with cracker crumbs and car seats? I think about what career I would have, what kind of hobbies I would have taken up. What I would do with my time if I didn’t have baseball, soccer, karate, gymnastics, school events and scout meetings every night of the week?
I consider what kind of wardrobe I would own if I wasn’t concerned every morning about what food would get whipped at me by tiny hands and find its way plastered onto my shirt by lunch. I think about if I would be caught up on my favorite shows, if my pets would get more attention. Would I feel less tired? Would I have more time to go to the gym or would I eat healthier if I didn’t pick leftover chicken dinosaurs or macaroni and cheese off my kids plates every night?
What would my stress level be like if I didn’t have to fight irrational tiny humans every day to brush their teeth, go to sleep, put their coat or socks on or do their homework. I question if I would have gray hair and crows feet; dark circles and under eye bags. Would those have shown up years or even a DECADE later if I didn’t have kids?
I day dream about my trips to Europe, my girls nights that would be followed up by a day spent on a date with my couch ordering takeout and binge watching Netflix. Without any interruptions to wipe someone’s butt, clean up someone’s spilled milk or kiss a boo boo.
I ponder these things on my bad days and wonder what kind of life I would have had, if I had chosen not to have kids.
And then, something happens. Usually something small. My daughter will smile. Or my son will bring me a portrait he drew of just the two of us. My oldest will hand over a test he scored 100% on that we studied for together for hours last week. And suddenly, I am catapulted back into reality and it’s GOOD. I look around at my stained carpet, my sticky table, the blind my kid broke when he threw a basketball in the house and the sink filled to the brim with dirty sippy cups and I. AM. HAPPY.
I might have my moments where I wonder if I’m cut out for this parenting thing. If I had done things differently, if I wouldn’t be in the financial situation I’m in or if I might have planned better if I wouldn’t have soooo many consecutive years of sleepless nights under my belt. But they are fleeting moments. I can honestly say there are some days that I absolutely HATE being a mom. But I don’t hate the wet, sloppy kisses. I don’t hate the sweet and high pitched “I love you, mommy”s or the tiny arms wrapped around my neck for a hug. I adore their chubby little fingers and their stinky feet. When they fall asleep and are covered in a layer of sweat and drool, I don’t hate that.
I might hate seeing the sunrise every morning, especially when I was up at 12:30, 2:15, 4:45 AND 5 am. But I don’t mind all of the extra cuddles I was lucky enough to soak up during the times of the night when my child was sleepy and affectionate.
Laundry, dishes, and vacuuming are not my favorite chores, but making my child’s favorite meal, finding a special outfit for their big day at school, or cleaning up after a day of making cookies with my three favorite people makes it a little less terrible.
I might not have the fancy car or the plush couch. I may have a bank account that lingers around a balance of three figures on a GOOD day, but I get to spend my days watching personalities grow. I get to witness wonder, reasoning, and the development of logic and love. I am sitting front row to a live show that involves three beings I created as the main characters. And it’s kind of amazing.
My days might be long and arduous but the bad is sugar coated in kisses and sweet scents and the good, the good is just so damn good.
I miss regular “self-care”, hanging out with friends, traveling to places with more adult beverages than costumed princesses and I miss high heels but, honestly, life is a hell of a lot more comfortable with unshaved legs in yoga pants anyways.
So, sure. There are days that I hate being a mom. But that doesn’t mean that I would trade those days in for anything else. Even on the days I hate being a mom, I still love my job, I love my kids, and I am honored to be the one that they call “mom” in the first place.
Nothing says “I’m ready for a New Year” like a string of holiday festivities spent with the people in your life you had zero control in choosing, and even less desire to spend that much time with.
Between the creepy relatives, overindulgence of pie and alcohol, and your kids spending weeks being gushed over like they are part of the royal family, everyone in the house needs a serious sage detox before it’s too late.
If you’ve made it through Christmas you’re probably looking at your tree now barren of gifts and wondering how the fuck you manage to do this year after year without committing yourself.
Your bank account is empty, your stockings are ripped down from their expertly placed hook and now strewn on the floor like the rest of the abandoned socks in your house, and the Christmas tree is dropping pine needles like your kids drop crumbs of food on your freshly vacuumed carpet.
You NEED. A. BREAK.
Since it’s still the season of below freezing temps and frostbite, no one wants to leave the house anyway. Here are some solid ways you can get your energy and self-esteem back right in the comfort of your very own home:
Create an In-Home Spa Sanctuary– The first thing you’ll want to do is really set the scene for healing. Any space can be transformed for optimal soul rejuvenation with the right tools. Establish aromatherapy by collecting your most soothing essential oils (or just your favorite hairspray will do) and spritz the area to create a fragrance of something other than dirty underwear and soggy dog. You can lather yourself in lavender body lotion for added calming effects, but if you don’t have that, Aveeno can have remarkable therapeutic effects.
You probably don’t keep candles in your house anymore, because, kids. So just take your kids’ iPad and drape your most used towel with the worn thread count over it to create an ambiance of mood lighting to help get your mind right. You can really amp up the tranquil atmosphere in your home by adding some plush robes and fancy tea to this relaxation ritual. But since you’re a mom now, you already know you can’t have nice things, instead throw on one of your husband’s over-sized t-shirts and reheat your coffee in the microwave. Let’s get this party started.
Massage – I know, you’re thinking I’ll never have the time. But, alas, you birthed the essential tool to complete this spa staple. I’m sure you’ve heard of cupping and hot stone massages, but have you ever tried tiny feet shoved into the small of your back while you’re trying to relax on the couch? It really loosens the joints and muscles allowing for optimal rejuvenation and removal of those nasty toxins. Your kids will likely not even need to complete a lesson on how to effectively apply desired pressure during this technique, but just in case, maybe you should kick them first so they get a thorough demonstration? It will aid in your overall wellness goal.
Facial Masks – Yogurt masks are a thing. Whether or not they are supposed to come straight out of your refrigerator is another story, but hey… minor details we can overlook. I find GoGurts work well for this because they have a sweet taste and a delightful color. Just take the whole tube and spread that sucker all over your face canvas. It’s cool and refreshing straight out of your refrigerator and if it gets on the furniture, you can assume there was already a spread of some food there before you got there. If you can’t beat em, join em?
Mani/Pedi – This one is tricky, but it’s definitely doable. Get your least favorite towel and the LIGHTEST shade you can find and announce to your toddler it’s time to play “nails”. She will jump all over the chance to reenact her favorite YouTube videos of grown adults playing with toys and talking in baby voices. If you’re really brave, you can let her do your fingers too. It buys you another three minutes to “relax” while she paints your entire hand in an overwhelming scent of shimmery chemicals that will take an entire bottle of acetone to remove. But hey, self-care is important, right?
Take a bath – You have two options here. You can either opt to knowingly allow your kids to destroy your house while you lock yourself in the bathroom with threats of decades-long grounding if they even THINK about bothering you (someone BETTER BE BLEEDING!). Or, you can go the more conservative route and slap your bathing suit onto your still detoxing post-holiday pie body and round up the little monsters for a family bath. The kids will think it’s a blast while you sit and enjoy a lukewarm tub filled with bubblegum flavored bath bombs and your child’s urine. Be extra efficient and apply your GoGurt bath just before you embark on this endeavor. That way you effectively wash it off while your kids splash water all over your bathroom floor with your tears.
Getting through the holidays can be B.R.U.T.A.L. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find time to recharge your mind and body and start the New Year off with a soul rejuvenating BANG. Everyday household items can be easily transformed to spa tranquility staples with just a few simple steps. Make it a “fun for the whole family” kind of event and get the kids involved in this DIY dumpster fire and before you know it your house will be filled with yogurt, bubbles, and nail polish just like any other day of the week. Except for this time, you’ll have lavender scented skin and iPad induced mood lighting to push through. And think of all the money you’ll save by dishing out your very own sanity instead! You’ll be wondering why you don’t do the home spa thang more often!
And keep in mind, if all else fails, there’s always Benedryl. And wine.
Nama-stay home, you got this!
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