There are two types of moms. Okay, fine, there are a million types of moms. But stick with me.
Type 1: The mom who appears to have it all together.
Type 2: The mom who envies the mom who appears to have it all together.
But I have a secret for you. Even Type 2 moms are Type 1 moms. And Type 1 moms don’t really have it all together. Because “all” is subjective and even if it wasn’t, it’s impossible. You might not think the house is clean unless the ceiling fan blades have been dusted. Your neighbor might think her house is clean if there is no curdled cereal milk left in the sink.
This is what it really looks like to have it all together.
6:30 am | Mom wakes up, surveys clean house, has a fancy cuppa with a Instagram-worthy mug, and does her morning devotion on Gratitude. All is well and right.
(If someone came over right now, Life is Good)
7:30 am | Kids wake up. Diaper leaking episode means all bedding comes out of crib and toddler needs a change. Before the diaper gets on, toddler leaves to go find a missing tractor. As mom is putting things away, preschooler asks for help with her heavy comforter. Other preschooler refuses bedmaking. Everyone but said recalcitrant child goes down to breakfast. Recalcitrant child declares a bed making standoff and decides to wait mom out and fast so he does not have to make his bed.
8:00 am | Toddler is naked, but the heat is on so this isn’t worth worrying about just yet. Baby is in high chair impatiently waiting for breakfast making fussy noises. Cooperative preschooler is singing a loud song. Mom is making oatmeal as fast as she can.
8:30 am | Recalcitrant preschooler turns a new leaf, makes his bed, and joins the family. He tries to take toddler’s tractor, both scream and fake ugly cry. Older sister covers her ears and yells, “It’s too too loud!” and the baby rubs banana onto his fuzzy head.
(If someone came over right now, Life is a Petting Zoo)
9:15 am | Baby goes down for a nap. Toddler and preschoolers watch an hour of cartoons. They are quiet, attentive, and still. Mom goes around straightening the insanely large mess they’ve made in the 1.5 hours they’ve been awake. House is now straight again, kids are silent, and mom can rest.
(If someone came over right now, What Lovely Children)
10:00 am | Time for the kids to play outside. The toddler is still naked and, coincidently, peed on the floor during TV time so mom cleans the floor and puts diaper and clothes back on toddler. Preschoolers dress in clothes that don’t match and barely fit to go outside. Daughter’s hair is tangled and matted but never mind. This is not public. Kids are outside playing, fighting, and throwing dirt at each other.
This is half fun, half torture for them and every 5 minutes one stands at the gate yelling, “Mommy, help!!” 3 out of 7 days per week, children take off all their clothes, turn on the water faucet, and run through the water screaming. Mom ignores the kids and does housework or online work while sipping Diet Coke.
(If someone came over right now, Call Child Services)
11:00 am | Independent room time. Kids need a lot of time to play on their own, particularly if they are tired of sharing toys. Each one goes off to their respective room with their toys. Toddler empties his toy chest and will resist cleaning up for 20 loud minutes. Daughter colors the only pair of shoes that fit her with a fountain pen. Preschooler has an accident in his pants that requires much cleanup.
(If someone came over when they are in their rooms playing happily, How Do You Do It?)
12:00 pm | Lunchtime. Plates are served, children come to table. “I wanted the middle plate.” “My spoon no blue.” “My brother is putting his foot on my stool.” Mom does not have time to eat. Toddler makes a valiant mess. Preschooler helps feed baby and spills it down his shirt and on the floor. Other preschooler has emotional meltdown about the smoothie situation. Kids are tired. Mom is On The Verge.
12:45 pm | Mom puts kids to nap one by one. Baby goes down easy with paci and mom thinks he, at least, is a keeper. Toddler wants 2 books and water from the Mickey Mouse cup and only the Mickey Mouse cup which, in a cruel twist of fate, has disappeared. Preschooler wants daddy to put him to nap even though daddy is at work.
He then asks for a cuddle in bed before nap so mommy agrees and it is so dark and relatively quiet, she falls asleep for a minute. Then she puts her daughter in her room with books and dolls for rest time. She is so tired she collapses on the bed to take a power nap, then wakes up an hour later and opens her computer to do some work.
(If someone came over while all kids are in bed, You Are Supermom)
3:45 pm | Toddler has another earache and appointment so everyone must become presentable. Mom puts on real clothes, does her hair since she hasn’t washed it, and wears makeup to hide the blue bags under her eyes. Mom chooses daughter’s clothes and she gets ready. Mom picks out matching shirts for the boys and realizes they are so wrinkled from sitting in the hamper for 2 weeks she must iron them.
Baby is crawling around trying to eat night lights. Toddler is streaking through the house laughing like a maniac. Preschooler attempts to dress himself, but is a perfectionist and spends 5 minutes crying over the state of his socks. Everyone is now dressed. Mom spends 20 minutes trying to get everyone into van. Breaks out into a sweat. Tells herself she’ll never leave the house with everyone again.
4:30 pm | Arrives at appointment. Children are happy to be out of the house and well-behaved because for some reason they always well-behaved in public. Kids read car magazines from waiting room table. Daddy arrives to help mommy with All the Kids. Doctor sees toddler, prescribes antibiotics, and tells mother well done for her sweet little family. Mother takes kids to store to pick up a few things and sees many people. Kids are no longer naked, in pajamas, wearing matted hair, or covered in their own bodily fluids as they were most of the day.
(If someone saw her now, She Has It All Together)
5:15 pm | Everyone is fussy and cranky and loud. Mom turns up the radio to drown out the noise. Daughter wants the radio to station 2, preschooler doesn’t want toddler to sing, baby wants applesauce. Arriving home, moms opens van doors and asks the kids to come inside. Kids want to pretend to drive the van and open/close the doors. Mom comes outside, gives evil eye and puts hand on hip.
5:30 pm | Makeshift dinner of baguette, cheese, fruit and dip is on the table. Everyone eats or refuses to eat. Nana arrives and says she’ll help with bathtime. This is lucky, otherwise they’d stay dirty. Kids eat some, talk, sing, fight, then eat some more.
6:00 pm | Kids find renewed energy. They take off their clothes and run around hiding, tackling each other, and having picnics with the play kitchen. Oldest three get in bath. They splash water on each other, on the floor, then scream as loud as they can because it makes a nice echo. Mom gets baby ready for bed. The house is a total tip. The kitchen is full of crumbs and dishes. The noise level is at a daytime high.
(If someone came over right now, This is Why I Only Had One Child)
6:30 pm | Mom feeds and puts baby to bed and thinks they are all so perfect before they can talk. She closes her eyes, lays on the bed, and repeats to herself “In five years they can all put themselves to bed.” Daddy puts toddler to bed at his insistence, reading two books, and finding the mysterious Mickey Mouse cup. Toddler is in bed then starts screaming “mommy mommy to bed mommy to bed” so he gets a big cuddle.
Two preschoolers want a nice long story and books. Mommy and daddy divide and conquer. Hugs, kisses, teeth brushing, but only with the Thomas Toothpaste, and tucking in occurs. Hearts are overflowing with love and joy and, now, relief. Kids go to sleep. Mommy does an evening sweep and the house looks tidy again.
(If someone came over right now, Honestly, You’re Amazing)
7:30 pm | Mommy blogs about keeping a tidy house, raising obedient toddlers, and how to get a grip on your own life. You know, since she’s the expert.
This post was inspired by my mother who – after cleaning my entire house – said I should be more vulnerable lest anyone think I truly have it all together at all times. And you know what, mama is always right.