Ever had one of those days where you just want to crawl in your bed and sleep for 12 hours at the end of it? As a mom, you can almost guarantee that one of those days will pop up. Yet, the critical distinction is that you CANNOT crawl into your bed and sleep for 12 hours. Heck, your lucky if you can crawl into your bed and sleep for 6 (consecutive) hours! Everyday poses a different set of challenges and obstacles, but some days are more trying than others. With the help of my VERY supportive husband and parents, I have been trying to maintain a balance between motherhood and myself. Although I want to be the best mom possible to my son, I'm also trying to keep the house clean, get back into and stay in shape, support my husband, look sexy for my husband :), and fit in time with my friends. Some days I find it completely possible to manage all of these tasks, and then some. While other days, the realities of motherhood take over. Here's a story of one of those days:
It all started with a beautiful sunny day in San Francisco. I wanted to get out a bit and enjoy the day with a little walk in the sun and a lunch date with a girlfriend. Miles started his day as a happy little camper - laughing, giggling, and playing through the morning. However, things started going south when he refused to go down for his late morning nap. No matter how many songs I sang or how much bouncing I did, he just refused to nap. Before I knew it, the clock struck 1, and it was time for my lunch date. As my girlfriend and I walked down the street with Miles fussing in his stroller, Miles refused to lean back in his stroller, which meant that with every bump in the road, he bumped his head on the stroller bar, which lead to more fussing and crying. So, we decided to cut our walk short by stopping at the first restaurant on the radar. The restaurant was packed with San Franciscans enjoying the warm afternoon sun, but we managed to get a table outside. At this point Miles was still fussing, so I gave him a bottle. Finally, I felt that I could relax and enjoy my lunch, so I order myself a tasty little mock-tail, and prepare to enjoy my girlfriend time while my son enjoyed his bottle. But not so fast mommy! Miles dropped his bottle, started crying, and as I bent down to retrieve the bottle, his fast little hands got a hold of my bright red mock-tail and pulled down on top of him and me. And of course this was the day I chose to wear an all tan outfit. After the spilled drink, I still tried to salvage the afternoon, but Miles wasn't in the mood, so we promptly took our food to go and high-tailed it out there! At that moment with Miles screaming, bright read juice spilled all over my son and myself, and my friend and I scrambling to throw our lunches in to-go boxes while the working class tried to enjoy their lunch break, I had become that woman with a crying baby getting dirty looks at restaurants. The good news was that it didn't feel nearly as bad as i thought it would. In fact, I barely noticed other people's reactions. Somehow, motherhood and greatly increased my embarrassment threshold.
In hindsight, I can see now that there were a lot of things I did wrong, but the most important thing I did wrong was not to put Miles first. When he didn't go down for his nap, I should have known that he would be tired and cranky and not up to go out on a hot day for a lunch date. Obviously, my experience at the restaurant wasn't that bad, as far as mommy days with a cranky baby, I've had a lot worse. I just found that experience to be memorable because in my mind I felt like I was trying so hard to be out and have a good time, and I kept trying to salvage the day, but it just wasn't happening. Often, I feel like I try so hard to maintain peices of my pre-baby life, that I forget its okay to drop some of those pre-baby balls. Some days I just can't look like a fashionista and lunch with my girlfriends all while tending to a cranky nap-deprived baby. That doesn't mean I failed, it just means I human, and a mom.
One of the most important lessons I learned that day is there are days when I can only put on my mommy hat, and that's ok! It's still one of the best hats I have.