Monday, August 10, 2015

Making it Look Easy

I've been debating writing a post on this, because it's a bit of a mixed bag for me.  A few friends have mentioned in passing, 'You make having two kids look so easy!' or 'What a perfect life you have!' and it's meant as a compliment.  I should say, it seems like it's meant as a compliment.  And, while I see the kind place they're coming from and know it's in no way meant as a jab at me, those words fill me with a sense of dread.

I have a two-year-old, so this sight of him on the ground in tears is pretty much a given at least a few times a week.  Sometimes a few times a day.  Generally, though, people don't want to see pictures of that.
And it's not always a private show just for me.  August had a meltdown at the GA Aquarium when I told him we had to go home.

There was a several-week stretch when Bash would only nap while nursing next to me.  Which meant, on top of not sleeping when the baby sleeps, I either dealt with a fussy baby or a fussy toddler who wanted my undivided attention (currently being eaten up by said sleeping baby).  That's an exhausting time that my playground group didn't get to witness.

And, as much as I adore August, he's not really great with knowing people's pain thresholds.  He's really good at clocking my head with his while sitting in my lap for story times.  Don't even get me started on how much laundry is being done in this house; between a toddler trying to feed himself drippy yogurt and a baby spitting up like its his job (which, I guess it kind of is), it's rare that we each go through only one outfit a day.

Then there's the guilt.  August can quote passages from several Disney and Pixar films, at the young age of 2, and Bash loves to stare at the TV screen.  But how else am I supposed to get time to prep dinner or let the dog out?

Don't misunderstand me: I LOVE my kids, my husband, my life in general.  I appreciate that I can stay home and that we can afford to have me do it.  I am incredibly lucky to be married to a man who puts his family before pretty much everything.  (Except Spanish futbol, but that's another conversation entirely.)  Being a stay at home mom is the best fit for us at this stage; I didn't have a full-fledged career when I had August, so didn't have anything I was passionately looking forward to returning to after a maternity leave.

But you would think that being a stay at home mom has basically lobotomized me that way some parties and dinners go.  Because I don't work outside the home, it's as though I couldn't possibly have anything to contribute to a conversation; an IRS employee has more clout at an event than I do.  There have been more occasions than I'd care to mention which have led to me relegated to a corner, sipping wine by myself, while other people talk about their careers.  I have stuff to talk about, too!  I've read fascinating books, watched thought-provoking films and TV shows, am up on current events!  That's got to be way more interesting than talking about tax brackets and business plans, right?

So much of my life is awesome and we have a lot of laughs and smiles.  These boys are 65% an absolute joy, and 35% thoroughly exhausting and frustrating.  I have a lot of help, though, and should be totally upfront about that.  Since he was 16 months old, August has been in some sort of daycare/preschool/summer camp situation a couple mornings a week so I can get time with just one kid, and we have people who clean our house once a week.  We also have a mother-in-law who watched the boys every so often, and a great babysitter for date nights.  THANK GOODNESS FOR THAT.  These people have been worth their weight in gold.  So it really does take a village to make one person's job look 'easy'.

This 'picture perfect life' is more complex and interesting than that title would lead you to believe.  When I really dig down, my issue is that, if this is what easy and perfect look like, why do I have so many frustrating encounters with people who aren't parents or stay at home parents?  Am I allowed to vent about my kids' bad sleeping habits, or will that pop the bubble?  If I admit to struggling more days of the week than not, will I get the brush-off?  And, even when things aren't picture perfect, am I allowed to still enjoy it?  One of my favorite pictures of the boys so far (nearly six months into brotherhood) is this one of August very gingerly pulling a booger out of Bash's nose.  Gross?  Yes.  Endearing and gentle?  Absolutely.  


  1. When I'm in a funk about things, I always write about it. Right now I'm keeping a journal of what our life has become since Paul's stroke. It's somehow cathartic to get it all down on paper. Glad you did that too with this post. A little dose of real life in the middle of The Lovely Prelude. I tell myself that the pluses outweigh the minuses but I know it isn't all pluses!!! Still..... those boys of yours are so wonderful -- boogers and all!!!

  2. Your post reminded me of this article. I'm sure you've seen it too and were like hell yeah!

    I totally feel you. I don't have two kids, but I completely understand the dreaded "you make it look easy" comment.

    The mom vs. wife with no kids vs. single working woman vs working mom...ugh makes my head spin. We should all be supportive of each other and our situations no one status in life is easy. I'm there for you Abbi. You know what we can all agree on? We never have time for ourselves (without feeling immense guilt, or at least I do!)

    Love you, sister-in-law!