Thursday, September 2, 2010
I never knew being a mommy meant....
No one told me that when women brag about their baby's "sleeping through the night" the translation really meant that junior slept 5-6 hours with out waking. When I heard "sleeping through the night" I thought that meant that my baby would be sleeping 8-9 hours by 2-3 months. Imagine my surprise when my first baby was colicky and barely slept more than 2 hrs at a time until he was almost a year old. My first did not "sleep through the night" until he was 22 months. I am a mommy of 4 now and I haven't slept more than 6 hours in a row for over 4 and a half years. I also didn't realize "sleeping in" would take on a whole new meaning as well. It used to mean sleeping until noon and was reserved for Saturdays. Now it means anything past 8 am and its a very rare occurrence indeed. When it happens you feel like you have won the lottery.
No one told me that after you have kids you develop "levels" of cleanliness. Before I had kids I did not consider my house clean unless it was spotless and pristine, looking like a picture in a magazine. Now that sort of clean is a "special clean" or the very top level of my cleanliness chart, reserved only for very special guests which usually translates to strangers we have never meant before.
The next level of clean is the "family and friends level" This is the type of clean that usually involves your house still somewhat cluttered, or "lived in" as my grandma always put it. There will likely be some toys on the floor, clean laundry on your bed waiting to be folded, dishes in the sink from breakfast or lunch. There probably will be at least one door shut and off limits so no one can see inside because that's where you threw everything real fast when you saw them pull in the driveway.
Then there is the third level of clean or what I like to call "its just us and we have no where to go today" clean. This level would appear dirty to those without children, but is still acceptable to you once you have kids. In this level there are probably dishes in the sink from the previous day, dirty laundry piles waiting to be washed, a mine field of toys to walk across and you are a little scared to walk into your kids room.
When you are a mom things are not dirty until you can no longer see the floor. You have to climb over the laundry pile to get to the washing machine. There are curious things in the sink that look like they could be a science experiment and you think one of your kids may be lost in their room. Only then do you concede to the fact that there is cleaning in your future.
When you do finally break down and clean take pictures. Once you are done a tornado, or in my case 3 little tornado's, will mysteriously come through your house and set everything back to the way it was before you started. You will find yourself questioning your sanity because you will remember cleaning but it will look like you never touched it. That's why moms learn to live with these levels of clean, because if you didn't you might drive yourself crazy trying to keep up that picture perfect first level.
No one told me that moms are gifted with iron stomachs and dulled senses of smell in certain areas. They have to be to deal with some of the messes they have to deal with. Just watch a dad try to change a poopy diaper and you will see what I mean. Men can't even open the diaper without involuntary gagging. Sometimes dads have to leave the room because they are so overwhelmed by the smell. This is one of the many "super powers" a mom is given. It is this gift that allows a mom to get through the first night of real vomit. I am not talking baby spit up here. I am talking about the first time your child wakes up in the middle of the night and calls for you. You know what has happened before you even enter the room because of the smell. This was a major concern of mine about mommyhood, I always had a weak stomach and didn't think I would be able to handle messes like this without getting sick myself. I am not saying its fun, its still gross but somehow you are given the strength to get the job done. This is the strength you need when your 2 yr old decides that her poopy makes a great finger paint or playdough. If this has not occurred in your home yet, just wait.
I feel so blessed to have each of my babies. Although I do have to remind myself of this many times a day, another thing no one told me, but that's ok. I know it is so worth it in the end. I have learned not to rush things, not to pray for time to hurry by so that I can finally sleep or go pee in peace. Sure, those are nice benefits of having older children but along with that comes a whole new set of trials I am sure no one has told me about. At least I know I am armed with many mommy powers to help me navigate through the new trials as they come.