Let’s be honest: Motherhood can sometimes feel like one giant “fuck you.” People are asking you to do shit for them all day — fetching food, wiping nether regions, cleaning up messes — and all you get in return is sleep deprivation and whining.
It’s not just the thanklessness of it all, but the relentlessness. True, there are magical moments thrown in — and believe me, I appreciate the hell out of them — but part of what kills me is that the tasks of motherhood just keep going and going on an endless, irritating loop.
And you get no breaks. Zero. Not even a trip to the bathroom is met with silence. (And yet our male spouses, if we have them, can spend hours in the loo without being disturbed. What the fuck is up with that?).
Almost all mothers I know have their vices: the things we do during the day to steal moments of peace and quiet, to release tension and — god forbid — snatch up a bit of pleasure. Some might like to pretend that a 15-minute yoga or meditation break is all they need to stay sane. But, come on, when the heck is that going to happen? And we all know yoga and meditation take way too much effort and discipline to yield the kind of immediate comfort that mothers so desperately crave.
I guess that’s why so many moms swear by their glasses of wine at the end of the day or their warm cups of coffee (well, lukewarm). Both of those are relatively cheap, available, and neither are hard enough drugs to make a mother incapable of caring for her kids. Plus, they’re both easy to consume (sneak) during the minuscule windows of opportunity we mothers are afforded.
I, on the other hand, have been cursed with an atrocious digestive system and just can’t have coffee or alcohol without tummy aches and endless trips to the bathroom. Plus, wine makes me dizzy and nauseous, and coffee makes me insanely jittery, rendering the good qualities of each of these substances null and void.
But before you go and feel too sorry for me, know that I have something even better than either of those. It’s equally delicious, sexy, decadent, stimulating, and addictive.
Chocolate. Cocoa beans. Cacao, if you want to get fancy.
Every week as I’m finishing up at the grocery store, I stop at the chocolate display and pick two bars of dark chocolate. I buy the good, expensive kind — the kind that professes to be made from the purest cacao out there, sweetened only with “evaporated cane sugar,” and flavored with “pure Madagascar vanilla paste.”
I mean, whatever. Whether the chocolate I buy is a “superfood” or not, it’s mine — all mine — and when I get home I store it in my secret hiding place (one of the cupboards my kids haven’t found their way into), and then break off pieces of the bars to nibble on here and there throughout my day.
I almost always have a square of chocolate as my preschooler is eating his lunch, between warming up his freaking nuggets for the 7th time that day, and vacuuming the carpet for the 80th time that week. I’ll usually also go for a square or two at 4 o’clock, when I’ve collapsed like a deflated balloon, and my kids have decided they need me to save the planet and/or feed them all the food for four hours straight.
Sometimes I’ll have a bite of chocolate at “wine-o’clock,” after the kids have gone to bed. Unlike coffee, the amount of caffeine in chocolate won’t interfere with sleep for me.
Besides having just the right amount of caffeine and sugar to perk me up without giving me a heart attack (thanks a lot, coffee!), chocolate is actually good for me (and you!) — at least in moderation.
Chocolate is actually purported to be “heart-healthy,” full of antioxidants, and substances called flavanols, which lower blood pressure, increase blood flow to your brain and heart, and even help with blood clotting.
But the real reason moms like me are bonafide chocoholics is for the mood-altering aspects. It’s pretty self-explanatory: Even the youngest children know that chocolate = happiness. But it’s backed up by science too. Researchers have found that chocolate consumption releases endorphins in the brain as well as other feel-good hormones.
I know I could use all the endorphins I can get, especially when my kid is running around the house with a pee-soaked pair of underwear on his head (true story: my kids are heathens).
Probably the only problem with being a chocoholic is the little issue it can cause for your ever-widening derrière. There are definitely times in my life that require more chocolate than I should responsibly consume, and that is part of the reason why I only eat it in small doses and try to buy chocolate that doesn’t have excess sugar or other calorie-laden nonsense.
But sometimes I do go overboard, and my waistline pays the steep price.
Honestly, though, it’s totally worth it, at least in my case. Motherhood isn’t always pretty, and sometimes less than healthy choices have to be made in favor of preserving one’s sanity.
So I’m a chocoholic all the way, no way around it — and no apologies. Also: no sharing.