Sometimes I complain about motherhood. And every time I do, somebody somewhere somehow gives me the same sage advice:
Enjoy it before it’s over.
Live in the now.
Soak it up.
And generally speaking, my urge is the same. I basically want to punch them in the face. Not because it’s bad advice. It’s not. In fact, it’s the best advice ever. It’s solid fucking gold. It’s true and real and exactly what I should be doing.
This, of course, makes the advice that much more annoying, since I know they’re right and yet I can’t seem to pull together this much-desired full-moment-embrace.
At least not always.
There are various reasons for this during any given day. I’ve decided to compile a few.
So here you go: 37 Reasons I’m Not Embracing The Moment…
1. I’m so tired I recently told somebody I had a baby girl. Yeah. My baby has a penis. So until further notice, I had a boy.
2. It’s tough to really be present when your consciousness is sustained through 12,000-calorie, 25 grams of fat, 40 tablespoons of sugar, 6-shot iced coffee drinks.
3. No for real, there’s a time each day when I think I may actually die from this exhaustion, but then, like a beam of hope and light and truth, comes the drive-through espresso place and I know I’ll make it ONE MORE DAY.
4. But then I remember I will never lose the 30 pounds I’ve got attached to my ass if I keep drinking that shit. But I do it anyway because survival.
5. Speaking of shit, I’m pretty sure there’s baby poop under my pinky nail.
6. I made eggs for breakfast but my toddler “Only eats eggs on TUESDAYS!” So she screamed and wailed for approximately 30 minutes (even though she has no idea what day it actually is). Obviously.
7. It’s so damn hot I can’t stand wearing the “quality” nursing bra to support my 15-pound-each breasts – it’s so ITCHY! – but the cheap ass (comfortable) one from Target gave me a clogged duct and if I don’t wear the 6 feet of “quality” material around said boobs (and nursing pads), milk drips out of them and onto my clothing.
8. So basically, my choices are: Uncomfortable, hot and itchy or uncomfortable, wet and milky.
(Embrace that, bitch.)
9. I’ve been taking my placenta pills like a motherfucking boss but sometimes I wake up and I’m sure I have A.) Ruined my life and B.) Permanently ruined my life.
10. My toddler just peed on the pool deck.
11. Sometimes, my 12-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son bicker so long and so hard about something so stupid I actually pack up the wild toddler and screaming newborn and go to the park just so I don’t have to hear their voices for 15 minutes.
12. When we get there, they sit on the bench beside me and whine that it’s hot.
13. While my boobs itch.
14. Then I usually say something horrid like “GO AWAY NOW.”
15. And feel guilty about it because I know time flies and carpe fucking diem.
16. I embraced motherhood 15 minutes ago. Now I want to sit on this bench and play Candy Crush and pretend I’m still 21 and hot and living in Barcelona.
17. I have so many people demanding things from me ALL DAY LONG your voice has just become ONE MORE VOICE in the long line of voices asking me to do things and consequently I don’t hear you, at all.
But really, what part of “join me in the fight against helpful parenting advice is unclear to you?” Why can’t you just say “Yep.” When I bitch about motherhood? Why do you have to give me helpful words or whatever the hell that is because you know what I hear? All I hear is “If you were a better mother you’d be enjoying every second!”
18. Well shit. Now I can’t embrace the moment because you just told me to “embrace the moment” and now I feel guilty for not embracing the fucking moment.
19. And this leads me to think about how my tween will be 18 in 6 years and instead of living “in the now” I’m wondering where the last 13 years went and how come I didn’t “live in the now,” then, when I still had a chance and she was younger and nicer.
20. I’m thinking about money. Namely, the way we have none.
21. I’m wondering how that article that’s due this evening is going to get written when my baby decided that the only palatable life activities are nursing, sleeping against the boob (because I DIE WITHOUT THE NIPPLE MOM) and pooping.
22. I’m crying over nothing.
23. I’m answering questions from my kids about why I’m crying over nothing.
24. I’m making a mental note not to watch rescued-elephant videos ever again.
25. It’s 4pm and I just realized the circus needs to eat. Again. Why must they eat so often?
26. The dog ran away, out the broken fence. We need to fix the fence. He’s a sweet dog. I love that dog. I need to pay more attention to the dog. Sorry, dog. (No worries. We found the dog.)
Hey. Hey you. I AM EMBRACING MOTHERHOOD, just not at this moment. Why isn’t that okay? I ENJOY MY KIDS, just not at this exact second. Why is that a problem? Aren’t all jobs annoying at some point? Don’t all jobs have some aspects that suck? I mean if I were a lawyer and I hated doing time entry would you be like “Enjoy it.” Embrace it. Time flies. Someday you’ll be too old to record your time.” No. Of course not.
But this is motherhood, you say. Motherhood is precious. It’s all so precious!
NO. No, it is not.
Sometimes it’s not precious and I really, really think we’d all be better off if we stopped telling mothers to “enjoy every moment” when some moments are really, really (sometimes literally) shitty, full of nothing more than grit and dirt and work and grime (with a hint of cuteness).
27. I was up until midnight writing an article. My baby woke up at 3am and wouldn’t go back to sleep until 5am. At 6am my toddler woke up and bounced into my bed “I’m here to cuggle (cuddle)!”
28. It’s hard to embrace something when your eyes won’t open and your head is pounding and your arms are stuck under an almost-crying newborn and a flailing 3-year-old.
29. It’s 5am and I’m torturing my newborn with that snot-sucking device so he can finally sleep, FINALLY.
30. But I can’t sleep because I’m 97% sure he has whooping cough.
31. Better get on Google and explore whooping cough. What time does the pediatrician’s office open?
32. Oh great. It’s 6am! Here’s Georgia! Toddler cuddle time!
33. My kitchen smells vaguely of vomit and mildew.
34. My voicemail is 90% full. I fucking hate voicemail. Text, people. TEXT.
35. I have 17 flagged emails in my work inbox that need attention and my auto-responder says “Just had a baby” even though it’s been 5 weeks and they hover in the back of my mind like the most irritating buzzing fly you’ve ever heard.
36. My kids are eating mac and cheese again. I can only imagine what the processed cheese-like substance is doing to their brains.
37. We need to go to Costco but the tired. Oh. My. God. The tired.
And this baby.
And these kids.
THEY’RE JUST EVERYWHERE. And it never, never ends.
Eventually I give up, fuck it, park my ass on the chair and watch some 30 Rock reruns. For a minute I laugh, we all laugh, as the baby tries to nurse Rocket’s nose. And Georgia did her swimming lesson without crying. Came out beaming “I was SO GREAT in that pool, mama!” And the dog jumped in the kid pool like it was his own personal Raging Waters and my husband got an amazing haircut that makes me want to, ahem. And the grin on Ava’s face when she got her prize for reading 4 books at the library’s summer reading challenge. Oh, the innocence. It was almost as if she were 6 years old again.
I saw it for a second, just a second. My second, and hers.
As her smile hits my heart, I hear an explosion in Arlo’s diaper and something wet on my arm. I change him in the back of our hot SUV while the kids argue about who sits in front and Georgia removes her clothes, again, because that makes sense. I see my coffee in the stroller like a silent beacon of hope.
So there. 37 reasons I’m having trouble embracing the fucking moment.
And one or two that keep me trying.
Now please, for the love of God, stop telling me to embrace the moment. I’m embracing what I can, as best as I can, along with every other mother I know.
And besides, I embraced the fucking moment yesterday.