My motherhood training course included a lot of information, both solicited and unsolicited, about what to expect when my bump transformed into an actual baby.
Interestingly, of all the information I was given, I don’t think anyone effectively prepared me for the lack of privacy I was going to get as a mother. Alright, it’s possible the other mothers who led my “motherhood training course” were so busy being bombarded by grabbing fingers and begging mouths that they didn’t have time (or just forgot) to go over this part of my course.
But I can’t help but wonder if some of this information was withheld in spite.
I like to think the other moms, including my own, left this information out because I entered motherhood with a crap ton of confidence. They could smell me a mile away. Of course, no one wanted me to join the motherhood club with a boulder of self-doubt on my shoulders. But I like to think that the levels of self-assurance I had based off researching motherhood through books and a few courses in child development made me an excellent candidate for a joke and prank filled “initiation.”
Thankfully, what they put me through wasn’t too bad. My mother friends didn’t leave me to suffer without community. But when I brought up the constant pressure of never having more than five minutes to myself at a time, they responded sarcastically. I think it was something along the lines of, “Well, you seem to know it all based off of the things you learned in class and the books you read. Surely, there was nothing little old me could have told you.” Those aren’t exact words, but I think they’re pretty close. Well played, fellow moms.
I knew I had finally made it into “the mom club” when I found myself pretending to take a bath so I could eat my French fries in solitude. I promise it’s not as bad as it sounds. I actually took a bath so it’s not like I’m a liar. But it would be dishonest to say I didn’t enter that bathtub on a potato and ketchup-fueled mission.
Turns out, I’m not the only mom who has resort it to secrecy or downright awkwardness to get some free time and treats away from their children. So, what else have you been keeping from me fellow moms?!
Here are a few things my mom friends say they have also done to stay under the radar:
“I eat in my car before I get home so I don’t have to share with anyone. Sometimes I hide the Girl Scout cookies in the freezer and take them out 1 by 1 and hide them in the pantry because my kids have the noses of a bloodhound,” said one of them.
“I have bought and smuggled things into my house like it’s contraband to avoid having to share or be bugged about them (cookies, chips, the like). I then hide them in my closet and eat them in there. Behind a closed and locked bedroom door and a closed bedroom door, often with music playing to hide all sounds. I’ve also taken advantage of trash days to ‘check’ that the trash can was set out in order to get rid of some their never-ending holiday candy supply, a handful or two at a time,” said another.
Hilariously, she also added the following: “Occasionally, if we are lucky enough to have leftovers of something yummy I will help myself to an extra-large helping. And let my husband believe the kids ate it and let my kids believe their dad did.”
After a heart-to-heart with a few of my friends, I didn’t feel so bad about buying shortbread alphabet cookies for my son but treating myself to two packs for each pack that he gets. Then it dawned on me, motherhood wasn’t meant to be filled with shame, but it is filled with secrets.
Keeping little humans alive can feel like you’re being drained of everything you have to offer. There’s nothing wrong with having little secrets to supplement. I noticed my friends even kept secrets from me. They never told me how beautiful motherhood was. In a weird way, it’s flattering to know that someone loves you enough to want to be in your space ALL.THE.TIME. It’s even kinda fun to look into they’re beautiful little faces, as they beg for you food, and feel pride that you had any part in their existence.
Hearing my mom friend stories reminded me that there are some things that are too complex for words. Sure, eating McDonald’s French fries in the bathtub so you can enjoy their salty goodness alone feels like something they should have warned me about. But it doesn’t overshadow what comes along with motherhood.
If it takes a few secret cookies are fries to be the best mom, then you should do it. It’s not like they count them first anyway.