“This is not quite as glamorous as it looks on television.”
That was my initial thought one morning at six o’clock as I sat in my dimly lit living room, the latest and greatest in plastic toys surrounding me. Mommy-hood looked incredibly inviting on the television, with happy smiles and quiet moments. The Mommy on the screen was smartly dressed in pressed khakis and a streamlined button-down shirt. She smiled brightly as her children eagerly piled into the sparkling family mini-van. Her hair glistened with natural highlights as she twirled her perfectly chubby baby in the air. Television Mommy had no fussy children, no dirty diapers, and no sleepless nights. Things were happy, children were content, and the laundry was never out of control.
At that particular moment that morning, I had found myself in the midst of the journey called Mommy-hood and had yet to experience any such glamour the television advertisements had promised. Rather than pressed khakis, I was dressed in wrinkled pajamas that did a less than mediocre job of disguising my post-baby tummy. Children were not eager to begin the day’s activities. Instead, the two year old was proclaiming loudly from his crib that he desperately needed apple juice while the newborn was hungrily gulping on a bottle. I could not recall the last time I had actually styled my hair, much less had the sun shine on it in such a way that others stop to take notice.
As I sat there on my couch, contemplating why my version of Mommy-hood was not nearly as exciting as I had been lead to believe, I found myself overwhelmed, discouraged, and desperately wishing I was “That Girl.”
“That Girl” was not the girl whose children happily went about chores when asked, most likely humming a song from The Sound of Music as they worked.
Even that life seemed too complicated at the moment.
“That Girl” was a version of me at the age of 21, a senior in college, the world at my feet. She was able to sleep as long as she desired in the morning and did not have to concern herself with such details as breakfast preparation or diaper changing. “That Girl” was able to take a shower without an audience of people under three feet tall crying over the fact they have been forbidden from eating hair gel. She would have thrown on a pair of size 4 jeans without hesitation or resistance from a tummy that has housed unborn babies. Her agenda for the day would consist of such things as, “Swing by the mall and browse sale racks,” “Hang out at the gym with roommates,” and “Decide between Social Activity A or Social Activity B for the evening.”
As I sat on my couch, struggling to read the clock on the mantle, I really wanted to be 21 at the moment rather than in my current role as Mommy. “That Girl” would not have to load and unload children from car seats multiple times a day, she would not have to scrape green applesauce off her china hutch for the third time that week, and wound not have to wonder if tear-free shampoo was toxic when consumed by the capfuls. Her clothes were not spotted with an array of child bodily fluids and her hairstyle choices were not limited to ponytail or ….ponytail. Her life was whimsical and carefree and how I envied it that morning.
Despite my longings, I managed to pull myself off the couch and go on with Mommy-hood. Had I magically become “That Girl” on such a morning, I would have missed out on my toddler telling me his nose was “crying”, for which he needed a Kleenex, and would have not witnessed the first attempts at a giggle by my newborn. I would have missed singing “E-I-E-I-O” at the top of my lungs to entertain my children in the car, as the man next to us at the stoplight looked on with a mixture of horror and confusion. I would have missed holding a sleeping baby, whose little hand wrapped perfectly around my finger. I would have missed stifling a giggle with my husband when our two year old walked into the living room looking quite studious in a pair of glasses from his Mr. Potato Head set. If I were “That Girl” I would have missed the joyful splashes in the bathtub and the unforgettable scent of a freshly washed child. I would have missed out on the unconditional love and often complete adoration, even when denied the chance to eat hair gel, by the two most precious beings on earth.
“That Girl” can keep her life because I realized things are pretty good here in Mommy-hood land.
However, I might trade the spit-up covered shirts for those size four jeans every once in a while