Today, I was just about every motherhood cliché in the book.
I sent the kids off to school in my pajamas, my hair still not brushed from the night before, I called my husband in tears because the remaining at-home children seemed to be hell-bent on a mission to destroy my sanity and the house, and I actually snapped a picture of my son on the toilet surrounded by the entire roll of toilet paper he had just ripped into a million little pieces the moment I turned my back.
It’s in moments like this, or in the years I have spent literally barefoot and pregnant in my kitchen, or in my truly great affection for all things coffee and Target, that I can’t help but laugh at how many stereotypes are completely true about mothers. But on the flip side, not all of those motherhood stereotypes are accurate. And in fact, some of them are just downright annoying, like …
1. That all we want to do is nap.
Yes, I’m tired a lot of the time, but if I have the choice between being productive or taking a nap in the middle of the day, I will almost always choose to do something productive. A nap might be nice, but a good hour of productivity can feel just as refreshing. Besides, kids have a built-in radar that will automatically wake them up if their mother tries to apply her body to a bed of any kind, so it’s kind of pointless anyways.
2. That we are just sooo busy all the time.
Can I make a confession? One of the things I hate most is hearing just how “busy” other mothers are. It’s always relayed in a slightly condescending voice that is trying to sound like a complaint but just comes across as, woe-is-me-for-being-so-important. I’m sorry, but schlepping your three-year-old to ballet twice a week or planning your kid’s birthday party are not things to stress about — moms who have sick kids that need countless medical appointments or a single parent who works as a doctor — now those parents can deem themselves busy. But on any given day, half of the mothers who would like to say they are “sooo busy” are doing activities that they have, in fact, created precisely to keep themselves busy. Two year olds don’t need music lessons and until your kid is in school and truly starts asking for all those extracurricular activities, life as a mom doesn’t have to be so busy all the time. And don’t even get me started on whoever declared that being “busy” is a bragging right anyway.
3. That we never have time to shower.
This one seems to make its way into virtually every parenting article known to man, and honestly, I don’t get it. I’m not saying that I’ve never skipped an occasional shower or that I wash my hair every day, but honestly, reading the majority of parenting advice out there makes it seem like it’s hip to skip. Now call me crazy, but with four kids, my need for a shower has never been greater. Drag the baby in the bouncer with you into the bathroom for five minutes, stick the toddler in the tub, or discover my favorite secret and shower at night after the kids are sleeping (#wethairdonttcare), but one way or another, just take the freaking shower.
4. That we are all emotional blubber balls about our kids growing up.
My husband thinks it’s great fun to tease me about our kids growing up. He will purposely pick them up and hold them in his arms taunting me by saying stuff like, “Remember when she was our baby? It seems like just yesterday and before you know it, they will be leaving you …” And then he stares at me, just waiting for the tears to fall. And while I admit that I have my emotional mom moments, I will also say that there are some pretty awesome things about watching your kids grow up — and not every mom longs for the baby days to stay forever, as incredible as they can be. Sometimes, I’d really like to move past this particular stereotype and somehow learn not to use the phrase, “I can’t believe they are growing up so fast!” every.single.day.
5. That we all love to craft with our kids.
I spent a lot of time when my first daughters were little trying to dream up fun and cutesy crafts. Bonus points if they were seasonal. And while we had some good times together, the majority of those craft sessions were preceded by hours of me doing research for the craft, gathering supplies, trying to teach them the craft, usually doing the craft for them when all their efforts failed, and then me displaying the craft for 24 hours until I could secretly throw it in the trash. I don’t have proof, but I’m fairly certain that crafts aren’t for kids — they are more for mothers who think they should do them (and for the small percentage of moms who genuinely enjoy crafting). But honestly, most kids are just as happy with a piece of paper and some crayons as any elaborate Pinterest craft you can dream up, so let’s stop assuming that every mom even wants “10 Picture-Perfect Crafts for A Rainy Afternoon,” mmmkay?
6. That we’re all obsessed with sneaking veggies into our kids’ smoothies.
The Internet would like us all to think that mothers everywhere are obsessed with buying organic, free-range, all-natural everything and spend our afternoons pinning the latest and greatest kale smoothie recipe. And while I’m all about whatever floats your boat and getting on board with a healthy lifestyle, I can also attest that not all moms or even (gasp) first-time moms are spending their nights counting how many servings of veggies their kids got that day.
7. That we all are part of the “mommy wars.”
Much like that one kid in class who always ruined recess for everyone else, a few crazy mom-trolls have convinced the entire world that all mothers are out to get each other with their breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding vs. working moms vs. how dare-you-say-not-all-moms-aren’t-working moms vs. vaccinations vs. circumcisions vs. who knows else what. But honestly? There are more of us who are simply just glad to get through another day and could care less what choices other mothers are making. You want to pre-chew your kids food or breastfeed until kindergarten? Go for it. I’ve got enough to worry about right here in my house without getting involved in a losing battle with every other mother in the world, thanks. And if any stereotype about motherhood is true, it’s that motherhood really can be a unifying experience — we’re all in this together and some of us really are more interested in holding each other up instead of tearing each other down.