When being the mom stinks

momsstink_smLast Wednesday I had successfully crossed off every single item on my things to do list. I was feeling proud and accomplished by this coup of mom management until I was reading it back to myself and realized something: I am really drowning in the daily humdrum.

My days are filled with laundry and dishes, vacuuming and play dates, toddler woes and muddy dogs. If I change out of my PJ’s and into my yoga pants by 9:00 AM then I know I am off to a fantastic start. If I can navigate around meltdowns and stand-offs for more TV time with my four year-old then I know I am unstoppable and that the house might not look like an asteroid hit it by the time dinner hour crawls into view. Usually, though, I barely make it to the witching hour without wanting to put myself in a timeout.

As I was launching into a lecture style rant about my day to my husband, I had an epiphany. I am bored by the daily exhaustion of motherhood. Time off from my responsibilities is not the answer, although for a long time I thought it was. Every mom needs a break, after all. The answer for my problem has more to do with adjusting my expectations of what motherhood is.

I don’t want to be the Warden around here anymore.

I am rarely apart of the play that is happening because I’m too busy mediating the wants and needs of everyone else. One kid wants to ride the dog like a horse, so I dash to intervene before our 85-pound Boxer bucks him off. Another kid wants to go digging for treasure in the kitchen trash, so I dart to the kitchen in time to sidestep the need for an emergency bath time.

My kids don’t know that I can play the spoons or do cartwheels. They don’t know that I can do a hilariously accurate impression of Miss Piggy from the Muppets. They don’t know that in the summertime I love to let my freeze pops melt so that I can drink the cool sticky juice. They have never heard me tell a ghost story spooky enough to raise the hairs on their necks and make them jump out of their skin.

They just know that I clean stuff and make up rules for everyone to follow.

Thursday morning I was up before the kids for the first time ever. I did not make a list of things to do. I did not put on yoga pants or tie up my hair in a knot. I muttered to myself that things would be different. I was going to be fun. I was going to let messes happen. I wasn’t going to micromanage the day.

I was firing the Warden.

And then I went into the kitchen and made chocolate cupcakes for breakfast.

Sarah Cottrell

About Sarah Cottrell

Maine-based writer Sarah Cottrell is the voice behind Housewife Plus at the Bangor Daily News and is a regular contributor to Disney’s Babble and Momtastic. She is a co-author in six books including I Still Just Want To Pee Alone from the New York Times Bestselling series. Sarah’s work has also been highlighted and featured by SELF Magazine, National Public Radio, Washington Post, and VICE Tonic.