Here’s a fun quiz. Can you guess which of the following is an actual text message sent by me?
- I just stepped on something on my kitchen floor, and I have no idea what it is.
- The sprinkler counts as a bath, right?
- Leftover chicken nuggets – the breakfast of champions! (That was my breakfast, not Austin’s.)
- All of the above
You guessed it, all of the above!
If anyone would’ve told me years ago that I’d be capable of saying such things, I would’ve laughed in your face. “What kind of adult eats chicken nuggets at all, let alone in the morning?” my smug, pre-parent self might quip.
A mom, that’s who.
Three years ago (next Tuesday), I gave birth to my twins, Austin and Scarlett. And I’m pretty sure that along with the C-section, I underwent a secret brain transplant, because the way I think, the way I operate, has been forever altered. And although part of it is a shift in priorities (which is inevitable when you become charged with taking care of two tiny human beings), it goes way beyond that. My brain simply works differently now.
Here are just a few examples:
I’ve learned how to choose my battles. I’ve come to accept that when you have a full-time job and two toddlers, the house isn’t going to be clean (save for the occasions when we’re having company and I do the 15-minute tidy-up). I’m working on accepting the fact that my kids aren’t always going to eat healthy meals, and that the key to potty training is bribery.
I’ve lost my ability to put up with nonsense — from adults, at least. Whether it’s that friend who would always flake out, or a mom’s group that’s more stress than enjoyment, I’ve learned some things — and people — just aren’t worth the time and energy. I need to save that for chasing my kids around.
I can function on very little sleep. Is it an ideal situation when I’m up four times in one night? No, but after making it through the newborn months, I now know that I can power through the day on limited rest — as long as there’s coffee. Before having kids, I used to think my whole week would be ruined if I had a horrible night’s sleep. Now? I take fellow twin mom Anna Turman’s advice: Suck it up, buttercup. Eventually I’ll make up the sleep and it’ll be okay.
Lists have become necessary to my survival. In a recent blog, Chris Walden, director of IS at Health First, confessed that he is a list-maker; that lists help him to “have a plan.” But it wasn’t always this way for him. “There was a time in my life where I rarely forgot anything… since having children that is no longer the case,” wrote Walden, another twin parent. “I forget a lot of things if I do not write them down. I am comfortable being wired this way.” Me too.
I cherish my quiet time. In fact, I’ll go above and beyond to make it happen, whether that means shuffling around my schedule, working late (or early), or letting the laundry sit unfolded for another day. Because that quiet time, whether it’s at a yoga class or on a solo walk to the beach, helps me to clear my mind, hit reset, and take on the rest of the day with renewed energy.
I have a whole new appreciation for fellow parents. Before joining the club, I had no idea how difficult, how intense, and how all-consuming this job was. Now, if a mom has to cancel a playdate or interview because of a sick child, I understand completely. When I see parents hand their kid an iPad at a restaurant because it means they get a few minutes of peace, I totally get it.
I’ll never be the same, physically or mentally. The bags under my eyes are there to stay, and my lower back will forever make me pay for the damage that was incurred during my pregnancy.
And, with all of that said, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat for these two.