I’m the best mother I can be when I am completely immersed.
Before we moved to California from New York City, Justin took a two-week trip to the Bay Area to take care of some business before our family switched coasts. He completed an exam for dentistry and attempted to find us a home to move in to. I dreaded that two-week period leading up to it—I was worried I’d be too overwhelmed with the kids and their schedules and completely assuming all duties for them and the household.
It was challenging, especially the first 3 days. By the end, however, I had the home running like a well-greased machine. I knew everything about their schedules, what was happening at school academically and socially, and everything about my children from the inside out. I was exhausted of course, but I’ve never felt better about my abilities to handle everything and do it well at the same time. We missed Justin like crazy, both as a father and a partner. Two weeks is just long enough to fully feel the dynamic of a home shift—it felt completely hollow in some places and overflowing in others. Our walk home from elementary school in the afternoons was about a mile—just enough time to talk and learn about each other’s days—time I might not otherwise take unless I was also folding laundry or making dinner.
This two week total-immersion motherhood program was the best thing I could have done, not only to ground me but to reflect upon when the harried days have us skipping stones and darting in and out of each other’s lives morning, noon and night.
Our lives couldn’t be more different now than they were then, almost exactly one year ago. My own business has grown exponentially into a full-time commitment, one where I only do school drop-off and pick-up a few times a week and homemade dinners have also been making their way to the table less often. I’m taking so much stock in those in-between moments; the teeth brushing, homework doing, rides home from school times when we’re just being together. Bath time used to be one where they were small enough that I could pile them all into one teeny tub and it would be an absolute riot (some days, less than such, but always memorable). These times have very sticky variables, and if one of them is off just enough the entire process can go from being a lovely experience to a very contentious one. For teeth brushing and bath time for instance, I use exactly the right products that I know they’ll like and that work the best for my intentions. The Honest Company comes through in these situations pretty consistently, and as a parent I am more than grateful for that.
Jack showers more often than not now and Theo seems to have effectively replaced him even though he’s nearly just as big. It’s a time that requires my full, un-distracted attention and it’s often calming, even if the ruckus is less than serene.
Explaining to a dog that he is simply not a human is not easy, and in our case not even feasible. I’m ok with that (most days).
Motherhood for me is far less stressful if I have an arsenal of products that I trust for these every day routines. I want to be able to trust that there isn’t something potentially funky in something that I’m using to clean and bathe my children. It’s easy for me to choose The Honest Company (and have for years), knowing that their products are not only effective but safe and mild at the same time. (Not to mention reasonably priced! And easy to order! I could go on).
The one constant that seems to bring us together each and every day is the beauty of routine. The bath times and meal times, the homework times and the commuting times. Each offers invaluable moments for conversation, a small but exposed looking glass into the worlds of our children. Perhaps it took being completely and totally responsible for three children for two weeks straight, but we tend to learn the most in times of challenge. Although I have a new baby on the way and likely all new parenting experiences ahead, I’ll certainly be an expert at this motherhood thing by the time they are already packed up and headed to college. C’est la Vie.
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Thank you to The Honest Company for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.