There are a lot of little things I don’t get right as a mom. My attempts at braiding the hair of my little girls are borderline embarrassing. Our dryer is always full. Always. I just call it a drawer and move on. I would love to say I am on time more often than not, but let’s be honest, I was rarely on time before I even had tiny humans attached to me. But, one thing that seems to consistently give me cool mom points is the relaxed way in which I go places with my kids. (Not on time, obviously.)
I was pretty smooth with that whole leaving the house with a baby thing when I had just one baby. I did not aim for perfection, but we did something outside of the home every.single.day. It was my sanity. Other moms would comment, sometimes on social media (spoiler alert: social media reveals the highs of my days more often than the lows), but often in person, too. I remember a mom friend saying, “I am amazed you took your one-week-old baby to the beach, Supermom! I could barely walk when my baby was a week old.” Or there was that one time when I was eight months pregnant at Disney World alone with my toddler. I kid you not, you would have thought I was a celebrity with the comments and looks I got. Most people were impressed, while one or two seemed concerned, but hey… you can’t win ‘em all. Our tickets were about to expire and Daddy was missing in action, so, YOLO.
It was also while I was pregnant that my world took an unexpected turn. To my surprise (more like shock), I became a single mom while twenty weeks pregnant with my second daughter. Low and behold, when baby number two arrived and I began this adventure of constantly being outnumbered, life had to go on. It just had to, crazy and all. Self-pity isn’t my jam, and neither is staying home with my kids, literally speaking that is. I am the stay-at-home-mom that pretty much never stays home, and once again, it’s my sanity.
The reactions I get when I fly alone to New York with two little ones often cause me to pause and think. I know people mean well, and I genuinely appreciate the encouragement, but I never really know what to say. Usually, they say something like, “I just don’t know how you do it. You’re so brave!” To which I reply with something like, “Well, thank you! I am just doing my best.” But the truth is, the only other option is never visiting my family. I have no choice. I am in survival mode. Just trying to get from point A to point B without losing a human. (Disclaimer: Don’t stop calling me brave, friends. It helps on those challenging days.) But really, I am just doing the only thing I know how to do, and that is to keep on living. I promise you, you would do the same thing. I am not any more of a super mom than any of you are, brave mommas.
Then there’s the beach. Our home is less than 5 miles from the beach in sunny Florida. My little family practically lives there. Sand, salt water, pool, repeat. I always laugh when I read those highly over exaggerated blogs about all of the crap moms “need” to lug to the beach. I laugh because they’re hilarious. However, I also laugh because this is what we bring to the beach… are you ready for this? Brace yourself. Here’s the long list: water, towels [sometimes], sunscreen. I am not trying to toot my own horn here. I am just owning it. I am sure my kids would love for me to pack boogie boards, a picnic, sand toys in every color of the rainbow, a kite, an umbrella, beach chairs, and our imaginary golden retriever. But then our day at the beach would also be imaginary more times than not because I am only one person with two hands, which are usually holding two tiny hands. So in order to make memories, I choose to be a minimalist beach mom. Sometimes less is more. We chase seagulls and splash on the shoreline. We eat lunch before we come. We rock that SPF50 and are in the ocean the entire time, so who needs shade and chairs. Our car is usually sandy and salty, and that is just how we like it. When it starts to drizzle and everyone is frantically gathering their belongings, we do cartwheels in the rain and catch raindrops in our mouths. We leave with empty hands, full hearts, and memories.
So maybe I am a rebel when it comes to being the prepared mom. Maybe my diaper bag isn’t always stocked in true Mary Poppins fashion. Perhaps my life is the definition of organized chaos at times. I choose my battles. I gave up perfection a long time ago. But, my kids are freaking happy. Like really happy you guys. They are spontaneous and adventurous, and flexible, and they love life. I wish I could take all of the credit for their wild hearts and free spirits, but all I’ve done is let them experience things. The world is their oyster, so I get them out into this beautiful, unpredictable, fierce world we live in. As our home girl, Miss Frizzle once said, “Take chances. Get messy. Make mistakes.” I happen to think the Frizz is onto something, so that’s how we roll. The rest is magic.