Thursday, 23 August 2012

Why I'm happy to be a Slacker Mom

From what I've experienced so far, being a mother is kind of like golfing--hardly anyone excels at it, and we're always missing the mark. If you've mastered it, you're probably a professional, and I've never heard of a professional mother.

Before having a baby, I worked outside the home (where I'll return after a year off). I'm pretty good at my job, but I would say that my job satisfaction comes from the positive relationships I have with my colleagues and the fact that I enjoy the work that I'm doing. My superiors likely know that I'm not the smartest or the hardest working person on the payroll, but appreciate that I come to work with a positive attitude and a genuine desire to contribute.

I've approached being a mother in pretty similar fashion. It's not about being the best, but about making the most out of each day and having fun. If I focused on productivity, I would feel very, very bad about what doesn't get done in an average day. Here is a fairly accurate list of my what I try to get done each day, from highest to lowest priority:

1. Feed the baby and keep him clean
2. Hang out with the baby (comfort him when he's upset, read books, play with toys, etc.)
3. Feed myself
4. Diaper laundry
5. Take a shower
6. Go for a walk
7. Non-diaper laundry (baby clothes, burp cloths, my clothes)
8. Write a blog post
9. Wash dishes or other housework
10. Get supper started
11. Read a book

In the first few weeks, when he cried a lot, I would barely make it to #3. These days I can make it to #6 on a good day, I rarely make it passed #8, and I've never made it to #11. Everything else has to wait until my partner gets home from work. I have no idea how single parents do it, and I honestly hope that I never have to find out.

Sometimes I feel bad about myself, that my partner doesn't come home to me in a great outfit with supper made '50's house-wife style. Truth is, he almost always makes supper. I feel a little bit bad, but mostly I just feel really lucky.

When you're a mom, except during those precious moments when the baby is napping, you always have to make a choice: spend time with the baby, or set the baby up to safely occupy himself while you try to get things done. A lot of the time spent with the baby--breastfeeding or changing diapers--is non-optional. But when it comes to hanging out with the baby, you can either fold laundry while he plays next to you OR you can get down and play with him.

I think this is probably my first lesson in the elusive "balance" that mothers try to achieve. At the end of the day, I'm usually either bummed that I didn't get enough done or I'm bummed that the baby spent too much time strapped in a stroller or his bouncy chair. One of my solutions is to put him in the mei tai or the Boba Wrap while I get a few things done.

So I'm glad that I'm a Slacker Mom, because I'll let the dishes pile up or skip washing my hair if it means I get to hang out with my little guy. Just like in golf, even if it wasn't a good day on the scorecard, you can still have a great day playing the game.

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