It’s amazing how the definition of “normal” can change overnight when you become a parent. I’m not sure how or when it happens because I’ve basically just gone through the motions of life in a sleep-deprived, puffy-eyed fog, but at some point, with a 3 year old, 2 year old and 9 week old, the following became normal:
1. Carrying a diaper bag instead of a purse
I can’t really say for sure when this became normal. Probably when I randomly and subconsciously decided that when planning my escape, I would rather make 7 trips out to the car instead of 8. As someone who was once known to have a purse and shoe fetish, this lack of purse is unsettling. Especially after catching my myself bringing a diaper bag instead of a purse to the grocery store last week…without any kids in tow.
And as for that shoe fetish…
2. Comfort/ease of footwear trumps style.
Gross, I know. By the time I shove 4 tiny, flexed and unwilling feet into tiny shoes and do them up, I need something that I can slip on quick so we can get out the door before someone takes all of their clothes off “just because.” Long live the flip flop! Also, I tend to wear straight-up running shoes far more often than pumps because I tend to frequent playgrounds more often than martini bars and I just never know when I might have to chase a toddler across a busy parking lot/grocery store/library. Preparation is key.
3. Cooking on the one tiny burner at the back of the stove.
It’s the only one that can’t be reached or bumped into when a stray toddler wanders into the kitchen to beg for food that isn’t cooked yet, announce an upcoming bowel movement or ask why people have eyelashes. (All true stories from last night’s dinner preparation.)
4. Buying milk everytime we leave the house.
At some point, Hubby and I stopped asking if we needed milk when we were at a store and just started assuming that we did. Whether at the grocery store, pharmacy, gas station, just bring milk home. If we don’t need it right now, we will need it by tomorrow. I rarely even check the expiry dates anymore. Even if it expires tomorrow, we will drink it by then.
5. Planning shopping excursions around stores that sell milk.
There is never enough time in the day or milk in the fridge nor can I be bothered to unload/load kids more than I have to so I tend to shop where I can accomplish multiple tasks in one place. You won’t find me filling a prescription at a pharmacy that doesn’t sell milk or buying my daughter new dance tights where I can’t pick up more bananas at the same time. Getting multiple kids in and out of car seats is a time-consuming pain in the butt. Multi-tasking is key. There’s an intelligent reason for moms owning a crap ton of Joe Fresh clothing! Because they can buy leggings in the aisle next to the diapers. Smart thinking, Loblaws!
6. Selecting a grocery store by the shopping cart they offer.
For whatever reason, very few stores have grocery carts that can accommodate more than one child in the seat of the cart. Surely I can’t be the only one carrying 100 lbs (worth of kids) in my shopping cart before even entering the store! Sure, you can put a kid in the main basket of the cart but then you have limited space for food and you also run the risk of buying a loaf of bread that has been sat on and a package of cheese with a bite through the plastic. (Guilty as charged…on both counts.)
7. Bypassing the “Parents with young children” designated parking spaces for the space right next to the cart corral.
I immediately look for the cart corral in every parking lot and will wait to park next to it if necessary. This trick makes it easy to load/unload kids into and out of the cart without having to drag them across the parking lot or leave them in the car for more than 2 seconds. Bonus points if it happens at Costco! I have also been known to lurk in the car waiting for someone to return a cart to the corral if it is cartless when we arrive.
8. Depending on baby wipes for absolutely everything.
Diaper changes aside, I’m not sure how I ever survived without these ‘bad boys’ in my life. Sticky hands, dirty faces, spills in the car, wiping down shopping cart handle, removing makeup, cleaning pen ink off of leather couch, blotting lipstick, these magical wipes do it all.
9. Having basically any activity interrupted by having to wipe a bum/admire the latest bowel movement.
Folding a load of laundry, making a phone call, answering the door, cooking dinner… With 2 toddlers toilet-training, someone is always in need of a little help in the bathroom. It has become so normal that I can stop mid-bite at the dinner table to check out and celebrate a big poop, wipe a little bum and then return to my plate unphased to finish eating.
10. Folding the same load of laundry a bazillion times.
Whether toddlers want to “help” or toddlers want to body slam that enticing stack of folded towels, that basket of laundry WILL take 10x longer to fold and put away than it should. I recently asked Hubby to lifeguard the littles while I folded laundry in our bedroom alone. Even though I considered it to be “mommy time” which in a way, is kind of sad, it was AWESOME.
11. Selecting home decor items by their durability.
We recently replaced our coffee table. Our biggest factor in selecting a new one was how well it could stand up to being stood on, jumped off of and whether or not it would scratch if it was used as a racetrack for toy cars, Jurassic park for dinosaurs, operating table for Elmo (Sorry, Elmo!), etc. We don’t want our kids jumping off of the coffee table… But I would like to know that we won’t have paramedics at our door if (and when) they do. Any decorative vases, frames, bowls need to be able to be thrown, dropped, sat on without breaking or making a huge mess. Hello stainless steel plant pots with fake plants!
12. Planning Costco runs like a vacation/dinner out.
Who doesn’t love a meal they don’t have to cook? Who likes to travel during rush hour? Costco runs are essential. Planning said trips at times where minimal indoor road rage/ rush hour traffic will occur is crucial. Planning these trips to coincide with the serving of food samples in every aisle means Mama doesn’t have to make lunch today! SCORE!
13. COLD coffee.
Not hot. Not iced. Just cold. Cold and abandoned. How do I like my coffee? Bold, dark roast with a splash of milk for colour. How do I drink my coffee? Hours old and neglected. BUT it still counts and is still glorious. Side note: I recently said “Get your foot out of my coffee!” for the first time. Don’t worry. It wasn’t even close to being hot.
14. Shower vacations
Hold on to your 5 star, all-inclusive luxury vacation and give me a hot, steamy 10 minute, uninterrupted shower that I can call my own! A woman with a hot shower CAN change the world! (Or at least scrub washable paint out of the duvet with minimal cursing.) Bonus points if the bathroom door is closed and locked with no tiny people inside of it. Double points if there aren’t any toddlers screaming “MOMMY!!! Open the door!” and using what sounds like a sledgehammer/crowbar to pound the door down.
Tip for Hubby and Children: Asking where ‘whatever it is that you are looking for’ can and must wait until after said 10 minutes of personal hygiene bliss.
I’m sure that there are many, many more but they have become so normal that I don’t even recognize them as being the “new normal”, so I’m going to end it on this awful, stale and neglected coffee-stained note.
In the meantime, if you can remember your mom rocking “mom hair” and “mom jeans,” and ever wondered WHY, know that she was too damn busy trying to figure out how toothpaste got on the fireplace to do her hair. And too busy watching Sesame Street, cutting crusts off of your sandwiches and singing nursery rhymes to even know that her jeans weren’t in style.
If you enjoyed this post, please humour me and help a mama out by subscribing to my blog! Much love, strong coffee and hot showers! Xo