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January 25, 2011 11:08 am

10 Perpetual States of a Monotonous Mom

avatar by Mimi Hecht

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How do we mothers escape from the cycles that nag us?

Does being a mom ever make you feel like a rat on a wheel? Do all the thoughts and motions that make up your day feel never-ending? Whether it’s constant feedings, saying “no” ad infinitum or the feeling that your hand is glued to the pot handle; if you’re a mom, you get what I’m saying. And you know that only other mothers can truly understand your incessant state of existence. Your single friends don’t get it. Your husband doesn’t get it. Heck, the truth is, even you don’t get it. You’re just, well, in it.

How do we mothers escape from the cycles that nag us? The truth is, unless we want complete mayhem, we must entirely succumb. We can’t exactly just stop changing diapers. And it would be strange if we didn’t perpetually pray. And so the saga continues. However, all hope is not lost. Here is my advice, my three “Essential E’s” for the monotonous mom:

Eliminate: Catch a few breathes by cutting off the non-essential perpetual thoughts and habits that are tying up your brain. Do you really have to clean your stroller everyday? If it makes you complain, just let it get a little messy, only for a little while. If that towel keeps falling from that brilliantly placed hook, just find another (less brilliant) place to put it. Is your mind consumed with fear of your child’s future? Resolve to deal with the present (um, he’s climbing on the furniture). And by the way, you don’t have to feel guilty about ceasing to drive yourself more crazy than you undoubtedly and irreversibly are.

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Energize: Add new style and flavor to your chores, and even your mindset. Do the things you’re always doing, but do it differently.  Buy yourself a new laundry basket or get inspired by organizing the laundry room. If you’ve always got friends and family on your mind, find a new way to tackle and conquer keeping in touch. If you only try, you’ll discover hidden pleasures in even your most rote and habitual days.

Escape: Every mom needs to take a break, especially when you’re feeling the heaviness of your daily routine. It’s time to escape. Call a friend. Grab the keys. Take off. Have fun. Pretend you’re not coming back. And of course, when you do, you’ll feel a whole lot better about jumping right back into your perpetual life.

Alas, it goes without saying that a perpetual state must-have for moms is comedy (squeezed in between the perpetual crying, of course). For humor’s sake, here are my current Ten Perpetual States.

1. Washing sippy cups. Sippy cups are a relatively new chapter for us, but I’m already waiting for them to invent self-cleaning ones (that first locate them, of course.) Or maybe even a version that keeps the juice so fresh that you can feel totally safe letting your child sip from it for eternity. I believe this could really save the planet.

2. Cutting nails. Especially now that he has this bad habit of scratching, I can’t tolerate one hour with even one of my son’s nails slightly beyond its bed. So I have basically turned into a manicurist. Minus the fun parts. Or the tip.

3. Cleaning the high-chair. At what point do you just give up and start believing that the glued-on cheerios are actually a part of the high-chair’s style? I’m very close to that point. Oh, you like my high-chair? Thanks! It’s a new line from the makers of Coco Puffs!

4. Bending over. I should really start living permanently on all fours. That way I wouldn’t have to grunt every single time – about 1,000,629 times a day! – that I have to bend over to pick up a chocking hazard, spilled food or a rolling ball.

5. Looking for my phone. If you call me and I don’t answer, it could only be two reasons: my phone is on silent from the night and I don’t hear it, or my son is currently using it to handle his very important business calls. With both options, my phone ends up stranded somewhere, impossible to locate. Finding it combines nicely with Perpetual State #4, as I roam my floors, squinting as I search for the blinking rescue lights of my now-dying Blackberry.

6. Praying. I admit to not even opening a prayer book on most days. And yet, motherhood has inspired constant prayer from my lips. I pray that he sleeps. I pray that he eats. I even pray while holding down my son, about to undo the velcro from a smelly diaper: “G-d, please, let this be a small one.” But of course, I pray so much that he eats so….it’s never a small one.

7. Wiping a face. My face, his face; we’re both a mess, always. Mucus. Crumbs. Tears. I’m not saying what’s on who. Sometimes it’s my own tears on my own face. Sometimes it’s his mucus on my face. It’s always crumbs on both our faces. But mostly, it’s something completely unidentifiable on his face. And it’s not coming off.

8. Needing to catch up with a friend. I constantly have a friend on my mind that I am dire need of a coffee date with (I am also in dire need of that coffee). Most of these friends are busy mothers themselves, so, naturally, it’s very easy to push off getting together. When I do get to meet up with a friend and cross her off my list (for a short while, at least), I get a text from someone else I forgot about: “We MUST get together, it’s been AGES!” Pathetically, I’m thinking, “I just saw you last month. Trust me, dear, that is not ages. Now get in line.”

9. Missing my mother and sister. If you’re one of those lucky women who live near the supportive feminine figures in your family, well, I hate you. Okay, wait, that’s harsh. I’m just ridiculously jealous. Thankfully, my mother and sister visit a lot, but it’s never enough. Every single day, I live with the imagination of how amazing it would be to be with each other day in and day out. Meanwhile, G-d bless video chat.

10. Needing clothing. When will I ever be able to say “I have the clothes I need”? I was dating my husband over two years ago the last time I felt that way. Now, I never seem to have anything to wear. My body is changing. The season is changing. My style is changing. My wardrobe, alas, is lagging behind. And for the record, yes, I actually used to dress fashionably! Before all these constant things took over my truly perpetual, but completely blessed life.

Read more from Mimi and other women and moms at www.LadyMama.org

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  • Sarah M.

    Very entertaining piece. I really like this new site.

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