9 Ways To Embrace The Fog Of Early Parenthood

There is a road I drive down most every day. It is lined with the most beautiful trees.

I’ve lived in my town for four years, and this is the first time I’ve ever noticed these beautiful reddish-orange blossom trees. At least that’s what I call them. I have no idea the actual name.
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My baby turns three tomorrow, and I am currently feeling all the feels about this milestone. I am acting out in unexplainable ways. I keep buying things (then returning them when I realize money isn’t magically growing on trees). I decided to start selling jewelry. I am working out and eating healthy.

And I am having an existential crisis. Noticing these beautiful trees for the first time ever has made me question what else I’ve missed out on in the last decade.

I am not sure if you’ve noticed, but being a mom is exhausting.

My brain is simultaneously running a million miles a minute while also unable to form a complete thought. I can sing along to almost every song released in the 90s, but if you ask me my children’s birthdays, I may or may not get them right. There’s just so many of them.

I’ve been in the baby and toddler phase for so long that Mommy Brain has become my new normal. I function on like twelve brain cells.

(This is where I take a moment of silence for working moms and bow down to you who can raise kids while working jobs that require you to get dressed in actual clothes.)

The weird thing about my baby turning three is that I am actually starting to come out of the fog. My brain is remembering it can do actual things. I am noticing beautiful trees for the first time in a long time.

At first, I kind of felt guilty for all that I’ve forgotten to pay attention to in the last ten years. Not just important things like birthdays and fun milestones…but also the small things like the flowers blooming in Spring, rainbows after the rain, sweet baby giggles, cute toddler voices.

My desire is to be a fully present mom, but as I am emerging from this fog, I am realizing that it’s just really hard when you’re juggling babies and managing toddlers.

Which is how my Embrace The Fog manifesto came to be. (You can write manifestos when your brain starts to replenish itself.)

If you’re a mom of a baby or a toddler, I hereby give you permission to embrace the fog in these–and any other necessary–ways:

1. Drink that extra cup of coffee. Deciding to “cut back on caffeine” will send a message to the universe that will result in a teething baby and a puking toddler. This is just a working theory, but I wouldn’t risk it. If you are going to “cut back” on anything, may I suggest the fear mongering posts on Facebook?? (Someone has to say it.)

2. You don’t have to remember anyone’s birthday (or any other important dates). Not even your own mom’s. She understands that you can barely remember the exact date you BIRTHED A CHILD.

3. Don’t feel guilty for missing the sunset or pretty flowers or the first snowfall. The fog won’t last forever. The beauty of nature will still be there when you’ve had a decent night’s sleep.

4. Rock your baby a little longer. All children eventually learn to sleep on their own. Rock that sweet baby just a few more minutes tonight. (Do this for me. I have no more babies to rock and am having FEELINGS about this.)

5. No one will notice if you’re a few weeks days late with your baby’s monthly pictures. Once again, I can barely remember my own kids’ birthdays. I definitely don’t know the day (or even the month) that your sweet baby was born. (Perhaps skip these pictures all together. I religiously took them with all of my kids. Ask me how important they are to anyone.)

6. Goldfish totally count as a meal. As does candy. For you and your child.

7. Social media is full of moms who lost their baby weight IN JUST THREE WEEKS and YOU CAN TOO. Unless health and fitness are your passions, politely ignore these posts. Our culture’s obsession with returning to a pre-baby body is (how do I put this nicely?) odd. You literally grew and birthed a human. Of course things will shift and sag and look…well, like you grew a human. Just buy some bigger clothes and get back to enjoying your little human.

8. I know babies don’t keep. But sometimes dust won’t go to sleep. Don’t feel guilty for taking time to stay sane. Ignoring my kids to clean my house is necessary for my sanity some days. Whatever it is that makes you feel normal, do it. Even if it means that your toddler is starting to believe Daniel Tiger is his real life BFF.

9. I know, I know…TV rots kids’ brains, but I am a glass half full type of gal. So I prefer to ignore that and pay attention to its better qualities…such as how fabulous of a babysitter it is. I mean, all of my kids learned their alphabet from Leap Frog, so I pretty much consider TV their private tutor.

The important thing to remember is that this fog doesn’t last forever. It’s only a short season of life. I feel like the fog is lifting as quickly as it settled. (Time moves very fast in Fogville. But also excruciatingly slow. It’s a weird place.)

The cute little Pinterest projects…the fancy schmancy dinner parties…dressing your children in clothes that match…wearing jeans that fit right…owning make-up that isn’t seven years old…displaying breakable home decor…there will be a time for all of it.

Until then, Embrace The Fog. Use it as an excuse for literally everything you forget or don’t want to do. And free yourself from the burden of feeling like you have to function like you did before having children. {Says the girl who used to clean her house everyday and now sticks to the floor.}

If you start to feel guilty for the things you think you should be doing, refer back to my manifesto.

It literally took all of my newfound brain cells to write it.

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