A few months after my son was born, my life was a big mess. Things weren’t getting cleaned, I wasn’t getting dressed, and nothing–with the exception of my son–was getting taken care of. If being a mom wasn’t exhausting enough, I also felt crushed the massive weight of disappointment.
Luckily, through the generous nudges of some amazing friends, I slowly began putting the pieces back together and forgiving myself for not having enough time, energy or interest to get everything done. How could I? Over the course of three days I went from good wife and employee, to superhuman mother, good wife and employee, not to mention sleepless zombie. Of course I wasn’t hacking it! It was too much.
That didn’t mean I couldn’t fake it though, right? When they say fake it till you make it they're most certainly talking about buying cookies and disguising them as homemade or only cleaning the bathrooms that the public can see, right?
So that’s where I started. Baby wipes became my go-to cleaning agent for quick wipe downs before guests came, and I quickly replaced my side tables with leather storage benches, perfect for shoving everything into when we had people over for dinner. And I mean EVERYTHING. Toys, mail, husband’s camera gear, half-eaten apple. GONE!
Homemade is nice, but so is sleep and having time to shower.
Food wasn’t really an issue, as my husband is a chef, but I learned from other moms that even a takeout pizza tastes delicious when served with wine, especially when shared with your girlfriends. Homemade is nice, but so is sleep and having time to shower.
While all of these things bought me time, they couldn’t compensate for the fact that there were some things I just didn’t give a damn about—like matching clothes. That’s why I purchased some cute night-to-day jammies (think, cute sweats with a pretty tee) and some adorable sneakers and heels. Now, when I dropped my kid a preschool or the mailman came, they no longer suspected I was a drunk clown-school dropout hobo, but rather a supermom who had just come back from the gym. And the added bonus was: when I did have energy for the gym, I was already dressed for it!
Adding some easy accessories further improved the ruse. All I had to do in the morning was remember to put on some earrings and one of my many colorful scarves (a.k.a., future stain hiders) and I was good to go! Gravity towards my old, worn clothes was strong, so eventually I tossed everything that was shlubby. It broke my heart, as these sweats had been with me in my darkest hours, but eventually I convinced myself they needed to move out of the shadow of my new wardrobe and into the trash.
I also created little make-up kits (lip stain for lips and cheeks, concealer, mascara, eyelash curler and brow pencil) that I kept everywhere. One in each bathroom, one in the kitchen, and one in each car, so I could instantly de-zombify, no matter where my day or my toddler had taken me.
As my new life of kinda taking care of myself became routine, I found it easier and easier to get on top of things without falling off of the other side. I felt balanced. Even though my new routine wasn’t close to the levels of perfection I had demanded of myself pre-kid, it was perfect for our new life. It allowed me to keep my head up without letting down my kid, my friends or myself.
Slowly, as he started sleeping through the night and I got used to my new routine, the energy to do things well came back. I mopped with an actual mop, dusted behind the plants, cleaned all the bathrooms, and even signed up for Pilates and made it to most of the classes… even if it was in my fabulous jammies.
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