There are many rules to parenthood; don't put the diaper on backwards, don't drive away with the car seat on the hood, don't swear like a sailor on leave in front of little Sabine, you know, the basic's.
But there are (hushed tone) some horrific, almost unspeakable rules that you must NEVER break, not even once.
I dare say these must follow rules make you literally responsible for not just yourself, not just your kids, but all other parents as well. I know, you already have one foot out the door with your bag packed yelling; “no way did I sign up for this action movie with Nicholas Cage! I DID NOT SIGN UP FOR THE WHOLE WORLD TILTING OFF IT'S AXIS PRESSURE!!”
Sure you did. Right at the moment you got knocked up. Sorry. (really sorry, not just I bumped into you on the train brushing your purse off your shoulder sorry, but really, really sorry.) Hey, I was duped too! Shall we continue?
Never, I mean never, wear socks with holes in them to your kids' Music Together class.
You will look down at your feet (because even in freakin' February you have to freeze your arse off by taking your shoes off at the door- (for WHAT?! So little Sebastian doesn't get dirt on him?) You will be sitting uncomfortably in class with your stretched out crap maternity bra and your muffin top squished outward to look more like a bundt cake top and all this won't matter a bit because 1) you are freezing 2) topping off this hot mess you are now depressed and aredepressing everyone else. Why you ask? Because Mom, your holy socks are a reminder. An urgent reminder and extension of your life not being your own any longer. Of you only combing one side of your hair because that's how much time you had to get ready. Of you not having a blessed moment to fully empty your bladder. You, in short order, will have spread this realization like a contagion, leaving you hovering on the brink of tears. All this because right at that moment of realization you loving gaze at little Sabine and Sebastian and they look bloody fantastic! Their socks are plushy and sans holes. They have the cutest stinkin' outfit on and every hair is coiffed like a hair team came in. You on the other hand, you have toothpaste down the front of your shirt and holes on your feet. Yes, your children are a miracle and your greatest happiness. This we know. But my long winded point is this Mama: you have to put the oxygen mask on first before your child's. Get yourself a good pair of socks for class, sweet girl. It's a world spinning on it's axis correctly kinda thing.
Screw that laundry! Throw it in a big pile in your backyard and set it on fire!
OK, maybe a tad extreme with the last part but heed my warning!
Nothing will ever suck the life out of you like a vampire on crack than laundry. Nothing. (Don't argue with me, it's true!) There are two very important points about this rule: 1) Don't forget that you put a load of whites in the washer lastMonday. 2) DO NOT PUT THE LAUNDRY TO FOLD ON YOUR BED. Hey Sister, I know what your motivation is: “if I put this here I will HAVE to fold it before I go to bed!! Hahaha! I am so smart!” Um, no, no you are not. For the simple fact that it is now 11:45 pm and you are swearing (too loud I might add) about how it is ON THE BED (“what lunatic would put this here?!”) You need to sleep. Like, now.
Do not say yes to anything more than your day to day responsibilities (anything outside of keeping the kids alive and work deadlines gets a big NO!)
I DON'T CARE that everyone else seems to wake up with birds sweetly chirping around them as they change diapers-make breakfast-pack lunches-write a proposal-make 100 cupcakes-take out the dead ant farm-run their company andthen head up the bake sale, school raffle, teacher appreciation and school car wash so Sabine can get new pom poms for cheer leading! YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE THIS PERSON! (It needs to be said that I am very, very happy/grateful these people exist for my own selfish mental health and well being) but to everything a season right? It ain't your season. Survive the day and go get that laundry out of the washer. Everything else is gravy.
Lastly, Rule #4 which is a “do” rather than a don't. Sorry for the false advertising, but I was drinking to recover from not following rules #1,2,3. Oopsy!
Please, dear ones, take a shower. Do not be like me who went days without one because there just wasn't any time. I know you are weary, I know you want to shank someone, but please, do this for yourself. Just like your own Mom said to you, you will feel better afterward. You don't need to recreate the PBS 1900 house show with their weekly baths (I cried with empathy during that part) just get in and lock the door. But don't take your Big Gulp wine glass in there with you- that's an accident waiting to happen, trust me. Do shower. If not for people starting to talk, but because you will have to do more laundry; like sheets because you are leaving a grime impression on them.
So. Many. Rules. So much life-filling wonderful craziness. Try and remember every six months or so or as a daily mantra; Oxygen masks on first, sweet Mama's.
Andrea Ardito is a freelance writer from Portsmouth NH who with her three kids
did does all the things she is telling you not to do. But hey, if you can't be a good example you can always be a horrible warning, right?