I was covered in poop the other day. I mean literally covered. I had one twin pinned down with my left hand while I furtively tried to keep her hands out of the mess that was her tush while her identical twin sister cried as she tried to get hands involved in the action. All this while my 5 year old sat on the couch, eating fruit snacks, and watching Sophia the First. I begged Layla (the 5 year old) to either hand me more wipes (why do we store those across the room?) or to come entertain Twinkle #2, Stella, while I cleaned up Twinkle #1, Cassidy. She looked at me and said, “Mom, can’t you see I’m busy?”
I almost cried.
Instead, I finished cleaning the never-ending poop, got everyone settled with a sippy cup and some Cherrios and walked into the kitchen to unload the dishwasher.
I got to thinking…why didn’t anyone ever tell me how hard this was? On Facebook and Instagram, almost no one shares pictures of the bad days. No one (truth be told, not even me most of the time). Why is that? Is this why we all feel so guilty when we can’t get the perfect Christmas card picture or why we cry in the car for being a “Bad Mom” on our way to work? I see my new-mom friends struggling with these unrealistic expectations. I remember being a new mom myself and worried more about how other people would judge me when my then newborn would lose it in public than about why my then newborn was losing it in the first place.
Maybe it’s the fact that now I’m a second time mom (and third time mom all at once!). Maybe it’s the fact that multiples are a whole different beast sometimes. But my whole idea of motherhood has changed. There are times when I’m just as guilty as the next mom but I’ve started to post the real pictures (I do omit the poop for everyone’s sake). I tell anyone who asks that no, my twins still don’t sleep through the night, in the hopes that we can move past projecting perfection and toward being real, being supportive, and being understanding of the woman in Wegmans with the screaming toddler. Instead of judging or ignoring her, I’ll let her cut in front of me and toss a pint of Ben and Jerry’s in her cart because she needs it more than I do.
And maybe the next time my twins are screaming and my 5 year old is haphazardly tossing snacks into my cart at Target, someone will hand me a latte with a knowing pat on the arm and a smile.