Sonographer: Wow, are you freaking out that you are having twins when you already have two kids?
Me: No, I actually think the timing is perfect.
Sonographer: Really? Most people would want twins first.
Me: I think it’s actually beneficial to have done this before because my expectations are so much lower. Really, if we all just survive every day and people are fed and moderately clean, I’m basically going to consider myself mother of the year.
Sonographer: You’re funny. You should write a book for parents who like funny things.
Here’s the thing: I was so not trying to be funny.
I remember the ideal realm that surrounds the first pregnancy, the first child. I was going to:
- Have a detailed scrapbook of her every accomplishment;
- Clean my house while she took peaceful naps so she would wake up and see that I’m not just a perfect mother but also an amazing homemaker;
- Take her on every possible play date where we would always have a wonderful time because nap schedules, teething, and just being a baby and therefore prone to wailing would never interrupt our fun;
- Throw some of these play dates where baby-friendly finger food would be paired with fun learning activities, and no one would ever want to leave my house because it would be the haven of baby peace, love, and happiness;
For all the soon-to-be first time parents or people who look at this list and say, “What’s unrealistic about that?” let me paint you a more accurate picture of what life in our household looks like:
- I wrote down the day Wren was born in her baby book;
- Sammy does not have a baby book, but I’m still vaguely sure I remember when he was born;
- Cleaning my house is enjoyable because I do it so infrequently it feels like a vacation from wiping butts, preparing food (not in that order), finding lost toys no one wants until they are lost, etc.;
- We play date, but it’s usually however many children are involved running, eating, or running and eating while the mommies attempt to have a conversation. Teething, nap schedules, and general discontent sometimes mess up the flow, but there are times I go on play dates just to see another adult, assuming it’s okay for kids to throw a hissy fit wherever they land;
- We have play dates at our house for people who:
- Will eat the GF, dairy free food we have;
- Don’t have high expectations for cleanliness and order;
- Can make a path with their foot in order to clear enough room to make it from our door to the living room.
Need further evidence of lowered standards? When we discovered we had been eating from a jar of peanut butter that had a UPC code matching that of jars of peanut butter recalled for Salmonella, D’s first question was, “So, should we stop eating it? I mean, we’ve all already eaten out of this jar, and everyone seems okay.”
Me: Dang, D, we are mellow, but this is freaking Salmonella! Stop eating the peanut butter!
So, yeah, I really do feel relieved that now that two babies will be joining a toddler and a preschooler, I am much more aware of and okay with my limitations. And I am totally serious about high fiving every person I see if, when left alone with four children ages four and under, we simply survive. Even if we’re all covered in food, poo, and spit up. Everyone breathing? Great! We’re calling this the best day ever!
Maybe my new perspective does qualify me to write a book. I’ll do that during my spare time this fall! The title will be:
Becoming an Underachieving Parent: How Aiming Low, Really Low, Will Make You Feel Like a Winner!
Yeah, that will totally sell.