To the outside world, I probably appear to be a decent person. I’m a mom of three kids under the age of 7, I have a wonderful but challenging husband (who at times can be considered a 4th kid), and I have a full-time job. And guess what? I cracked the code and figured out how to achieve the coveted work-life balance.
Only I haven’t.
When you ask others to describe me, they may say Nikki Flores is…
- cool mom
Of course, that’s how I present myself to the outside world – because truthfully, those are characteristics of a person I would like to be. But what happens in the home and in front of true friends and close family is a completely different story. Who is the real Nikki Flores? Hell, if I know! But let’s give this a shot, shall we?
Can we start with the last one first? I love, love, love hearing people (usually younger than me) say that I’m a “cool mom”. I feel a sense of pride in knowing that the 20-somethings in my life (without any kids) don’t see me as just a mom, but a cool one.
Truth is, there is no such thing as a “cool mom” or a “non-cool mom” for that matter. There are just “moms”, and they come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, genders, and coolness levels. Moms like me are completely dedicated to our kiddos. And at the same time, we’re all struggling to maintain our own identities away from them. So yeah, I do yoga, I still hit the clubs sometimes and pretend that I’m younger than I am (because let’s be honest, those clubs are dark, and…beer goggles). I also try to make it to as many work happy hours as I can, and hit the slopes every now and then. And yes, I also have my non-makeup, crazy hair, sweatpants-wearing days when everything seems to go wrong. And that’s OK too.
It took me awhile to realize that. For so long, I thought that I was the only mom who had to deal with the shit I deal with daily, and I don’t just mean the diapers associated with a 13-month old. But I digress. My point is, it takes a lot of hard work to make things look easy (and cool) when they’re not. And to be frank, it’s exhausting!
Looking over some of the other attributes that supposedly describe me, I realize that yes, I am organized and detail-oriented, but that’s not really by choice. Those are pure survival skills – as in, I would literally fail at adulting without them.
From remembering which pants the 5-year-old refuses to wear to knowing what my 6-year-old’s homework is for that night to picking up after a baby who leaves a trail of toys, papers, socks, (and sometimes tampons) all over my house, there is no option to not be detail-oriented and organized.
People, these are real-life examples of what happens daily in my house:
- Having bins of toys conveniently stashed all throughout the house because if I step on another block, Barbie, Lego, crayons, (insert any other toy here), I would literally lose it.
- Trying to put all artwork as high up as possible so the baby (or in many cases, the dogs who are not well-trained at all) won’t get a hold of it and ruin it. Seriously, folks…if the artwork is altered in any way shape or form, it’s the god damn end of the world to a 5 and 6-year-old.
- Building off that, trying to sort through the bajillion masterpieces my children bring into the house – What do I keep? What do I toss? Let’s be honest, it’s impossible to save them all. And by the time they’re in high-school, they’ll resent me for keeping them anyway, for fear that it may leak out and embarrass them. But heaven forbid if they find them in the recycle bin, all hell breaks loose.
- And if I had a penny for how many times my girls looked up and said “I don’t like that,” when I put a plate of dinner on the table, I could most definitely quit my day job and travel the world.
Smart – That’s an interesting attribute. I’m sure you’ve heard of being either “street smart” or “book smart”. Guess what, folks? I’m neither. I’m more of a “trial and error smart” person. As in, I try something, hope that it works, and when it doesn’t, I try to remember what I did so I don’t repeat the same mistake. Yes, there are those rare instances when I do get something right on the first try – like walking upstairs – but hey, even I get tripped up on those from time-to-time. (Horrible pun intended.)
Kind – I realize that I’m skipping around the list a bit, but hear me out. I do think I’m a kind person – well, at least sometimes. I am very passionate about helping kids. In fact, my hubby and I used to be foster parents, and we even adopted our oldest. I also feel good whenever I can help a friend. If you need a shoulder to cry on, mine is always covered in tears (and sometimes snot – from the baby). But seriously though, I try to make myself open and available to helping where I can. Unless we’re talking about my kids – for some reason when the baby’s hanging on my leg, the 5-year-old is begging to watch a movie, and the 6-year-old is repeatedly jumping off the couch, my kindness disappears.
Calm – Oh wow…Excuse me while I laugh my ass off. I cannot comprehend how anyone who really knows me would ever say that I’m calm. Oh sure, when I’m surrounded by other rational adults, I can be as calm as a cucumber. Like when I’m at work or when I’m out with friends. Oh yes, I’m carefree then. But when my kids are around, I am anything but calm. Yelling, screaming, and temper tantrums are a frequent occurrence at home. And of course, the hubby and kids have their own antics. Not to mention, my emotions are more intense that the average person (I’ll delve into that in another post soon.)
Seriously though, think about your day job. What if you could never leave? As in you’re on call 24/7/365 without any PTO or sick days. Oh, and you can see all your failures immediately, but your wins are few and far between. Oftentimes, you won’t even know if you’ve done a good job until years have gone by and your “co-workers” can finally communicate effectively with you. You’re constantly cooking for, cleaning up after, and washing clothes for everyone else in the company. You even act as a personal chauffeur, carting everyone around. (God help me, if I don’t provide beverages and things to nosh on during those rides.)
Would you stay with that company?
Welcome to mommy-hood, folks.