As I navigate life as a new mom, that age-old saying “nature vs. nurture” is really starting to resonate with me… but maybe not the way it’s intended to.
I woke up to my 14 month old’s feet tap dancing against my ribs – It was the third morning in a row that I awoke to Reggie’s little body creating the world’s most literal and figurative birth control between my husband and me. He smiled, said, “Ma Ma,” and proceeded to climb on me and say, “Moooo” – the sound he chants when he rides his bounce cow in the playroom. I took it like a bullet and was reminded that my workout DVDs in the basement were still in the plastic wrapping.
Fast forward through the morning sprint of packing lunches, getting Reggie dressed, distracting him with a bowl of puffs, and spraying the heck out of my day three post-shampoo hair with a dry shampoo.
It’s my husband, Matt’s, day to drop Reggie off at daycare, so I actually got to work before 9 am and faced down a meeting schedule so dense my Outlook calendar looked like a game of Tetris.
Seven meetings, a mentor lunch, and two “accidental” cookies later, I’m fighting rush hour to make it to pick-up before 5:30. Naturally, Reggie is the last kid there and I get the head tilt and pity smile from the teacher while I rapidly zip his coat to avoid the $10 late fee.
At this point, I’m tired. But I’m staring down the barrel of making dinner, packing lunch, an extra hour of work, and nursing my 14-month-old before bed. And on top of that, they painted at school today, so Reggie had a hand-sized streak of red paint across his fair hair. If it wouldn’t be completely obvious to other parents that I neglected to bathe my child, I would have let it ride.
Which tees up the last part of my day beautifully. Despite all the challenges and obstacles I faced in the course of a totally normal day, I found myself in the glorious Mom zone, feeling delighted to spend time with Reggie and enjoying a mini dance party with my little guy while I cooked broccoli and mac and cheese (ok, so I phoned dinner in a bit…).
When he was sufficiently full, I plunked him in the tub and watched his elation as he said “bubbles” and proceeded to splash around.
This is when I got cocky, sending SnapChats to all my friends, urging them to appreciate the adorable sight before me, and feeling like I mastered this whole working mom thing. I am Queen Mother, and no job or deadline or task is too much for me! I can accomplish everything seamlessly. I was already imagining my little glass of liquid reward after Reggie’s bedtime.
Then I saw bubbles of a different kind, and not far behind them, several little brown nuggets bobbed to the surface.
I yanked Reggie from the tub and attempted to towel him off, but you can imagine the tantrum that ensued. I desperately attempted to keep my hands on my slippery toddler while he screamed, “Bubbles!” and tried frantically to lift himself back into the contaminated water.