As I start many a phrase, “I love my kids and would do anything for them…BUUUUUUTTTTT” Mommy needs some space. For reals. You guys are coming on too strong. I adore being loved on by my kids but I would be lying if I said by 5pm I didn’t start to feel like I’m crawling out of my skin a little bit after being used as a human jungle gym, dairy farm, and professional belly rubber.
I’m not being egotistical when I say this, but I am the center of their universe. I’m sure a lot of it is because I control the food and iPad, but AJR, Olivia, and Ruby (our dog) have this need to be up in my shit ALL.THE.TIME. This is both make-you-melt-sweet as well as overwhelmingly suffocating. How I look at it really just depends on the day.
While I was working and it was just AJR, this wasn’t even a thing for me. Plenty of mom to go around here so bring on the lack of personal space! But then I decided to stay home, add another kid to the mix, and the mom pie got sliced a little thinner and everyone turned into a hard core stage 5 clinger.
You’re going to miss it when they won’t kiss or hug you or want to be around you so you should really stop complaining blah blah blah. Shut up voice in my head that I know is right. I currently love and know one day will ache for the open-mouth slobbery baby kisses, the chokehold hugs that AJR doles out as his sign of affection, and even the feel of a cold snout nuzzling its way into my hand to be pet. But after 14 hours of poking, prodding, clinging, climbing, and holding all I frigging want is to lay like a starfish in the middle of my bed, adorned with clean sheets that I didn’t have to wash, with no one around me for at least one hour to recharge my battery.
Shit got really real one particular day when Olivia was around 2-months old and nursing roughly 85 times per day. AJR was adjusting to his demotion on the totem pole and would give me looks that were a cross between heartbreak and boiling rage as he nestled so close to me on the couch while I nursed Olivia that there wasn’t even room for the Holy Spirit. Oh, and Ruby, fighting for scraps of my attention, would lay directly on my lap and on the baby in an attempt to assert her dominance. Between the nursing, the whining, and the tick tick tick of Ruby’s claws as she haunted my every step, I was hanging by a thread that day. My well-meaning husband came home and asked me if I needed a hug and I shrieked in a hysterical Kristen Wiig-like caricature voice “NO! DON’T TOUCH ME! I DON’T WANT TO BE TOUCHED!” A bit dramatic but I couldn’t handle anymore contact that day and much preferred him standing there, watching me cry and complain as he awkwardly wondered what to do with his hands.
And the not being able to go to the bathroom alone? I thought it was one of those exaggerations about motherhood that made for a funny meme but it is very very real. Olivia can be deterred by baby gates but AJR will not be denied. The first time he followed me upstairs I calmly said “Oh no, honey. Please shut the door so mommy can have privacy.” Right. Because two-year olds understand the meaning of “privacy” and also respect it. Not surprisingly my instructions were ignored as he barged in and shut the door behind him. Our toilet is in a separate “water closet” room so we were in an area the size of a phone booth (he will never know what this is FYI) as I sat peeing with my bare knees digging into my son’s back as he asked “mommy, what you DOOOOOINNNNGGG?” and unravelled the entire roll of toilet paper like a cracked out kitten.
The bathroom is the least of my concerns as I thankfully don’t suffer from stage fright. No, with AJR, my whole life has become a real life “My Buddy and Me” commercial with the follow-up Kid Sister and they are strong on that where ever I go, they’re going to go tagline. He steps on my f’ing feet, has to climb into my lap when we are at the kitchen table, and cannot play by himself unless you consider watching surprise egg videos on YouTube kids playing by yourself.
Then there is Ruby. Our sweet little dachshund with so many issues I’m not sure even Cesar Milan could sort her out. Like all of my children, she is a mommy’s girl. Plus anxious AF. You know those videos where dogs are reunited with their military owners that have been overseas for an 18-month tour? Ruby reacts this way when I come back inside the house after getting the mail. Her main purpose in life is to 1. Eat All the Food 2. Follow me around and wait until I sit down so she can promptly lay on me. Once the kids are asleep Ruby is in her glory cuddled up with me on the couch…and at night she slithers her fat hot dog-like body under the covers and lays up against me. And there she stays allllll night, despite me “accidentally” kicking her in the head a few times.
Last, but not least, my sweet clingiest clinger of all: Olivia. I don’t even play peek a boo with her anymore because I don’t trust her object permanence abilities to override the irrational clinger within and I cannot deal with the ensuing water works and mournful MAMAMAMAMA if I disappear for 0.5 seconds Olivia’s current likes are “Mommy” and dislikes are “Anyone that isn’t Mommy”. Thankfully she isn’t like this all day but once 4pm hits she is a needy wreck until bedtime, which makes preparing dinner super fun. If Ted Allen is looking for a new Chopped theme show he should do Chopped: Moms With Small Children where fussy, poorly napped babies are in the kitchen as a toddler screams various wants and demands from another room. Instead of 30 minutes, moms only have 9 minutes and 37 seconds to complete dinner before the children erupt into a Mt. Vesuvius-like tantrum. To make it super realistic, they could also have the judges refuse to eat the food and have the moms beg and bribe to get them to eat a few bites before throwing it all in the garbage muttering expletives under their breath.
I’ve come a long way since my mild freakout 8 months ago. Now the nerve-endings on my epidermis have been overstimulated to the point where I feel nothing. I’m entirely confident that if Fear Factor was still on I could walk across a path of burning hot coals and not even flinch until the stench of my sizzling flesh reached my nostrils. I have come to accept that the menial task of folding laundry is something that needs to be tag-teamed. That my body is AJR’s training facility to be a contestant on American Ninja Warrior. That everyday tasks can be completed with one hand (or a foot depending on your flexibility and dexterity) as your other is holding a baby.
Yes, I know “one day” will be here before I know and the kids will be whispering to each other “God, Mom is SO clingy, why can’t she just leave us alone?” So kiddos, let’s keep the kisses and cuddles, but let’s get off my jock for three minutes here and there so I can check social media and make contact with the outside world. Deal?