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Balancing Parenting and Sanity: “I’m No Carol Brady!”

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It had been some morning. The kind of day when I had failed to make a breakfast that anyone liked, was behind schedule in lunch making, teeth brushing and homework packing. I was beginning to hate the sound of my own voice as I repeated myself and scolded little people who seemed to have the primary goal of ignoring every word spoken to them.

With my kids finally ready and only minutes to spare, I made a frantic attempt to dress in record time. As I searched through my drawers for anything that matched and fit, I groaned out loud as I caught a glimpse of the overstuffed laundry basket. I suddenly remembered that I was supposed to wash those clothes yesterday. I said a silent prayer that I would be able to find a clean pair of underwear.

As I slid into the driver’s seat, I was sweaty, frustrated and feeling defeated. It was 7:30 a.m. and I wanted to cry. It was a kind of day when a parent doesn’t feel equipped with the amount of patience that it takes to deal with three young children. It was a day that I questioned how good I was at my job and had the feeling of suffocation, knowing that it was never an option to quit. It was one of the more challenging days in the life of a stay-at-home mom.

With the morning chaos over, I needed a little down time. I decided to spend the next couple of minutes regrouping by sitting on the couch and watching TV. As a child, I always loved the Brady Bunch. I smiled when I found that an episode was on. Surely, the Brady Bunch could brighten my mood. But instead of cheering me up, I found myself getting irate at Carol. She was a mom, like me. But she was better than me. She had SIX kids, double what I had. They were always getting into trouble but she never got mad.

Even if they weren’t doing something wrong, wasn’t she tired of never having any time to herself? Didn’t she feel lost within the walls of motherhood? Didn’t she ever just want to have five minutes of quiet? She just stood there, every scene with that big f@*$#!@ smile on her face. Watching HER made ME feel worse. She never lost her cool. She never screamed at her kids and then felt so bad that she loaded everyone in the car for ice cream.

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HERWriter Guide

I'm pretty organized in general but the TV moms never lost their cool with their kids and trying to be like Carol Brady or the Beaver mom (I didn't grow up in the US but I hear she was pretty calm at all times!) is impossible. How does someone never, ever snap at their kids? Even for a minute? Ever?!

I'm glad I'm not a Brady-Beaver type though - I'm not one for a quiet life of going through steady motions. I need a bit of unexpected action at times.
We have 12 for dinner tonight, with 6 of the 12 being ages 5 and under. That should allow for lots of 'unexpected action'!

And every stay-at-home-mom needs a full-time Alice. But alas, most of us are Mom and Alice and a lot of other people too. For the most part, it's pretty good. But there are days when it isn't and all the romanticized versions of Mommy are annoying.

I know some at-home Moms who say they "adore every minute of it" which makes me wonder if they have househelp or lots of fun medications! I know other career Moms who say they'd hate to stay home and don't even like a whole weekend of full time parenting which makes me a bit sad for their kids. I'm not the former and definitely not the latter. But sometimes, on the odd occasion, there's a little bit of me in both those places somewhere!

August 28, 2009 - 11:26am

After many discussions about how we don't feel cut out to be 21st Century Moms, a good friend sent me the book, "I Was A Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids: Reinventing Modern Motherhood," by Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile. It is a hilarious, and realistic look at what it is to be a 21st Century Mom. Your article reminded me of it. Great post!

August 4, 2009 - 9:56am
(reply to Christine Jeffries)

Thanks for your comment! I enjoyed that book too and am flattered that my article reminded you of it.

August 28, 2009 - 8:09am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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