Two years ago, I had no kids. Zero. Zilch. Nada. No diapers to change, no spit up to swipe, no noses to swab, and no wailing to puncture my sound sleep. Sippy cups were not part of my lexicon. Of course I was unable to savor the delicious freedom because I was so desperate to conceive. I won’t bore you with the myriad details (three rounds of IVF, three early term miscarriages, and so many hormones pumped through my system—let’s just say a tri-state area’s worth of teenage boys had nothin’ on me).
After a few years of fertility struggles and what seemed like a decade of me being exceptionally cranky (fine, bitchy), my husband and I decided to adopt. On October 14, 2009, our perfect son Jaxsyn was born and promptly one week later, I was knocked up with our soon-to-be-equally-as-perfect son Hugo. (Turns out, husbands are good for something) That’s right folks. Two boys. Less than 10 months apart. I dare you to try and make it happen.
Long story short, our lives changed quickly. And nothing triggers a good old-fashioned Type A personality like having your world turned upside down. So naturally I went into OVERDRIVE wondering: How am I going to be a PERFECT mother, while continuing to be a perfect wife and perfect author? After a slew of desperate phone calls to my “Type A Mommy Brigade,” here’s just a slice of what I learned. Any of the signs below sound familiar? Well, then, hello Type A Mommy.
Your Slogan is “Cut the Crap.” If your kids don’t play with it, you toss it or donate it. And you’re completely insulted by the mere concept of goody bags. Thanks for the Hello Kitty pencil, though I’d prefer not have my eye gauged by my two-year-old.
You’re an Organizational Goddess. All toys must be stored in carefully labeled bins, bags, containers—basically anything that will exist as a “home” to the massive amount of junk which seems to procreate daily.
Multi-Tasking is Your Middle Name. It’s not enough to simply make dinner. If you can’t empty the dishwasher while changing a poopy diaper and returning emails on your iPhone, what can you do?
Your Kids are Your Soldiers. You have a routine. One that was developed when your child was an infant and one that you’ll stick to until they’re in school. They wake up at the same time. They eat at the same time. They nap at the same time. And they go to sleep at the same time. Every day, without negotiation or bribery. Fine, sometimes bribery.
You’re Not a Nomad. You carry one neatly packed diaper bag, not four overflowing with junk. Why, no, Mrs. Mommy of one perfectly-turned-out little girl, you do not need 16 different snacks, four party dresses, and three pairs of Mary Janes at the playground. Have you seen the sand and mud?
You Put Your Husband to Work. Attention men with children: GET IN THE GAME. Come on! At least look alive. Husbands need to be trained much like children do. No it’s not ok to skip his bath for the third day in a row. Children get dirty just like “real people.”
Related: Mom's Rules vs. Dad's Rules
You Expect Everyone to Get With the Program. And you actually have a very detailed program, which is typed, printed, and distributed to people such as grandparents and nannies who may not appreciate the precise way you want things done.
You DO NOT Look Like a Homeless Person. Motherhood is not an excuse to ignore your personal hygiene. Is a long hot shower in the cards every day? Perhaps not. But there’s no reason to be harrier than an ape or not to paint your hooves every once in a while.
Your Child Has Been Sleeping 12 Hours a Night Since 12 Weeks. Buy a book. Someone else has already done the hard work for you. All you have to do is a little light reading and then follow the rules. No co-sleeping until they’re 25. It’s not cute. And, for God’s sake, don’t be lured back into their room by obvious manipulative tactics, like “My hair hurts.”
You’re Better Than They Are. Sure, one-upmanship can feel great. And it’s hard not to let your competitive instinct get behind the wheel. But the real way you’re “better,” is that you have it down to a science. Most days. Mommies need systems and they need helpers—it makes things a hell of a lot easier.
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Emily Liebert is an award-winning, internationally published author, New York Times best-selling editor, speaker, and spokesperson. Her debut book, Facebook Fairytales, is available across the globe.