When I was pregnant, I entertained visions of being that mom with the perfectly done hair and makeup, wearing fashionable (and clean) clothes, carrying a designer handbag. This picture somewhat resembled my pre-pregnancy self, and I wondered why in the world would I have to change?
Please note: I had no dreams of a clean and coiffed child in overpriced (clean) clothing by my side. Oh no. I have seven younger siblings, remember, and four of them are of the male variety. I know where reality ends and fantasy begins.
Or so I thought.
My friend Hope had her fourth son over two months before mine was born, and I discovered secret number one from her. Not loving any of the diaper bags I found, I promised myself to adopt it.
Secret #1: Carry a diaper and wipes in your purse.
And adopt it I did. Along with toting an over-full diaper bag. Now that I have a toddler, he can carry his own emergency “pack-pack” and I have ditched the diaper bag on most occasions, but one must make allowance for the difference between the new and the experienced mommy.
When I met my friends Kristin and Tara last fall, each the mother of two preschoolers, I stood in awe of their sense of style as well as their maternal calm. I still do hold them in high esteem, but they, like Hope, have taught me several more mommy secrets. And I must admit, I was appalled when I first discovered Kristin’s secret.
Secret #2: Don’t carry a purse; carry a tote bag (as in a shared diaper bag for all your kids) and throw in your wallet.
What?!?! These three women are some of the cutest moms I know, and yet here Kristin had sacrificed cute for functional. Yet I had to admit, she pulled it off well. Kristin never looks like a pack horse, as I know I have when attempting to tote purse, diaper bag, and some other random “essentials” on my journeys.
But she and Tara had even more secrets to share.
Secret #3: Make sure whatever bag is your carry-all is a cross-body bag. If possible, let it be a backpack.
Here my inner diva began to scream. Cross-body? As in, wrapped across your chest, squashing jewelry and wrinkling clothes?
Oh yes. Because then you have both hands free to grab children, dispense snacks and drinks, and the bag is attached to one’s body should one need to make a hasty exit when (not if) meltdowns should occur.
Note yet again: last week I ordered a cross-body bag from Tara, a 31 consultant. It cannot arrive soon enough.
Secret #4: The mother of a toddler does not wear heels when taking her child to the mall. Or when taking her child anywhere, for that matter.
No one in particular taught me this secret. Common sense told me it must be obeyed, and yet I rebelled. However, when one compares sweating in heels to being poised in ballet flats or—horrors!—tennis shoes, the flats have it.
Most likely those of you mothers out there know these secrets, but please do share them with your uninformed expectant or new moms. And remind them that being a professional mom beats winning Clinton and Stacy’s approval any day of the week. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.