Simplifying Motherhood

The easy things are never good and the good things are never easy. Isn’t there a saying about that? Somewhere? In better words? (Google this later.)

Motherhood, as I know it, is not easy.

But it is so, so good.

When Ken and I were new parents – zombies, really – we chatted with friends who were a bit further along in their parenting journey. And I’ll never forget what they shared around a dinner table of take-out pizza and paper napkins and ice cream straight out of the carton:

“You have this routine that you do everyday, over and over, without fail. And then one day you wake up and realize you haven’t done that in what, two months?”

When Bee was a fussy newborn, Ken and I would take turns eating dinner while the other strolled her around the kitchen island in circles – once, twice, however many times it would take her to stop crying (43 times?). We did this every.single.night, starting at approximately 6pm until what felt like forever. It was clockwork, really. Impressive stuff. Just as the pasta would boil over, so would she, and we’d run to the hallway to get the stroller, throw in a few earplugs and start circling.

I don’t know that the kitchen island loop was the only thing that worked for her, but it was the option that seemed to anger her least, so it stuck.

Friends and family would call and invite us to dinner, and we found ourselves politely declining or asking if they could come to us, perhaps, because of The Circling? It was a whole thing. Each and every night, from 6pm until forever.

But then, just like our friend had said, one night we found ourselves not circling.

And then the next night, and the next.

And all of the sudden, Bee wasn’t a baby that screamed for three hours a night and we weren’t a family that took turns eating while the other walked miles around refrigerators and ovens and kitchen sinks.

It’s bizarre, really, how quickly routines shift and change and adapt. And how quickly babies do the same.

One of my favorite brands that gets this is The Honest Company. Before Bee was born, we signed up for their Diapers/Wipes bundle, which sends a set amount of diapers and wipes to your door each month. And I remember how we’d always have to order extra wipes in those early days, because we’d use them for everything – high chairs, toys, bums – and then, as Bee grew, it seemed she needed less of the wiping and more of… everything else.

And so, we adapted our bundle to the new routine: less wipes, larger diapers. We added an Essentials bundle as The Honest Company grew – a box filled to the brim with laundry detergent and room fresheners and a dish soap that smells of lavender. Soon, we’ll add a Health & Wellness bundle when vitamins and supplements and rubs take center stage.

I suppose – in a way – our bundles have been like time capsules for us; products arriving in cardboard that mark a new season each and every month. Size 1, then 2, then 3 and 4. More wipes, less wipes, no wipes. From diapers to training pants, from shampoo to conditioner.

And isn’t that what motherhood is about? The changing and shifting and adapting to what works for you and your family – in this moment, in this day, in this season.

It’s not easy, but it’s simple.

And so, so good.

This is the final part of my three-part series of essays for The Honest Company, one of my favorite brands for mothers. Thank you for reading, and please enjoy 20% off your first bundle by using promo code DESIGNFORMANKIND. (Code applies to first-time orders only, one per customer. Valid for U.S. and Canada; expires 12/14/14!)

  • Erin, you two are the cutest. I remind myself frequently that life as a parent is a series of phases and stages, and the thing that’s driving me nuts right now (spitting milk – stop!!) won’t last forever. And the thing I love the very most right now (“momma, sit on you!” means he wants to snuggle) won’t last forever, either.

  • I absolutely love your writing on being a new parent – I too have a two year old daughter who has really changed my reality of time. Tonight I saw no more baby standing in front of me…she just became a little girl overnight (literally) and my eyes are full just typing that! The nights of Mike and I taking turns putting her into the harness and running tub water (the sound calmed her) while singing and humming and shhhing for hours…are all of sudden gone. I miss it… and I don’t miss it at all. Bitter sweet. My baby girl is growing. Now instead of the constant crying , she’s talking my ear off…and so the new chapter begins right :)
    -J

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