Our Kids Crave Consistency, but That Doesn’t Mean It’s Not Soul-Crushing

Before I had a child, I had a whimsical life. Now? Not so much.
save article
profile picture of Boomdash
By Boomdash, Boomdash
Published January 29, 2018
Toddler submerged and playing in the bath.
Image: Shutterstock

The following story, “Our Kids Crave Consistency, But That Doesn’t Mean It’s Not Soul-Crushing” by Alyssa Shelasky was originally published on Boomdash.

Before I had a child, I had a whimsical life.

In between exhilarating relationships and impulsive cross-country moves, work meant investigating things like tree-house hotels and celebrity scandals. I created a thrilling world in which no day was ever the same. Stability—financial, romantic or otherwise—didn’t interest me at all. Consistency meant stagnancy and stagnancy always felt, well, sad.

Even my road to motherhood was fun and exciting! I had Hazel on my own, which was a ride-or-die experience in itself. I did whatever I wanted in the beginning and somehow was a great mom despite myself.

“I love my daughter so much that whatever works for her dominates whatever works for me.”

But now that’s she’s 2, it’s not all about me.

I’m not oblivious to the fact that it’s not “cool” to have unpredictable days when your toddler is just discovering that squirrels eat acorns and umbrellas go with rain. It’s not nice to shake things up when she just wants to be happy at home with hot cocoa and her cousins.

Our loose routines—a concept I’ve forced myself to learn and emulate from the amazing moms in our life—enhance Hazel’s sleep, eat, play and learning. I get it. I’m not going to fight that. I love my daughter so much that whatever works for her dominates whatever works for me.

So as much as I’d love to pick her up from preschool at noon and fly her to Napa for dinner (Because I can! Which was always a good enough reason for me), I won’t. Why would I disrupt her rhythm? Why would I interrupt her growth? Why would I try the new Spa Journey at Meadowood when I could go to war with my busted stroller and fold one billion little socks?

Related Video

Nope. Instead, my boyfriend or I will stroll her the one-mile to school. And pick her up at 3 p.m. Then stop at the library. Then play with Magnatiles and all her babies, and the Barbie-mobile, too. We will tell her more than once that she can’t watch Moana. And then she will say, “How ‘bout Sing?” And we will nicely say “No” to that, too.

I will send my boyfriend out for wine, and I will prepare the pasta. Then Hazel will splish-splash in the bath and give her ducky swimming lessons. We will lay in my bed and read Knuffle Bunny, A Big Guy Took My Ball, and If You Want to See a Whale (this week, at least).

She will make sure to kiss us both goodnight—because she is a Libra and believes in fairness. And she will say “I ‘Lub’ You, Mommy and Daddy”—and we will all burst with warm ‘n fuzzies, our family of three twinkling like human moonlight and stardust.

I will carry her to her crib and sing her the evening Jewish prayer—and she will take one deep, sleepy breath in my arms and I’ll know, our day is done.

And then.

“I can tell you exactly what I’ll be doing at 6:21 a.m. tomorrow morning (Mommmy! Dadddddy! MommmyDad!!!) and 9:15 p.m. tonight (Hey you, Larry David).”

I am truly tested by the endless sameness. I begin negotiations with all the monotonous crap that actually makes me a mad woman. It’s the endless dishes and picking up of the crayons. It’s the buckets and buckets of spilled orange juice and splattered cereal. It’s the sticky-ass everything. It’s the ever-rotund laundry bags and the dirty mugs of gross, instant coffee (because, anything).

It’s no secret that I find the constant cleaning-up of motherhood to be nothing short of soul-crushing. And there’s no question that I often long to be at an indie movie premiere or a sunset hike or sipping a Negroni from some stupid European palace. But what am I going to? The monitor won’t work from Monaco.

Consistency, the daily grind, the FML ennui—it’s a necessary evil but it’s not forever. At least we’re all in it together. Playdates help. Activities help. Having friends over for dinner after the kids go to sleep helps. Turning on the music, or NPR, or a podcast, really helps. Online shopping always helps.

Mostly, I try to lean in to the sacrifice—capital S—of it all. I try to make my disdain for the day-to-day tedium part of the richness of our story. To frame it somewhat like this: I disliked the housework and sameness of parenting so much that it was actually…amazing.

Yes, life is now an exercise in consistency and routines. Yes, I can tell you exactly what I’ll be doing at 6:21 a.m. tomorrow morning (Mommmy! Dadddddy! MommmyDad!!!) and 9:15 p.m. tonight (Hey you, Larry David).

But nothing, absolutely nothing, about my life feels sad now. Except maybe the state of my stroller, and oh yeah, the coffee mugs, too.

save article

Next on Your Reading List

baby feet wrapped in pink blanket with heart
NICU Nurses Capture Baby’s First Valentine’s Day
By Wyndi Kappes
Chris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger attend Cleobella x Katherine Schwarzenegger event at The Coast Lounge at Palisades Villages on November 04, 2023 in Pacific Palisades, California
Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt Reveals How She Combats Mom Burnout
By Wyndi Kappes
donna kelce and family
Baby Doesn’t Get a Free Pass for Super Bowl, Donna Kelce Explains
By Wyndi Kappes
dad talking to young daughter
Viral Post Praises the Magic of "Role Play" Parenting
By Wyndi Kappes
mother holding newborn baby
Viral Video Speaks to the Power of a Postpartum Village
By Wyndi Kappes
30 First Birthday Gift Ideas Worth Celebrating
30 First Birthday Gift Ideas Worth Celebrating
By Martina Garvey
pregnant mom with child and husband
Viral Post Addresses Drop in Second Pregnancy Support and Celebration
By Wyndi Kappes
grandpa holding grandson
The Internet Debates How Often Grandparents Need to See Baby to Bond
By Wyndi Kappes
mom and baby celebrating birthday
Study Explores Why Mom Is Likely to Share a Birthday Month With Baby
By Wyndi Kappes
mother holding newborn baby during christmas time at home
Viral TikTok Helps New Moms Set Boundaries This Holiday Season
By Wyndi Kappes
mother playing with toddler daughters at home
This Year's Top Trending Parenting Styles, According to Google Search
By Wyndi Kappes
bluey season 3 on disney+
Bluey Goes on a Break: Final 10 Episodes of Season 3 Arrive Next Month
By Wyndi Kappes
Andy Cohen attends The Real Housewives of New York Premiere Celebration at The Rainbow Room on July 12, 2023 in New York City.
Andy Cohen Shares Why Toddlers Are Harder to Deal With Than Housewives
By Wyndi Kappes
mother reading with baby on rocking chair in nursery room
Inchstones Is the Biggest Parenting Trend for 2024, Pinterest Says
By Wyndi Kappes
black mother holding baby at home
How Black Parents Can Avoid the Trap of Toxic Positivity
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
21 Special Kwanzaa Gifts for All of Your Loved Ones
By Ayn-Monique Klahre
jennifer garner and her children next to a headshot of jennifer garner on the red carpet
Jennifer Garner on Why “a Little Benign Neglect” Is the Key Parenting
By Wyndi Kappes
baby tooth in child's hand
Toss or Treasure: Jake Johnson Sparks Debate on Keeping Baby's Teeth
By Wyndi Kappes
mom and baby dancing in living room
Kid's Music Ruining Your Spotify Wrapped? These Parents Can Relate
By Wyndi Kappes
36 matching family pajamas for the holidays and beyond-hero
36 Matching Family Pajamas for the Holidays and Beyond
By The Bump Editors
Article removed.
Article removed.
Name added. View Your List