I never used a video monitor with my kids. I didn’t want the temptation of being obsessed with their every move and breath while sleeping. It freed me up to check on them, in person, as frequently as I felt necessary. A part of me also felt it was just not nice to spy so closely. Maybe I was projecting my right to privacy on them, knowing, deep down, that if the monitor were turned on me I would not want to explain or defend the footage captured. On the baby monitor one might see swaddle breaks, pacifier pitching or future presidents of crib climbers anonymous but the mommy monitor would surely catch me:
- Opening baby food with my teeth and kind of liking the pop of puree squirting into my mouth.
- Substituting time on the breast pump for time on the treadmill for a more efficient calorie burn.
- Squeezing in a conference call while TV watches the big kids and the big kids watch the baby.
- Perfecting my going-to-the-bathroom-while-feeding-or-holding-baby talent, multitasking at its finest.
- Losing my temper, sometimes with children and other times with myself or appliances.
- Doing the laundry naked. Laundry-related activities often last 30 minutes past littering the load with pieces from my person. My children are infinitely amused by this scene.
- Eating butter, frequently by itself.
- Reviving skills I probably should have left in high school or college: Pulling the-only-bra-that-looks-good-with-that-shirt out of the bottom of the dirty laundry and “dry showering” with deodorant and perfume.
- Trying to leave my phone alone for 30 minutes and failing, every time.
- Wearing the demi-panel maternity jeans to enjoy the Spanx-like effect months past an appropriate postnatal window.
- Pondering if my underwear is wet with sweat or pee and ultimately, deciding it doesn’t matter.
- Sending texts meant for my husband to my sitter or colleague and vice versa.
- Consuming my own pot of coffee and applying piles of anti-aging products under the pipe dream pretense that they will add an hour of sleep to my brain and remove a year of age from my face.
- Premeditating sloppy seconds from crust-less PBJs. Kids miss the boat on bread’s best feature. And, crust with peanut butter? Perfection.
- Crying myself to sleep because trying to succeed at being a working mom, wife, daughter, friend and sister is sometimes just too much.
But I also hope it would catch me:
- Obsessing over the right words to write in a “napkin note” the day after my daughter had a rough day at school.
- Breaking our family’s DO NOT GET UP FROM THE DINNER TABLE rule with an impromptu dance party
- when Pandora pipes out one of our favorite songs.
- Apologizing to my kids and asking for their forgiveness.
- Folding nearly every time one of my children asks for one more book, chapter or song read or listened to together at bedtime.
- Letting my kids SEE me cry and be vulnerable and NOT perfect. So they know they do not have to be.
Now that I’ve fessed up, can we agree to keep all future monitoring to kids and nannies?
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