Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Mother of the Year

Do you ever get a vision in your head about the way things are supposed to be and then have a tantrum when you just can't seem to make it work out like you planned? Elliot and I were talking about one of the girls this week and how she likes things a certain way; not necessarily the "Right" way, but just the way she has envisioned it. When she is not able to execute it, she either gets mad or gives up, usually resulting in throwing something, yelling at the unsuspecting passer by, or pouting somewhere. And so the blame game began. "I don't know where she gets it," I remarked, followed by a typical, "Must be from you," I said to Elliot and then kissed him goodbye as he left for work.

I went for my run that morning, I couldn't stop thinking about our conversation and then began to realize that Sumner could, in fact, get this from me and I am just too darn stubborn to see it. I thought back to comments a couple of people in my life have made in recent months. My hairdresser Lesley said that last time I was in, "Just once I would like you to come in here and not be SO hard on yourself." She responded as I examined my wrinkles AND acne in her oh so huge mirror, "Just once I wish your lighting in here wouldn't be so harsh..." I responded. By the way, no one warned me that wrinkles and acne could occur simultaneously...I mistakenly thought that once you got wrinkles, your acne days were over; I seem to be one of the lucky ones who gets to have them both at once.

Later in that same week when I arrived home from my night class and asked our faithful babysitter, Lizzie how the girls were she tactfully, but honestly reported that they hadn't had the best night. I apologized profusely, then harshly blamed myself for their not so stellar behavior. "You are so hard on yourself. They're great girls," She said, and I apologized once more. My expectations are just too darn high, and I seem to be cycling in this pattern of self blame when things aren't just "So."

But truly, it has come to my attention that even though I am not working these days and my life is still in disarray. Not that it has to be perfect, but some semblance of organization and consistency would be nice. I thought I was going to have all of this "Time" and be such a stellar stay-at-home mother while I finish my school. Well, don't let this surprise you, but it ends up I am still not in the running for Mother of the year. Now I know no one is perfect, but I have started the school year off a bit,well, scattered,unfocused, I think could be a good word for it but I think we mothers often use the excuse of "Busy" as a more attractive way of describing it.

Aaaah Mother of the year, working to impress those around you usually bites me in the ass every time, and so it did when I made 28 cupcakes from scratch when Marshall informed me it was her teacher's birthday. I was up until after 10 frosting and decorating (And Momma don't stay up till 10.) I just wanted Marshall, who is usually so self conscious, to be proud to be the one to bring the yummy cupcakes to her teacher and her class.

After school the next day when I asked her how the cupcakes were she said, "Great." Then I encountered our next door neighbor's child who is in Marshall's class, "We weren't allowed to eat your cupcakes" He called from across the yard... "What?" I yelled, "I made those from scratch." Not that he cared, or even knew what "From scratch" was. So I go inside and ask Marshall what happened to the cupcakes, "Well, I brought them in and everyone got all excited, then Mrs. H pointed out the school rule about NOT eating anything homemade and she had to put them in the teacher's lounge...but I didn't want to make you feel bad." Awwww, sweet Marshall trying to spare my feelings. I guess it serves me right for trying to look so together and superior with my baking and whatnot. I think the thing to focus on in this story is that Marshall was very gracious and sensitive with me. The next day when I was walking past the school carrying the empty cupcake tray home, the gym teacher looks at me knowingly and said, "Ohhh it was you who made the cupcakes." I could read between the lines, what he meant was, "You're the moron who has been at this school for 3 years and still doesn't know you're not allowed to bake, but the cupcakes were yummy anyway."

It kinda made me think (and this goes waaaay back to the '80s) of the movie Mr. Mom, when he tries to drive carpool and has no idea what the rules are and some lady yells, "South to drop off, North to pick up, asshole." Well, that was me, I was the asshole, and I'm not even the Dad. You know how there is always at least one Mom in the class who is sort of not with the program? Well I fear that is me this year.

This conclusion was realized for sure a couple of weeks ago after Auggie (our puppy) had a wicked case of conjunctivitis. When I could put off a vet trip no longer, I broke down and called, "No, really, it's pink eye," I said, diagnosing him over the phone in the hopes I would not have to drag all 3 girls AND the pup to the vet.

So we get to the there and she says Auggie does, indeed, have pink eye. Dr. Abendroth asks if I still have the drops since the last time he had pinkeye and I told her I had cleaned out the cabinet (because I'm so organized) since then so she goes to get him some drops. When she comes back in the room she shows me the bottle and says he needs them twice a day. I see the bottle and a panic comes over me as I realize that I have just last week used the doggie drops on Marshall when I thought she had pink eye. "Uuhh, so, ummm hypothetically, what would happen if I used those on one of the girls?" I casually asked trying not to appear too concerned at my own blunder. "You mean the kids?" she asked sort of beginning a ventriloquist routine, with what I believe was a bit of a smirk. At that point, Marshall, ever the eavesdropper, realizes what we are talking about, puts two and two together, and yells, "I'm going to turn into a dog." Ok so rest assured, no need to call DSS, apparently dog drops and human drops have mostly the same ingredients, but still.

Basically, when my ONE job at the moment is to maintain the status quo at home, here I am putting eye drops for canines in my sweet baby's eyes. Dr. Abendroth who is single with no kids is clearly enjoying this whole scene and informs Marshall that if she begins to bark she needs to come back to see her immediately. Suffice it to say the joke was not really well received, hee hee, but it at least made ME laugh about the whole thing. As we are on our way out, Dr. Abendroth says, "Next time just tell them at the front desk that you think he has pink eye and you won't have to come in..." Ok, we can take a hint...we're a nightmare. Enough said.

But here's what I have taken away from my most recent blunders:sure it looks good on paper to be the library volunteer, tutor, class mother and PTA member, not to mention wife, mother, student...but in reality, all of these things add up to one huge time vacuum. And what for? My own peace of mind so that at least I know I'm doing something? But I've gotta tell you, there are some days when I really feel like I suck at this.

It was our dog trainer, Alan who is helping me grab the reins on our snarly puppy who pointed our they need is consistency...kids OR dogs. So I guess I'd better pull it together before I become one of those crazies who walks around with my kids on leashes but if I continue on my recent path, the girls will get kibble for breakfast and the dogs are gonna start sitting at the table with us.

Which brings me to my main point. No one was ever voted Mother of the Year by rushing around like a crazy woman. This is where my new mantra has come into play. I have replaced "Do you have Running Water" with this catchy little rhyme...and I've already repeated it twice today: "A little more laughter, a little less worry. A little more kindness, a little less hurry." Parent or not, couldn't we all benefit from thinking this way? I dunno, but I'm testing it out to see how it goes...and one last thing: whoever came up with the Mother of the Year award is on my shit list...along with the inventor of the Good Housekeeping seal...

1 comment:

  1. Caroline-
    You are one amazingly gifted writer! I have loved every one of your postings- truly!!! I can't wait to come to a book signing one day. You rock!