Bad Mommies Unite

I’m think I’m overwhelmed. I’m not sure. Is overwhelmed the feeling that your head is going to explode from all the things you need to do in a day and the feeling that you’re having a heart attack because of the constant heart palpitations and chest pain? Okay, then…I’m definitely overwhelmed.
I feel as if I have so many balls up in the air to juggle that I’m dropping all of them. Everyday I’m busting my ass to be the best mother, best wife, best friend, have the cleanest house and to do that job that pays for all of it, to the best of my ability. Throwing in my writing on the side and working out so I can wear a bikini on vacation and it’s become a recipe for disaster.
Moms are expected to be perfect. Our families see us as infallible and we knock ourselves out to insure we never let them down. We all know that “perfect mom” at our kids school. You know, the one who always has her makeup done, nails perfectly manicured in her tailored suits and fabulous shoes. (I LOVE her shoes). Her kids have the lunches with the healthy bread and organic carrots and juice boxes. She’s class mom, has a huge circle of friends and when run into her in the grocery store on the weekend in your ratty sweats with your hair in a messy bun (not the cute messy bun look), she looks glamorous in her hot pink yoga pants with matching shoes and her hair up in a sassy ponytail without a straggler to be had. She got a bazillion pictures on Facebook of her and the kids and the hubby in matching outfits pumpkin picking and making pottery. When your kids go to her kids’ birthday party, there’s a theme and blow up bounce house and friggin pony. She gives out hand sewn American Girl doll outfits in the goodie bags.
Yeah, you know the one. The “Stepford mom”. The one we all look at and roll our eyes at, but on the inside, we are all jealous of her, we’re all striving to be like her. And giving ourselves mini strokes trying to accomplish it.

My daughter screamed at me earlier. I know, shocking, right? She wanted to make pumpkin muffins. We bought all the ingredients the other day, but between football games, school and work, I haven’t had a chance to make them with her yet. Or rather, make them while she wanders off and magically reappears to lick the spoon. Because no matter how often I try to engage the children in “homey” activities like crafts and baking cookies, they become bored after about a minute and a half and then I am stuck decorating cupcakes and finger painting handprint wreaths on my own. This happens EVERY SINGLE TIME. Yet, I continue to beat myself up when I don’t really have time to make Christmas cookies or handmade birthday party invites, but feel the need to squeeze it in because that’s what a “perfect” mom would do.

Maybe I’m selfish. Unlike a lot of moms, I do take time out for myself. I go to the gym regularly (usually at the butt crack of dawn) and get my nails done (usually on my lunch break). Because every second that I do something for myself when I could be with them, I feel guilty. Never mind that a healthy and happy mom equals happy and healthy kids, it makes me feel like crap when I’m reminded that I should be home, doing something for them. THEY remind me. When I walk through the door they stare me down with their accusing eyes and pepper me with questions. “Where were you?”, “what took so long?”, “why didn’t you bring me?”. I bite me lip to refrain from yelling, “Because I wanted to be alone, all right? Sometimes mommy needs to get away from you because you drive me crazy!” And I feel guiltier still.
But maybe it’s okay. Maybe it’s okay that I didn’t make my daughter’s Halloween costume this year or that I didn’t create the perfect party game at my son’s birthday party. Maybe it’s okay that I wanted to watch a TV show instead of making salads with organic vegetables for the kids’ lunch the next day and they ended up with Nutella on white bread. (Gasp! White bread!) Maybe it’s fine that I occasionally forget to sign the little one’s planner or don’t remind the older one to brush his teeth every night. Perhaps it isn’t even too bad that the last time I remembered to give everyone their vitamins (including myself) was the first day of school. Maybe it’s not a big deal that I forgot to wash my son’s uniform before his game and he wore it dirty and I dug through my daughter’s hamper for a pair of jeans for her to wear. In fact, maybe everything I do is okay, not perfect, but okay. I don’t think any of us will ever BE that perfect mom, no matter how hard we try. And we need to stop beating ourselves up for it. As long as our kids are healthy and know they are loved, does it really matter?
And you want to know a secret? That perfect mom isn’t perfect either. She buys store brought cookies and her mother shops for her. (I NEVER buy store brought cookies, so there). Her kids trade away their organic lunches for Doritos and peanut butter and fluff. Her Halloween decorations don’t get put up and every night she lets her 5 year old stay up till he falls asleep on the couch because she’s too tired to fight with him. She hasn’t changed the sheets on her bed in a month and she sweeps the toys under the couch instead of putting them away. She DOESN’T have it all together, just like me and you. We need to stop beating ourselves up and comparing ourselves to each other. None of us have it all together, we are all “Bad Mommies” somehow and we should stick together. Does it matter that our lives don’t look like our Pinterest board? I mean, who really has time for that crap? After all, I’m lucky my shoes match today considering I left the house yesterday with one brown and one black shoe. I’m starting a fashion trend. Take that “Stepford mom”.

Mommy’s Sick Day

How do I call out sick? Like, do I just stay in bed? Or do I have to actually file some sort of request with God or something? I’m talking about calling out sick from mommy duty. Because it’s been 4,440 days since I took a day off and I’m feeling a sick day coming on….
I have an ear infection that has kept me up for two nights now but I have had to haul my ass out if bed every morning and perform not one, but two jobs for the past two days. But I don’t think I can do it tomorrow. Every illness I’ve had, I’ve managed to keep it together at home. Even cleaning up puke in the middle of the night when I feel like puking myself. When my husband is sick, he gets to be in bed and make him soup and listen to him bitch and moan about being feverish. I swear to God he makes me take his temperature about ten times an hour.
When I’m sick, the rule seems to be “if Mommy can speak, she can take care of us”. I still have to make sure homework is done and shuttle children to school. Laundry still piles up until I pop an Advil, wrap myself in my robe and load the washer. When I am sick and out of work, someone else deals with my problems THERE for the day. Nobody calls me and says, “so and so needs meds, come give them”. The people at work who are well deal with it.
Why isn’t that the case at home??? When I feel like crap, why can’t I wallow in my bed on my illness infested sheets and be left alone to recover? Why does someone else deal with the problems that come up? Why can’t the children make their own meals and get along for five minutes and just LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE??? Can nobody else in this house PROBLEM SOLVE???
I’m now laying in bed because it hurts too much to move. And also, I’m waiting for my drops to stop leaking out of my ear. I have the blankets over my head and my one good ear pressed to the pillow and I can still hear it. The running, the slamming, the dogs barking…glass breaking. I squeeze my eyes tightly, willing it to go away, trying to shut of my giveadamn meter. Someone else will take care of that. It will be all fixed when you get up and feel better. The glass will be swept up, the kids will be fed. All you have to do is take care of yourself for once.
“Go rest!” my hubby said. “Go lay down! I’ll take care of things!”
Translation: I will make sure if the house is on fire I will knock on the door to let you know.”
I remember when my youngest was four days old and I had 102 fever and could barely hold my head up. I was weary from hormone overload and going without sleep for nearly a week. I needed an hour nap. I crawled under the covers, leaving the four day old and four year old with their father. I closed my eyes and drifted off into blissful rest until…
You need a little background here. At that time, hubby was still a volunteer firefighter and who go on calls at random times. Middle of the night, middle of dinner, middle of your worn down wife taking a nap.
Yep. You read that correctly. I was shaken awake, a newborn and cranky preschooler thrust at me as he rushed out the door. As I sat there sobbing in postpartum misery, I knew then and there. I was NEVER getting a day off again.
Like today. There is someone standing over me. Through the muffled cotton in my ear I can hear, “Mommy?”
I try to ignore it. If I lay perfectly still, maybe it will think I am dead and go away. Don’t breathe, don’t breathe. You can outlast, outwit, outplay. It’s only a kid after all. At most, it has a mentality of a seventh grader. Even if it’s the hubby.
When I think I heard the door close, I exhale with a sigh of relief. Stupid move. It is still in the room, waiting to pounce.
“Mommy?” It calls out again, nearly causing me heart failure.
“What???” I scream out, tossing the blanket aside.
It’s the older one. “I have a stomach ache,” he announces.
Groaning, I sit up abruptly, causing my ear drum to feel as if I am being stabbed with an ice pick. I yelp and clutch the offending appendage. (Is the ear an appendage??)
“I think it’s because I’m hungry,” my twelve year old continues, completely oblivious to my distress. I glance at the clock. It is 7:15PM.
“Didn’t you eat dinner?” I ask. Now I don’t usually prepare dinner, but apparently it is my job to remind my dear husband that it is time to eat along with what to prepare. He can’t seem to handle this on his own. For dinners I actually have a chalkboard on the wall telling him what we are eating. I’ve also had to call him when I am not home at lunch time to remind him that it’s time to eat. Otherwise, he can be found wandering around in a circle, kicking empty granola bar boxes and muttering to himself when I return.
My child shakes his head.
“Where is your father?” I growl.
My child shrugs. “Last I saw him, he was in his chair.”
Annoyance courses through my veins as I struggle to my feet, my equilibrium completely thrown off by my illness. I stumble downstairs to find the following scene before me.
My daughter has pulled out the coffee table and has a mixing bowl, spice jars, several cookbooks and spoons sitting on top of it. She is vigorously mixing something that is sloshing over the sides and the dog is happily lapping up. There are so many paper towels surrounding her that it looks like the Bounty factory blew up in my living room. The other dog is munching on the discarded paper towels. She pauses to vomit one up.
“What ARE you doing?” I manage to squeak, trying not to cause myself pain.
She looks up at me, huge smile on her face. “I’m making some medicine for you,” she replies sweetly.
Now I’m sure that statement would tug at any other mother’s heart strings. But not me. I’m a bad mommy. I’m a realist. I know that shit isn’t getting cleaned up and I’m going to have to do it.
“Wanna taste?” She hands me a cup.
“No. And you don’t either.” I snatch the bowl away and storm into the kitchen, each step reverberating in my ear drum. It is in the kitchen that I find my next mess. Dishes, dishes everywhere. They cover not only the counter, but the stove, too. It is apparent someone also attempted to make soup and did not move any dishes out of the way. The aroma of burnt plastic still hangs in the air.
In the past, I have loaded and emptied the dishwasher. The counter was always clear and dishes were always clean. I busted my butt to make this happen. However, about two months ago I looked at myself and said, “Self, don’t be a moron. You have enough to do now that you’re going back to work. Give this job to someone else.” So in an act of generosity, I split the job. Hubby is supposed to load and the oldest puts away. And in those two months, I have not seen the bottom of my counter. Once again ladies, it takes two men to do the job of one woman AND they don’t even do it efficiently.
I also find that the garbage has been overturned by my two adorable fur monsters. It is not a pretty sight. Apparently nobody thought to give them dinner either.
“Why is this HERE?” I manage to croak out to the oldest who is trailing behind me. “Could nobody clean this up?”
He makes a face. “That’s gross. I’m not touching that.” This coming from the kid who hasn’t brushed his teeth in a week and ate his own boogers until fourth grade.
Grumbling, I throw everything back into the garbage can and by everything,I mean all of the wrappers of the snacks that the children have consumed in the short time I’ve been out of commission. Oh my son is right…it’s gross alright…their arteries, that is.
Shaking my head, I head down to the hubby’s lair where I find him, reclined in his recliner. He spends so much time there that there is actually a butt imprint on the chair.
He is playing virtual golf on the iPad. He sees me and pops up.
“Thank God you’re up. I’m hungry. What’s for dinner?”
That, ladies and gentleman is why Mommy can’t take a sick day.