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”.