This hike was not about proving what I could do, it was meant to show me what I can be. And modeling that for my girls. I can be gentle and compassionate with myself when I’m having a hard time.
It’s Ok. No one’s perfect.
I’m pathologically independent. Ok, I made that up, but sometimes I need to ask for help and don’t. The most I come up with is some passive-aggressive statement like “Mommy can’t do five things at once.” Not that I don’t try. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I cry in the shower and eat copious amounts of chocolate. More often, I feel overwhelmed and lose my shit. I seldom ask for help.
Before I became a SAHM, I never felt the need to escape motherhood on a daily basis. I understand how ungrateful that sounds. I can’t imagine the agony of wanting children and not having them—or losing them. I also know firsthand the pain of leaving your kids at daycare when you’d rather be their primary…
Yeah… I’m not a “Pinterest mom”.
Mrs. Pinterest, you sexy, balanced, thing you. Greeting the day bright and early so that you can implement your new “6-minute ab” routine, meditate for a few, write neatly in your mole skin journal, moving from there into your wildly acrobatic yoga routine, all whilst wearing the least-messy, “messy bun” that I’ve ever seen, and rocking those yoga pants.
“Good morning littles!” her post-workout self coos brightly to her sleepy-eyed children, patiently waiting for breakfast in their matchy matchy pj’s, as she pulls the warm pumpkin cinnamon rolls (that she made to welcome the first day of fall) out of the oven.
Ima say that again:
Pumpkin. Fucking. Cinnamon. Rolls.
My thirteen-year-old son lives, breathes, and eats baseball. Needless to say, being offered a spot on a travel team last year sounded good – really good. I could give these old bones a rest from backyard baseball, and give him an opportunity to hone his skills in a sport he really loves.
We had a few glitches in the spring travel season, however. After several missed practices and games, I had fallen off the parental travel baseball wagon. I was a failure as a sports mom.
Birthday parties scare the hell out of me, because I know, deep down inside, despite having identified, finally, so much love and beauty in the world, that I am still not as light as air or sea foam or Styrofoam or even Wd40.
I still keep two bottles of frozen milk in my freezer behind the frozen waffles and chicken nuggets, despite my daughter being weaned almost two years ago. I know they’re expired and should be tossed, but I can’t. I worked so hard for them. I don’t care if it’s weird.
I am having a fight-or-flight reaction to my laundry.
It shouldn’t surprise me, really. I’m angry a lot these days. I’m angry about the laundry, sure; there’s no better symbol of the Sisyphean futility of things than the laundry, so smug that it continues to accumulate around me even as I surrender myself to doing it. I find myself wistfully nostalgic for my college years, when I could just go buy new underwear on my way out to the bars rather than waste an evening in the laundromat, when the dryer buzzes
Often, parents are expected to be superheroes. They aren’t supposed to make mistakes. They are supposed to be perfect, solid role models, and predictors of the future. There is no room for error.
My mom handles Christmas like a boss. From the gifts to the food to the music selection, we all know to just shut up, stand back, and enjoy the fruits of her labor. Christmas is Mom’s special holiday because hers kind of sucked as a kid. She has dedicated her adulthood to ensuring no one in her life experiences anything like them.
I have memories of glittering Christmases and not being able to pay my field trip fee or cobbling together dinners from the back of the pantry until Dad got paid. We rarely travelled or went anywhere that cost money. My childhood was filled with small experiences and many things. It was also tinged with the worry familiar to anyone who stretches the dollars in the bank a little too far, too often.
The ghosts of Christmases past haunt my mother and me in very different ways.