Saturday, September 27, 2008

Please consider this to be my official notice of voluntary resignation

I quit -- or, at least, I quit trying to do everything. I am not SuperMom. For a week or so now I have been mulling this thought over, and I think I'm ok with it. I have good days, and I have bad days, but I'm not perfect and that is just how it is. I have come to accept it, and am slowly starting to revel in it. So I'll say it loud and I'll say it proud: I cannot do everything. I cannot do and be everything for everyone, and that is OK.

Perfect example: I forgot that Friday was 'Spirit Day' at Bella's school, and that she could wear regular clothes. And so that morning, when I dropped her off at school and every kid in the drop off line had on street clothes, she was crestfallen. I got the big "Mooooooom!". I apologized, but I didn't get my normal good-bye and 'love you', so I know she was upset. I will admit to fretting over it during the course of the day, but by the time I picked her up from school she was over it, only mentioning once that she could have worn regular clothes and then dropping the subject completely. On a side note, I went home that morning and placed a guilt-inspired, larger-than-usual scholastic book order that I rationalized with the idea that I could give her the books for Christmas. But then I realized that making the books Christmas gifts did nothing to alleviate the problem at hand, thus proving that reason and rationalization have no place in my derailing train of thought.

I would have made a terrible SuperMom, anyway. My cape would have always been wrinkled, and probably tucked into the waistband of my pants or skirt. I don't exactly have the body to make anything made of spandex look decent, and I would need at the very least a good, supportive shelf bra (if not something with a formed cup) in my leotard to keep the girls in check.

The thought first occurred to me last Friday, on the occasion of Bella's school hosting a "Hispanic Heritage Family Fun Night". I had checked off that we would bring a dessert on our RSVP form, and around the middle of the week started dreading the event entirely. I didn't want to go, I didn't want to make anything to bring, I didn't want to keep Bubba out past his bedtime....I had a million reasons not to go, and one smiling sunshine of a reason to go - Bella was so excited about it she could hardly contain herself. I finally resigned myself to going, and to most likely staying up into the wee, small hours of the morning baking multiple flavors of homemade cookies, but my internal whining was interrupted by a rebellious little thought - why? Why kill yourself baking homemade cookies when you can just buy them? SuperMom was horrified at the idea, but EveryMom was all for it. So I did something that I have never done before in my school bring-a-dish experiences: I purchased store-made cookies. And not only did I buy store-made cookies, I left them in their store bakery boxes. And I left those bakery boxes in the plastic store bag. And I smiled the smile of a well-rested woman when I handed them over to to the real SuperMom - the PTA SuperMom.

You know the kind I'm talking about - she's the mom that attends every PTA event. She is on every committee - if anything goes on at the school, she is not only there, but she planned it and is actively executing it. Her kids are always well-behaved and immaculately dressed and coiffed, and her husband is always around and helping out. She always sets the example - she buys $200 worth of overpriced gift wrap and then tells you about. She bought $250 worth of Scrip cards and then drops that fact at a PTA meeting. She's a good woman with the best of intentions, and she obviously has her stuff together better than me. So I hand her my bag of store cookies and she says, "Oh, Wal-Mart cookies.". She then pointed out the two dishes that she had made and brought, and proudly told me, complete with perfectly rolled R's, the name of these Mexican-themed dishes. I just smiled and said, "That looks yummy." And then I went and found my seat and we had a nice time, and guess what? The world didn't end because I didn't bring homemade food. It felt good. And another little side note: I ran into PTA SuperMom on my out to the car. She was standing by her minivan, wearing a sombrero, smoking a cigarette and drinking a beer (staying true to the theme of the evening, it was a Dos Equis) that she had pulled out of a cooler in her van. Ole! I guess even PTA SuperMom needs a little help getting by sometimes.

I have since engaged in some decidedly non-SuperMom activities. For example: Thursday night I put both kids to bed early so I could watch the season premier of 'The Office'. I finished off a bag of Bella's gummy bears while reading (I have finished two books this week!) and ignoring the dishes in the sink and the towels in the dryer. I drank the last Capri Sun, ate the last snack-sized bag of Cheetos, and took the last watermelon flavored lollipop. I won't share my pink Flavor-Ice popsicles anymore, either, so don't ask. And to top it all off, last night I put Bella to bed at her school night bedtime so I could have a friend come over, and we had a good time. We shared a six pack of beer on the patio and giggled until even my loud twenty-something neighbors were giving us dirty looks. Forced inside, we laughed at silly TV commercials until I almost spilled my beer and said aloud, "Oh, man, I can't spill on the carpet, my husband freaks out about the carpet", and then we giggled again and engaged in a friendly game of "Oh, you think that's bad, well my husband......". Hey, you can love someone and still make fun of the way they fold towels. We decided that we should get together every Friday night, and call it "The Friday Night Whine Club". We probably won't, but it's a nice thought and it was a nice evening.

Of course, even though I am just your normal, average, everyday mom, I do have the occasional super moments. This morning, for example: I woke up at 6:30 and in the hours before I had to be to work at 10:00am, I saw two loads of laundry through to completion (folded, hung, and put away! that never happens), cleaned both bathrooms, emptied the dishwasher and reloaded it, steamed, pureed, and froze some sweet potatoes for Bubba, got both kids and myself bathed, dressed and out the door, took the kids to my sisters, actually remembered all the things I was supposed to bring there, and got to work on time. Hooray! I'm SuperMom!

But then there was another morning this week that was absolutely dismal - Bubba woke up at 4:30 and decided he would wake up every 15 minutes or so after that until finally deciding to be up for the day around 6:15, I got sidetracked for time and ended up having to wake Bella up late and then rush her around to get ready, then I realized I didn't have cash for hot lunch money and had to hurriedly pack Bella a lunch (on mini-corndog day! oh, the horror!), we were almost late for school, Bubba pooped all over himself and his car seat, I wasn't aware of that fact immediately and he sat in it for a bit while I got stuff out of the car (I have a cold and my smeller doesn't work so well), Bubba licked an electrical outlet for some unknown length of time until I rounded the corner and caught him doing it, he almost fell in the bathtub, he hit his head on a chair, and screamed his head off because I wasn't holding him every second. When my husband got home from work I quickly tossed aside the reins of parental responsibility and went and hid in the shower in a blatant display of non-Super behavior.

There is always that humbling moment, you know, just when you think you have it all together, something happens that messes with your chi, blocks your flow, gets you all off course. But that's OK, because not every moment has to be perfect. And that's what I'm learning, slowly but surely. I also need to remember not to let those humbling moments detract from all the other good moments in my life. I'm a work in progress, darn it. I need a sign: "Please excuse my progress: undergoing renovations".

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