It seems like my days off are few and far between, but I've noticed I spend 100% of my time off being Mom Extraordinaire. Bathing Zach and splashing with him in the tub. Down on the floor, helping him reach his milestones. Interacting with Evan and helping him do whatever Evan does.
I can offer this up as evidence: I am currently baking cupcakes. Fricken cupcakes. I don't even recognize myself anymore.
I'm so far from perfect the Perfect exists on an entirely different planet from the one on which I live. And I have been giving this a lot of thought lately. We don't do soccer games and PTA meetings bcause John has no interest and I just don't have the time. I'm a member of the school's HSO, but don't do a lot of participating because of scheduling conflicts. We don't go to church. It just seems that my precious time off shoud be spent here at home, not making myself insane with shuttling Evan everywhere under the sun. And it works out perfectly because Evan has no interest in anything. Until now.
Evan's school is starting up baseball for the elementary kids and Evan wants to sign up. On one hand I want to encourage him to not be a fat couch potato and get out there and go for it. He spends large amounts of time reading books, playing on the computer, and he watches more tv than I can tolerate. The activity will be good for him. But I also have several misgivings about it. Will I have time? Which makes me feel like the worst parent of all time because I should somehow find time. Will he be good at it? Which makes me feel even worse because the point is to have fun, not foster the talents of the next baseball great. And most of all, will Evan do it? Because Evan, when not interested, has no attention span. I can see him in the dugout waiting for his turn at bat. I can picture him picking grass or watching for planes in the outfield. And with this in mind, I wish football was an option for the young kids here. Baseball just requires too much attention.
And then there's the other aspect of it. I have to go and be social with other moms. Gasp! Because in my eyes, I am Mom Extaordinairre. I do the best I can for my offspring, and they are both happy and healthy. This has to have something to do with me, right? But then I go to a function with stay-at-home moms and I realize that while I am patting myself on the back that my kids are clean, fed, and smiling, I really am inferior because the other moms manage all of that while managing 4000 sporting events and recitals a month while simultaneously baking 100 dozen cupcakes without the box and managing to have perfect hair, nails, and makeup. All with a baby on their hip and a toddler tugging at their pants leg, no doubt. And so I start to think to myself, "Self, you really do suck."
I hate feeling like I suck.
Of course I am thinking all of these things when my little free issue of Baby Talk magazine comes in the mail today, complete with an article on how moms lie. Seriously? They lie about perfect marriages and genius children. The article says they mostly do it to avoid criticism and unsolicited advice. I think they do it to keep up appearances. I'd like to find the one who started it all. The perfect Suzie Homemaker with her perfect appearance who lied about how perfect her life is and how she rocks at being a mom, which made her circle of mom friends feel inferior and precipitated their lies, which led to their friends feeling like they had to lie, and so on. I want to find her and wring her neck. Parenthood is tough business, and instead of being a competition, it should be a sisterhood. Your kiddo doesn't sleep through the night yet? Well, even though mine does, I think he is an anomaly, and instead of me gloating to you, let me instead offer words of encouragement and offer up any service I have to offer that can make your sleep-deprived life a little easier. Your kid hasn't reached a certain milestone yet? Well, instead of bragging to you how my 6-month-old is on the verge of curing cancer, let me focus on the adorable and amazing things your baby is doing.
And while I'm on the topic, I think the socially acceptable thing to do when interacting with other busy moms is to wear the appropriate Mom uniform: sweatshirt (with or without the stains), jeans, and gym shoes. If you have time to be flawless, I don't want to know about it, after all. It's not that motherhood means you have to let yourself go. It just means you should not try to out-do the rest of us. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the rest of the motherhood world goes around in 4-inch Manolos and head-to-toe Prada, and I am infact the abnormal one who doesn't have the time for such crap. I doubt it, though. I think I'm on to something with this competition thing, because I know some pretty extraordinary moms out there who do extraordinary things. They shape young minds as teachers. They keep us safe as police officers. They serve our country in the military. And on their off time, they rock the Mom uniform along with me.
I guess I'll let Evan do the baseball thing. And in my own mind, I'll continue to be Mom Extraordinairre. And I'll try to not feel inferior. And if the competition gets too stiff for me, I can trump the perfect coifs and delicious from-scratch cupcakes and stories of childhood ingenuity with some stories of my own: last night, while they got their beauty sleep, I kept about 10 people breathing who wouldn't otherwise be doing so and was actively involved in the resuscitation of about a half a dozen more. So excuse my stained sweatshirt and faded jeans and lack of baked goods. I was just a little too tired to give a shit. Now let's watch my kid score a winning run.