I look around and see all these women who dress beautifully, have gorgeous hair and perfect makeup, toting around their three toddlers all dressed in Gymboree and Baby Gap. And then there are the impecable mature ladies whose children are all grown up and they are still making five course dinners for their husbands every night and their baseboards are perfectly dusted.
A few years ago, one of those moms who I had always viewed as “having it all together” looked at me and said, “I don’t know how you do it! You just seem to have it all together!” What in the what???? I live my life so I know first hand that the last thing I have is “it all together!”
I am 97% convinced that 93.4% of what we do as mothers is to help alleviate our mom guilt! We somehow think if we can do one thing really awesome that other moms will see, it makes up for every other sucky thing we do to mess up our children’s lives.
I have three school age children and I teach 3rd grade. I have spent years trying to trick my children into not realizing I work. If they believe that, I have some ocean front property in Wyoming to sell them. I overdo everything trying to keep up the appearance that I am supermom. And if you believe that I’m a supermom, I have even more ocean front property just for you.
Case in point… Last year, my daughter had a role in her high school musical. Apparently, there is some kind of tradition at her school that parents provide meals for students in the musical during the two weeks before the show so they can stay longer to rehearse. One of the moms, who must have a lot of time on her hands, organized all the meals and called all the other moms to ask them to bring food. Because my daughter was a freshman, I was new to this tradition. I was asked to bring cookies for their dinner one night.
“Can I bring cookies on November 12? Sure! I’d love to!”
“Four dozen? Absolutely! No problem!”
That’s what I said out loud. What I didn’t say, but that was going through my head was, “Dammit! I just volunteered to bring four dozen cookies to rehearsal on the second night of parent/teacher conferences! How do I get myself into these things?”
I’ll tell you how. Because I would rather stay up ’til midnight making homemade cookies and then scheduling my conferences around delivering homemade cookies to the high school than to admit that I am not supermom and I can’t do it all!
So the time came. I had a choice. I could buy a couple packages of Oreos and admit that I am no supermom. Or I could come home from night one of parent/teacher conferences and stay up ’til midnight to make my seriously killer homemade chocolate chip cookies. I’m not above bragging… if I wasn’t a teacher, I would probably be a famous chocolate chip cookie baker. Was there really a choice here? Oreos are for wimps! Killer chocolate chip cookies are for my kids!
The next day, I went over to the high school with a full platter of four dozen of the most beautiful, best-tasting chocolate chip cookies you’ve ever seen! My conferences had gone a little longer than I’d planned, so I was about 20 mintues late delivering my cookies. I pictured kids swarming me when they saw the offering I’d so lovingly (and let’s face it…vainly) created. I envisioned teenage eyes rolling in the backs of their heads when they tasted the best chocolate chip cookies they had ever been priveleged to eat.
As I walked into the choir room where dinner was being held, I saw it… a table chock full of cookies, some homemade, most not. Packages upon packages of Oreos all empty! I realized that teenagers can snarf down a meal in 6 minutes and 30 seconds flat, and my being twenty minutes late meant that I got there 13 mintues and 30 seconds after everyone had finished. My heart sank as I realized that probably no one was going to eat my perfect ratio of chocolate chips to dough. I also discovered that if given a choice between the world’s best chocolate chip cookie and an Oreo, a teenager will choose an Oreo 8 times out of 10. I placed my platter on the table, found my daughter and asked her to bring home the empty tray home when rehearsal was over, and went back to finish my conferences.
Three hours later when my daughter came home, she was carrying a tray full of 3 ½ dozen chocolate chip cookies. I may or may not have eaten two dozen cookies all by myself that night. Don’t judge. I’d just been through two days of parent/teacher conferences which is pretty much a teacher’s semi-annual exhaustion, and I’d spent hours the night before making a product that can’t even compete with the Oreo… damnit! Now I want Oreos!!!