People often say to me, “Hey Super Mom, I just don’t know how you do it all!” My ego appreciates that. But why is it a badge of pride to be able to do it all? Why is it reputable to make it look easy?
Today I have a confession.
This parent + work thing is really hard.
Today I almost scarred my kid for life. OK, maybe a tad dramatic…but allow me to explain.
I took my 3-year-old to pre-school, and apparently it was costume day. Every single kid in class had on a fun costume – it was all Halloween up in there – except for my son Miles.
I had forgotten. Crap, crap, crap…
A wave of self-disappointment washed over me, self-loathing ensued, and then the best part…wait for it…I told myself my own mom never would have let something like this happen. JoAnne is my mom-heroine that I never seem to live up to.
I felt like I let us all down. My mom, my son, my ego…myself?
As I left the school and drove towards the office, I came to the intersection of where I could backtrack home and get a costume for Miles. I calculated my insanely packed day of meetings – and then remembered how much he loved wearing the tiger costume my own mom had made about THREE DECADES ago, and still is as cool today as it was in 1982. (See where my “I’ll never be as good as a mom as my own mom” complex comes from?!? Shit like this. In-tact tiger costumes that are older that many people reading this blog.)
These are the small choices that add up to big meaning. They’re the instances that your kid will most likely forget, but you won’t.
To be a good parent, sometimes you just need to fulfill your own definition of what it means to be a good parent.
So at the last minute I made an aggressive left turn, raced towards home in pursuit of that freakin’ tiger suit.
I searched everywhere. The garage. His closet. The basement. Oh crap – I realized it was probably in the crawl space. (Which I avoid at all costs. Spiders. Mice? I don’t know what the hell is in there, and I don’t like finding out.) I was getting later and later…
Armed with my mantra, “Imma get that freakin’ tiger suit” – I crawled up in there with my white blouse, skinny jeans and high heels – and I found it in box buried in the corner. I let out a roar you’d hear in a Rocky flick. Victory!
I raced back to school, darted into his classroom and saw him. He was sad, while all the other kids seemed happy. I said, “Hey Miles, I have your costume!” He sat up, totally surprised and said, “Where did you find it?!!” I told him mommy went into the crawl space and he was incredulous. (Remember: I don’t do this. I just don’t. It’s kinda an understood family rule.)
His face lit up, we quickly got him all tigered up, he rejoined the circle of friends…and I was on my way.
As I left, I glanced back and he was happily showing off his costume to his friends. He may never remember this, but I will.
Tiger suits are a metaphor of what is important…to our kids, yes. But also to ourselves.
I’m gonna look back on today and feel like an imperfectly good parent.