The other day I volunteered with my youngest’s band class for picture day. First, let me extend to you the absolute excitement I felt when I realized I had room in my schedule to come and volunteer with her class. It was literally magical. Come on, Eutoka, Magical? Hell yes, friends, ma-gi-cal. If you’ve ever seen my calendars (there is more than one) you would realize the absolute mom-win I had going here: I had just enough space to come that day and I was excited to be there, present, and see my youngest in her element. I made sure my hair was together, deodorant applied (clinical strength people, this mommin’ thing is serious business), and proudly adorned the middle school’s band t-shirt. I was ready to represent! I got there and got right into it; I guided the young-ins, took direction from the band teacher, and talked with the other parents who were also giving their time.
Things were going incredibly smooth, almost perfect, when my daughter walks over to me completely pale. I just saw this little booger when I arrived and she was excited and silly – the usual. Now she was pale. She leans her forehead to mine and says, “I forgot to tell you that I needed a separate uniform…a dress.”
Oh shit. A dress?
I had no idea what my baby was talking about, and now she was standing before the other parents and students, forehead to forehead with me, looking like she wanted to hide up under the school. I encouraged her to stand up straight, breathe, and don’t worry. I guided her to ask another student if she could borrow their dress. Side bar: there was a young lady in that class that without hesitation allowed my daughter to borrow her dress for the picture. We sent a thank you with a token of appreciation the next day. There truly is still goodness in this world.
After the color returned to her face and her picture was taken, I commenced to a full blown self-evaluation of my mommin’ skills. The short version of my inner dialogue was as follows:
“How in the hell did I miss that?!”
“I am sure there was an email…somewhere…I think.”
“Oh crap, all the other moms are staring at me and it’s not because I’m Black and
my daughter is White.”
“Dude, HOW did I miss the communication?!”
I took out my phone and began feverishly searching my emails and texting my husband. One mom comes over and says something to the effect of “You didn’t see the email?” or “You didn’t know?”.
In my head (not out loud), I respond to her with “Obviously not, I have way too much going on. Thank you very much.” But outwardly I said “I didn’t. I suck at mommin'”. In the moment, I felt judged. I also felt A LOT of shame. Now was that mom being particularly judge-y (totally made that word up)? Maybe. Maybe not. Regardless, in the moment, I just felt like I got an “F” in all things Mom.
My friends, mommin’ ain’t easy.
Obviously, that isn’t breaking news to anyone, but seriously, how many of us actually talk about this, OUTLOUD? Like most moms, I try my best to balance a career, marriage, raising my tribe, maintaining my health, but dammit, at times, it simply is HARD.
As I haphazardly balance raising the three children still in our home and be that comforting, loving home base to the older two, I find that I lose sight on something incredibly important: me. I suspect I am not the only mom on this lovely planet that experiences this – the go-go-go of life and forgetting simple things to meet my own needs.
How should we balance this my friends?
Well, first, we have to realize that no matter how hard we try, things just can’t, no won’t, be perfect. Oh yea, that key word: PERFECT. If our expectations are of perfection, we will ALWAYS be left with disappointment.
This disappointment may lead to self judgement, frustration, anxiety – you get my point. Although our intentions are pure, aiming to be that perfect mom will ALWAYS let you down in one way or the other. Do you honestly think that your kids are angry that you’re not perfect? If yours are anything like mine, they don’t even notice when things aren’t perfect – they are just happy I am present.
So I propose the following: let’s stop staring at those magazine covers that have some woman perfectly made up, smiling like a Cheshire cat and the words about doing something mom and perfect printed beside her perfectly put together, stain free, unwrinkled wardrobe. Let’s stop peeking over to see what the next mom is doing and comparing ourselves to her “perfection”, because I will bet my military challenge coins that she is trying just as hard as the rest of us AND over thinking whether or not she is doing anything of this right. So here’s my mantra on this topic: Sometimes, I suck at mommin’, and that’s OK.
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