Five Days Into Summer
Five Days Into Summer
We are only five days into summer. Except for packing lunches everyday, nothing else about our schedule has changed. Soccer practices, birthday parties and end of the year events still continue, although I continue to shout out “The End of The School Year Is Effing Over!” I have told myself of this Every. Single. Day. for a week. I have yelled it at least twice a day.
Neither of my kids have slept in their own beds for the past four nights.Whether it is friends houses or on the couch from binge watching movies, they are completing living the life. Ah, to be young again.
The laundry is mounded on the couch, which is nothing out of the ordinary to see there. Summertime adds additional pool towels and wet swimsuits. On a good day, I find those things before they are tucked under the dining room table, or wedged beneath the stairs to dry in a crinkled mess like burning newspaper.
Perhaps it is because we have been moving at the speed of light, or maybe it is because I have worked doubly hard to “grin and bear it” these last few days, but on day 5 of summer vacation today-Mama lost her shit.
It was an innocent enough request-another playdate for both of them. This request was for tomorrow. Because today’s request was already lined up. As I had not yet had my required third cup of coffee, I inhaled before answering.
Allegedly, I did not respond affirmatively in a sufficient amount of time (crazy how thinking about things is over rated to kids) and a fit followed.
Then Mama threw a fit of her own.
We talk all the time up in here about how you are allowed to have whatever opinion you want to have. You are also free to express that opinion. You are NOT however allowed to be rude, disrespectful, unkind or outright selfish when reciting said opinion. Those rules were not only ignored, but they were topped with a huff and slamming of doors. And Mount Motherhood exploded all over my living room.
As we both were taking our self imposed time outs, I had to laugh. Why? Because I did this to myself. Six months ago, we made the decision to finally be debt free and I took a break from practicing law to work from home.
Why would a college educated woman who loved her job do such a thing?
The answer was simple: I did it to spend more time with my kids. And yet here I was, five days into our first summer break thinking about drinking white wine straight from the bottle at 10a.m. The biggest middle finger to this situation reminded me that it was my choice.
I asked for this temporary hell. There was no one to blame but myself.
But that is the Ying-Yang relationship of Motherhood. Isn’t it? You are always one small tragedy away from kicking yourself in the ass and regretting every parenting decision you have ever made.
For almost seven years after my kids came home from Ethiopia, we would all cry as I dropped them off at daycare. On the worst of those self-loathing days, I would pack them up and leave them with a Judge’s clerk while I practiced law at the courthouse. Other days, I missed school events, plays, soccer games and so many other things.
But whether this is the life we chose, or the one we have to shovel from underneath, at some point we all stand over the bathroom, mascara dripping, asking:
“Am I screwing this up?”
A few nights ago, a friend sent me a text asking for some confirmation that she was making the right decisions about her child. She had received some push back about her particular parenting style and she was concerned.
“Am I doing this wrong?” she texted.
I cried alongside her through our text message exchange. Why? Because we have all been there. And if you are not willing to admit you have been there, check you and your kids into therapy. Because you are in tragic denial.
I told my friend this: Hey, maybe you are doing it all wrong. I don’t know. But if you are “doing it wrong”, who is the one defining what is wrong? Take any ten mothers on the planet, regardless of race, socioeconomic class and age and ask them one question about motherhood. Make it any question you want.
You will get at least 25 different answers from those ten women.
Why? Because this role of ours, is ever changing, all consuming and my answer for “organic or non-organic baby food?” will change four times throughout a month. It will depend on: our monthly budget, my laziness in reading labels and perhaps whether or not one week old Oreos found in a car seat are currenlty available.
Mamas, here me.
Parenting is the only gig in life where everyone thinks they have an opinion about the job you are doing. Do yourself a favor, pour some wine and if the dishes are not clean, drink it from the bottle or cry into your coffee cup and ignore them all.
Whether you are struggling to remember why you chose to stay at home or you are drowning in guilt under the curse of bills and putting food in those precious mouths, or whether you waltz into work each day because your job is how you get filled, shine on sister.
There is no right answer, no special motherhood sauce and no one always knows entirely what they are doing. I’ll fist fight anyone who tells you otherwise.