Guest post and a great reminder why we all need each other - and some time - on the bench. Thank you, Eileen Casey Gianiodis!
A friend texted me Friday night: “School carnival: I don’t fit in with these moms.”
My friend and I each have three kids. Her three are younger than mine, so I try to give her warnings about some of the crap that goes with having school-aged children. But sometimes, I forget. School carnivals? I forgot. They’re buried.
“Sorry,” I texted back. “I forgot to tell you this is a great weekend to leave town!”
Her text reminded me of a conversation with another friend, who -- not yet a mom, is asking loads of questions about daycare, schools, working and being a mom … her list is extensive.
What I said to my young friend with no children is this:
You know what women and moms need from other moms and women? We need a few minutes on the bench.
We need to go to the bench of this mom thing and get a pep talk from someone who’s been there. We need to have everyone else move over and clear a spot so we can sit down for a minute and catch our breath.
We need to hear that other moms have missed a lot of shots, have a few fouls and can’t see straight because we’ve run up and down the court so many times we’ve lost count.
We sometimes need a hug. Or a pat on the back, or a "I love that outfit on you," from another mom -- even if - and especially if -- it is your standard yoga pants and running shirt.
While this is what we need, this is not always what we get.
We feel inadequate when we show up in our work clothes, or yoga pants, or bedroom slippers (they HAVE a sole, and they’re warm). Heaven forbid, we forget about the next big event and we show up, wondering if we can buy tickets and hot dogs with our American Express card.
We pull our kids out of school on the day of the big play because we’re flying across the country to see grandparents, who won’t be there forever. We feel fat and out of shape because we can’t help but compare ourselves to each other.
And we really want a piece of that greasy pizza, and a beer, but we’ll settle for a juice box and some popcorn.
We wonder what it would be like to be her. You know THAT mom – the one who’s handing out turkey dogs with a big smile, her hair is perfect, her clothes match (and fit) and her children are all dressed in matching outfits. She’s involved in the PTA, knows everyone and calls everyone by name. She seems perfect.
What we really need is for another mom or dad, somewhere to admit it – this shit is hard. No matter what road you take.
No one ‘has it all’ in the ‘Target-mom’ sense. And really, shame on us for thinking ‘Target-turkey-dog mom’ even exists. Whatever you think this mom is – she isn’t. You’re imagining it. She’s just like you.
Moms, just like us, wonder about the value of indoor plumbing for anyone under age 18, while cleaning the bathroom. We wash the same load of laundry two or three times because we’ve forgotten about it since Tuesday.
We sometimes look the other way when our kid wears the same outfit two days in a row (wondering, I’m not sure if he slept in that but we’re late and I think he has underpants on). We wonder if applesauce three times a day is too much – or not enough. And, then we eat the applesauce too, because there’s no milk in the fridge and we have no idea what’s for dinner.
We think about our children moving out of the house and what we’ll turn their room into when they leave. And should we increase the data on the cell phone because I’d really like to catch up on my television in the car. We fantasize about cars without scratches, puke stains, Goldfish crackers and French fries.
We wonder if today will be the day the wheels come off and we will lose our ever-loving shit on the kid who ate the last PopTart because that was supposed to be my dinner, for god’s sake.
We have dirty houses with tortilla chips on the kitchen floor. We find ourselves in ridiculous games of will with toddlers, tweens and teenagers and can’t remember why, but we are NOT losing. We find mouse poop in the cupboard, set the trap and pay one of the kids to get that sucker out of the house.
We eat the greasy pizza and drink a beer.
We wonder and worry - endlessly. But all we may really need is another mom who can say to us, "Hey, you look like you need a break, sit next to me on the bench."