I am that mom.
I am the one who emailed the teacher to verify the start time of the event at school…and still showed up thirty minutes late.
I am that mom — the one who didn’t RSVP to the classmate’s birthday party until the morning it was scheduled to happen.
I am the mom who went to register my child for the enrichment class two days after the deadline because I didn’t take time to read the informational letter. I’m also the one who apologized my way in.
I’m that mom, the one who got the phone call from the kindergarten teacher asking if I’d be there soon. It was Mom’s Day, and my daughter was waiting for me. I walked in and all the moms were sitting on the floor, each one with a child next to them or on a lap. All except for my daughter who sat at the foot of the teacher while she read a book to the class. My daughter. Alone.
I’m the mom whose kid had toothpaste down the front of his shirt, the one whose kid wore boots at school all day long because he forgot shoes and I didn’t think to check his backpack. When he got home, his socks were soggy.
I’m that mom — the one who thought she had enough time to get milk and bread from Target. I was still a few minutes from home when I watched my child’s bus come towards me on the road. Again, my daughter. Again, alone.
I’m the mom who had to air out the house because the stove burner was left on for hours. The flame had gone out, but the knob was still set on simmer, natural gas seeping into the kitchen, out to the dining room and down the hallway.
This all happened last week.
I’m that mom, and I know it.
Have you seen me? You know you have. You know there’s someone like me, someone who is that mom to you.
That one mom who always seems to come charging in late, disheveled, discombobulated.
The one who makes you feel think, ‘Well, I may not have it all together, but at least I’m not like her.’
Do you know how much it sucks to be that mom?
A lot. It sucks a lot.
Contrary to how it might appear, I’m not a total flake. I’m not checked out, I’m not “smoking too much weed”, I’m not a train wreck, not a disaster. And I’m not a bad mom.
I’m just in a rough patch.
I have enough personal family gunk going on that I have to prioritize what can receive my attention. Some things have to go.
Having never been a detail-lover, I now find they are the first things to escape me. They are de-prioritized without me even trying. And those are just the details I know I forgot — how many have passed me by without me even feeling the breeze they made? I’ll probably find out later that I only knew the half of how badly I was screwing up.
In the midst of this, I am trying to take care of myself as well, trying to make good choices and gauge what ways I can be kind to myself each day. I’m exercising, I’m brushing my teeth, I’m even laughing sometimes. Maybe I’m laughing too loudly, maybe it sounds a tiny bit hysterical, but it still counts.
I don’t need help feeling guilty about how I’m falling short of where I want to be. I can administer enough guilt on my own.
I have to extend grace to myself, the grace I would want to show someone else, but it’s hard. It’s hard to be nice to myself, because I see the ways I can’t do it all, the way I want to manage it alone but can’t. I know what I can usually take care of, and I see all the ways I can’t do it now.
I feel weak, and I hate feeling weak.
I feel looked down on, but as far as I know, the only one looking down on me is ME.
Today I’m trying to give myself enough space to move around my life without knocking things over.
I’m going to give myself extra time to get done the things that usually take me less time but now seem to require more effort.
I’ll feed myself well.
I’ll let myself make mistakes and I’ll see them as mistakes, not as failings.
I’ll ask for help.
I’ll be to myself the person I’d want to be for someone else.
I’ll try to look for glory, for as my friend Kelly wrote, “Glory is most at home in the common, if you have eyes to see.” (You can read her post here: http://bit.ly/1j6DhxJ )
When I come out of this rough patch, as I know I will eventually, I will work to remember what it was like to be that mom. And when I see her, the one for whom the burden of everyday seems almost to much to handle, I’ll pray that she can be gentle and patient with herself, that she’ll see how she can be good to herself in the midst of struggle. And if I can, I will let her know that she’s not the only one.
Eventually, there comes a time when we all are that mom.