I don’t know how some mothers do it, juggling family and work and household and wifely duties. I think some of us just have it and some don’t. Like that kid when you were young, the one that could wiggle his ears. You ask him how he does it and he’s like, “I don’t know I just do it.” And since you can’t get an answer from him you spend all recess concentrating on wiggling your ears but you still can’t do it. But you’re determined to figure it out so you keep focusing on it and straining until your teacher comes over and asks “Honey, do you have to go to the bathroom?”
I’m that kid right now. Except I’ve abandoned trying to wiggle my ears and opted to try and juggle kids, somehow it seemed easier. Somehow my teacher is seeing this, holding her nose and thinking “Eeewww.” It is a tremendous strain, at least for me. And that’s the excruciatingly frustrating part. I can’t do this easily. I’m juggling as fast as I can but I’m dropping kids like Mrs. Crabtree did in high school algebra.
What is it about raising kids that makes you feel so small? I’ve always been a woman confident in her abilities. I’m totally sure that if you gave me a medical book and a brain surgery patient I can have him hopping around on one foot minus a quarter of his frontal lobe in no time. But keeping a clean house, getting the kids to soccer practice and making sure ol’ grumpy has his food on the table early enough for him to get to bed by 10 p.m. that sends me into a hyperventilating tail spin.
The truth is, most days, my husband does the cooking, has it ready for me at a reasonable hour and I come to the table disheveled and trying to redeem myself. “Sorry about dinner, but I hit soccer practice, paid bills, got the baby immunized, oh and I removed what was thought to be an inoperable tumor from an 85 year old woman today.”
Why should I have to apologize for not keeping every ball in the air. It’s their fault. No I’m not passing blame, it really is their fault. As in they, the ones whose opinions we hang on, whose acceptance we crave, the varsity cheerleaders/football jocks of society. The ubiquitous “they.” They say this, they say that, they say women shouldn’t be fat. They say men get more distinguished as they age. You know them. Them are they.
And for some reason it matters what they think. And so even though I absolutely love being a mom and having such a great family I feel dorky a lot of the time. Like when I look really, really hot in the latest trendy style, but because I am younger than my husband, the waiter asks him if I’m old enough to drink and then I have to explain that I’M THE MOM. And then I never look that good again, because They might think of me weirdly. Or, when I am having lunch with friends and even though I may be dressed like a professional whatever, I still feel inadequate because I am toting a baby. Yes I admit it, sometimes I feel like carrying around my poor little guy is akin to having an extra appendage sticking out of my forehead–it’s a permanent fixture, hard to control and draws lots of attention. At least that’s what my brain tells me “they” think.
And isn’t that a lousy way to think? Especially since, I KNOW, my baby is probably thinking “I can’t belive this woman with the wacky hair and stained shirt is my mom. Look at her fishing through her purse for her wallet. Doesn’t she realize I pulled it out of the diaper bag, chewed on it and tossed it on the floor of the car. She’s so scattered. And would it hurt her to put on some makeup, geez.”
I honestly don’t think it gets any easier as they grow. They just grow. Oh well. However, I think I am getting a bit closer to wiggling my ears.