Recently I dropped my kids off at school.
You’re waiting for the funny story that follows this mundane, daily event. I am waiting for applause.
When I say ‘I dropped my kids off at school’ what I mean is this: I am dragged out of my overcrowded-bed far too early in order to read/play/referee. I then supervise children in various stages of unwillingness into clean clothes, feed each one according to his/her specific tastes, get myself dressed while shouting out reminders about homework and lunchboxes and not hitting our sister. I throw the dirty breakfast dishes in the sink and sweep, lest my nemeses, Crumbs, spend the next 8 hours on the floor smugly thinking it has won this round (Not this time, Crumbs!). Wrangle my children into the car with 4 backpacks, 4 lunchboxes, 4 pairs of snowpants, 7 gloves (fun fact – gloves actually hate even numbers, that’s why they are always trying so desperately to lose each other), one security blanket, and one chocolate bar cleverly disguised as a healthy protein filled breakfast for my moment of Zen when I first arrive at my office.
Once at school, I escort my younger children to their classrooms, hang up their things, gush over their latest pieces of artwork, beg their teachers to be extra nice to them because it is possible that in the rush to leave the house I may have said something unkind such as ‘get your shoes on or tonight I will unleash all the monsters from under your bed!’ Everyone is at school on time, in decent moods, with no visible signs of last night’s dinner on their faces.
So how surprised am I when there was no medal ceremony awaiting me as I exit the school building? Has word not gotten out that I am flippin’ amazing?
As I walk through the school parking lot I bump into all sorts of women who have had similar mornings. Women dressed for the office or for exercise class or in what they were wearing yesterday because that was what was within reach when it was time to head out the door. Women with fewer or more children than me, professional women, or women who are called stay-at-home, but spend all their ‘free’ time taking care of the world. Women who have already put themselves 2nd or 3rd or 4th or 5th a thousand times before 8 AM. And you have to start to wonder where the heck is the paparazzi flashing their cameras and asking how we do it all?? (You also start to wonder how many of the women in gym attire are actually on their way to the gym and how many are just trying to impress me. For the record, I am totally impressed. Either because you are going to exercise or because you were organized enough to get into costume. Well played.)
And since it is clearly taking a while for news of our superhuman-ness to circulate, I write this love letter to mothers everywhere. No disrespect to the dads, mind you. I have a sense of how hard they work, how great they are with the kids, and how I in particular could never do it alone. But this one is for the mamas, who cook and find and clean and snuggle and drive and tickle and change and schedule and tuck and kiss and wash and fix and then bear the brunt of the outrage for accidentally making the dentist appointment during gym class, or worse, putting the wrong snack in the lunchbox. We wake up early or stay up late to get it all done, but then torture ourselves with images from pintrest and facebook that attest to the fact that everyone on the planet is mothering better, cleaner, more organically, and more creatively than we are.
So get off pintrest, fools! Pay no mind to those who pretend that life is easy and spotless. No one has it easy – in fact, the easier you pretend to have it, the more the rest of us will talk about you behind your back and try really hard to catch you picking your nose.
If no one is lining up to applaud us, let’s applaud each other. We are awesome. We have a unique skill set and personality which allows us to mother our individual children in exactly the way they need. Forget about aiming for perfection and let’s set our sights on getting through the day without bludgeoning anyone. Like the old saying goes, ‘You can lead a mother to a bludgeon, but you can’t make anyone throw her a parade for not using it’.
All hail you, mothers of the world, nurturers of young minds, refrainers from posting about how consistently sweet motherhood is, fellow battlers of Crumbs. I applaud each and every one of you. Now get out so I can eat my protein in peace.