You know those mothers who waltz around Target with their three offspring looking like they just strutted off the runway of a Lulumon fashion show? They’re all toned and fit and tasteful looking, like they’ve actually brushed their hair and teeth. There’s a confidence in their stride that declares, “Hey, they’re just kids. I got this.”
Then there are those women who are capable enough to continue their careers, charitable works and social lives after bringing life into the world. They juggle board meetings, cocktail parties and neighborhood BBQ’s like they were born to this circus.
Finally, there are the über mommies who line up playdates like toy soldiers, schlep their progeny to a slew of enrichment classes (before they can even walk) and prep healthy snacks a week in advance. These mothers scare me the most. Why? Probably because I want to be this kind of mom but never will. Ever.
I’m the kind of mom that looks like I barely escaped an Old Navy clearance sale with my life. I usually have at least two stains on any given outfit I’m wearing which always, always includes yoga pants from the afore mentioned Old Navy. I don’t wear Lulumon for two very distinct reasons. 1.) Their largest size, XL, fits a size 12! Who in God’s name caps out at a size 12? I’m 6’1” barefoot and have given birth to 2 children. I slid out of the womb at a size 12. 2.) I can’t justify spending $100 on yoga pants that won’t rub my feet or clean my bathroom for me. All they’ll do is cover my butt, not that I could fit into them.
In my defense, I was forty the first time I procreated. I had two wonderful self-indulgent decades under my belt. A clean house was the norm. I was well-rested. Words like, “manicure,” “hair appointment” and “lady’s lunch,” were in my vocabulary. Then I became a breeder.
After three miscarriages, my first sweet baby was born and it was like someone flipped the “competent” switch to off. I was plagued with postpartum depression the likes of which could have crumbled dynasties. I formed a panic disorder and worried the gardeners were plotting to kidnap my daughter, smuggle her across the border and sell her for parts. I was such a head case that I didn’t take her shopping by myself until she was six months old.
A year later, my husband and I had a come to Jesus moment. We sat down and discussed the possibility of giving our child a sibling. We both knew what we were in for and against all sanity we went for it. Another miscarriage later and we were pregnant with our second daughter. As soon as she was born, I handed off my oldest to my husband and said, “Take care of her.” We both knew I wasn’t going to be capable of caring for two children for some time.
When my youngest turned one and my oldest, three, I announced, “I’m going to take them both to the store, alone.”
My husband panicked, “Are you sure you can do it?”
I replied, “No. But it’s time I try.” And I did it, successfully!
Two months later, my husband was diagnosed with stage-four tonsil cancer and began a battle for his life. From that point on, I was fully responsible for both of my girls. I was a nervous wreck.
Now that they’re four and six, I’m just figuring out how to do the extra-curricular class thing. I’ve fit in one manicure in the last six years and get my hair cut every year like clockwork. I even meet a group of other moms for happy hour once a month. I still wear Old Navy yoga pants every day and my hair usually has gray roots but at least I brush it now. I’m still flummoxed that I have to feed these kids three times a day but have decreased the number of times I give them breakfast for dinner to only once a week.
What I’m trying to say is this. I’m in total awe of mothers the world over. This is the hardest job on the planet and no one makes it look harder than I do.