This post below is from a few months ago, but I have two reasons for the re-post: 1, I have two posts drafted, but neither of them are quite right yet and I'm sleepy and have work deadlines and 2, I got two emails this week from people I don't know who read this blog and said how much it helped to not feel so alone in this parenting thing.
I had no idea that so many mamas were feeling this way before I had kids - mainly because, why would I? Nobody is confiding in the girl who complained that she "had" to wake up at 9:30am to make brunch. I was a parent-less, blissful, rested asshole.
So, just remember that mamas need mamas and you are not alone in this. We all feel like frauds sometimes. Um, I'm in charge of two human beings yet I still negotiate with myself half-sleeping when it's 2am and my bladder is like, "Get up, dummy, we have to pee" and then I lay there for 10 minutes, willing myself to go back to sleep and pretend that I won't wet the bed if I don't get up and also do the counting backwards math of how much sleep I can still get if I fall asleep RIGHT NOW. And then, eventually, I get out of bed and pee for 30 seconds and fall back asleep. Yet never learn and will do it again next Tuesday.
I'M IN CHARGE OF OTHER PEOPLE.
A few days ago, I got an email from a reader who said that she’d found this website and it was exactly what she needed. It made my day, if I'm being honest. But then she went on to talk about all of the things she felt like she was failing at and actually asked me for some advice. Which also felt really good, while simultaneously leading me to feel like a fraud. Because I can happily dish out advice and tips that have worked for me (and will continue to do so with bold, blind confidence); but I can’t do that without also telling you that I totally feel like I don’t have it figured out sometimes, either. I know I've said it before, but I think it bears repeating in light of some recent emails and text messages.
Sometimes I feel like a fraud; sometimes I feel like I have a lot figured out. Sometimes I feel fat and tired and old and irrelevant; sometimes I feel fit and youthful and plugged-in. And the people I feel the most connected to are not the people who seem to have it all together – they’re the people who somehow keep going while having no clue what “together” even looks like, at times. Which, at the risk of repeating myself, is exactly why I admitted my Uncurated Mama status and started this whole venture. Because the people who are honest about the fact that they will sometimes sit in silence in their living room alone for ten minutes in between getting home from work and picking their kids up at daycare because it’s quiet, are my people.
So are the people who look into their shopping cart at the grocery store and feel instant guilt because they’re not giving their kids enough healthy food options, haven’t planned a variety of meals for the family, and feel actual confusion over the people who devote hours on a Sunday to “meal prep” for the week. IT’S NOT JUDGEMENT – it’s jealousy, mainly. Also, a little guilt over not prioritizing it…and not feeling all that bad about it.
And then I feel instant frustration that I’m working a full-time job and grocery shopping and planning all of the meals and thinking through how much protein or how many vegetables are being offered on a daily basis. Like, at least twice a week, one or both of our kids will eat little more than a bowl of corn or a glass of milk for dinner. Because months ago I decided not to be a short-order cook who was making two to three separate meals for “family dinner.” And so you eat what’s on the table. Or you don’t - it’s your choice! Look, choices! (I learned about this method from various other mom bloggers who swear that it works; what I’d like to know, however, is whether they lay awake at night after their daughter eats a “meal” consisting of four spoon-fulls of rice and apple sauce, wondering whether they’re doing long-term damage to her in some way for not just making whatever it is that she wants at that particular moment in time. And sometimes you want to just walk into the other room and f that noise because dude, it’s rice, it’s not gonna’ kill you and seasoning on your chicken isn’t dirt from the ground, ohmygod. ...Is what I wonder about when those bloggers go off-line.)
And why doesn’t this bother Ian? Why isn’t he stressing out about it? And if he is stressing out about it, why isn’t he saying anything? Why can he snore so loudly at night, sleeping soundly, while I’m waking up, jolted out of bed because I forgot to fill out the permission slip for my three year old’s upcoming field trip and I’m already feeling guilty that I can’t take the day off to go with her and her classmates to the zoo because it’s the one day this month that I’m leading a team meeting of 12 people and I can’t be like, “Hey, I have to go to the zoo with three year old’s, can someone else do this meeting, please?”
But I’m too afraid to take a zoo day because I save those “I have to _______” moments for when lice strikes. Or when coxsakie strikes. Or when daycare is closed for Professional Days and I have the more flexible schedule so I stay home with the kids. I save my “I need to leave the office” for those days. And I have a super flexible job! (sidebar: Yes, I’ve received the emails already from people telling me they wish they had it as “easy” as I do, because I don’t understand their struggles. You’re right. I don’t. I’m not living your struggles and so I can’t complain about them – but I totally would if I had them and so…can’t we all just get along?)
But then someone will say something about how I’ll never get this time back and don’t I want to experience the zoo through her eyes?
Well….I mean, last time Ian and I took the kids to the zoo, we ended up with one of them pants-less and shoe-less, sticking a dirty pacifier from the ground back into her mouth, and the other one peeing in the bushes because we couldn’t find a bathroom nearby. So, actually, I’m good, come to think of it. I have a meeting. Quit judging me!
I guess what I’m saying is that I love getting the emails from you about how you relate, how what I’m saying resonates, and I really love being asked advice because I’m a know-it-all who has an ego. But also? Just remember that nobody’s perfect and what I’ve figured out might not be what you’ve figured out. And what you’ve figured out, I don’t even know I don’t know yet, and so I need you, too. Also, my daughter ate a stiff, cold fruit snack off of the car floor the other day and then spit it out because it tasted like shoes. So...I'll just leave that right here.