I live on coffee and Greek yogurt snack packs… oh, and the occasional pack of smushed peanut butter and cheese crackers that sometimes finds its way back home in the bottom of a lunch box. I wake up every morning at 4:45; exactly 15 minutes before my alarm is set to go off and I resent the hell out of missing those 15 minutes every morning. I feed the cats (all seven of them) every morning, sometimes I bake brownies at the last minute, frequently I find lost dance shoes and missing earring backs and I always cheer on the sidelines even when my kid is running in the wrong direction. I apply band aids, listen to tales of friend betrayals, paint toenails, curl hair, put away the leftovers and run the Tuesday carpool to the library. Oh and as a sideline, I work part-time as an online writing tutor and study Literature as a graduate student at a university an hour from where I live. No biggie. I can handle it all. For I am mama; I am a multi-tasker. I am depended upon. I am dependable.
See that’s the thing…that last bit there. I don’t always feel like being dependable.
I’m not always feeling particularly creative when there has to be a last minute adjustment made to a dance recital costume. I’m not always feeling like Martha Stewart when those brownies, sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes or devil’s food cakes need to be baked by tomorrow for the bake sale/class party/school festival/cake walk or whatever other function my kid forgot to tell me about until 9 p.m. the night before.
Sometimes I have a splitting headache when the hoard of girls that spent the night descends upon my den at the ungodly hour of 7 a.m. demanding waffles and pancakes after staying up half the night giggling so loud that no one in a five mile radius could sleep.
Sometimes I want to watch what I like on television and not reruns of Jersey Shore or Pretty Little Liars.
And sleep. Dear God, sleep. Sometimes I don’t care what orifice my kid is bleeding out of; I simply want to sleep.
I used to feel incredibly guilty for these feelings of less than absolute joy in my role as the mommy of the family. I felt as if somehow I was betraying my kids—that I must not love them enough if my every waking desire was not to subvert my own needs for theirs. I expected myself to be Supermom.
But, you know, Supermom doesn’t do laundry.
She doesn’t alter prom dresses or find the perfect shade of lipstick to go with the perfect outfit for a date the teenage daughter has with her biggest crush since 5th grade.
She doesn’t clean up vomit or scoop the kitty litter.
She doesn’t drive the carpool even when she is feeling bitchy and tired of dealing with kids whining over who gets to choose the radio station.
She doesn’t multi-task by rescheduling the dentist appointments for the third time while looking in her cavernous “mom bag” for her debit card in the checkout line at Wal-Mart.
No. Not Supermom.
All she does is fly around in her little costume and swoop in at the last possible minute and solve one problem. One little problem. Get the cat out of the tree? Supermom can do it! Little Timmy stuck in the well? Supermom will fish him out. A nuclear warhead threatens to obliterate the earth? Supermom will use her Superpowers to turn that bad boy into space for a worry-free detonation. Bada Bing, Bada Bam. She is done for the day. She doesn’t even hang around to sign little Susie’s autograph book.
When she has accomplished her one task of the week, she goes back to her hide out and has minions do all the manual labor for her. She puts her feet up, orders a Martini, slightly dirty and heavy on the olives and plays CandyCrush on her kindle fire.
The minions wash the dishes and the clothes and take care of Supercat’s little sandbox “deposits.” The minions take the Supersuit to the dry cleaners and order Chinese takeout. And kid duty? Don’t make me laugh! There are no “super kiddos” because super heroes are by nature mysterious loner types.
Recently I decided I didn’t want to be Supermom. That’s an unrealistic expectation to place on myself. Rather, I’d like to be just Mom.
Now that’s not to say that I don’t occasionally pull off some heroic feet of Supermommy-ness like managing the pick-up and drop-off of five teenage girls for the last minute sleepover my teenage daughter just has to have on the Friday before the big dance or repairing a broken ballet shoe minutes before my daughter’s next appearance on stage. But those are the exception and not the norm in my life.
.So, I learned to cut myself some slack. I learned to ignore the laundry for a moment and have that extra cup of coffee.
I learned to meditate on why my favorite cat seems to stare at one spot on the floor for an eternity (I don’t think she ever blinks).
I learned to occasionally allow myself to take a well-deserved nap. Sometimes I ignore the fact that the dishwasher needs to be unloaded and that the dust bunnies are planning an insurrection. I have a teenager and she can help me tackle those chores on the weekends. (It is my fervent belief that since you cannot duct tape them to a chair when they hit puberty, God must have meant for them to be your chore elves so you can work some of the angst out of them with menial labor!)
I might even have that martini—dependent, of course, on when the last time Mr. Hubby got out of our dry county and went to the liquor store in a nearby town. If the Martini is a no go, I may go all out and have a Starbucks Cappuccino with a double shot of coconut flavoring. At any rate, I will nap, I will yawn, I will curl up with one of those blasted kittens and I will sleep the sleep of the eternally exhausted.