There are so many places to screw up while raising kids. How can anyone be "ON" all the time? I go to some of those PTO events and look at the Super Moms and think they must have all their shit together. They have the happiest kids and homes on Earth. At one time I'm pretty sure I was one of those Super Moms. I did it all and put in an extreme amount of time and effort into every little detail in regards to child rearing. Although I only had one or two kids at the time and I was ten years younger.
Over the years I've turned toward the dark side and may even be termed a slacker mom. I don't volunteer nearly as much as I should. I haven't made a lunch for any of my kids in five years. I could care less what they wear to school, and I'm always surprised when their school pictures come home and have to ask, "Yikes - you wore THAT?" I haven't read the school or PTO update in weeks. I always miss the sign up for clubs they want to join. We don't do the fundraisers unless it only involves writing a check - just can't bring myself to solicit family and neighbors with candy bars and wrapping paper they don't want.
Lately I've been wondering if my kids will look back and long for June Cleaver (from Leave it To Beaver), so I decided to put my best foot forward and be Super Mom for a week. I can do anything for a week, right? Every time I would normally say, "nope, can't help, I don't have time, or it's your homework/job/assignment, you figure it out," instead, I decided to say yes, and I can help to EVERYTHING. Here is the laundry list of what I did last week to transform myself into Super Mom:
- I actually watched my son in his soccer, hockey and gymnastics classes. I didn't work on anything else during my free period. I watched every boring minute.
- Four out of the five days, miscellaneous items were left at home (homework, lunch, water bottles, etc.) - I brought them to school and never brought up how irresponsible my children were once.
- I made healthy lunches for all five kids. I chopped peppers, cucumbers and carrots for dipping. I made gourmet sandwiches and salads. It took me 1.5 hours every night to complete the masterpieces.
- When the high school PPA called for help, I volunteered to deck the halls for homecoming. I also made 250 rice krispie squares for the kids to snack on while they decorated the gym.
- I tackled the Student Council poster for my 5th grader with great enthusiasm.
- Not a game, meet or practice was missed - which gave me the opportunity to bring an extra water bottle, power bar and smile to every event.
- I actually made dinner three nights in a row (not a super mom feat for most moms, but monumental for me.)
- When my 14 year old asked me to fire up the laser cutting machine to cut out letters (at 10:30 at night) that she needed for the next day , I said, "SURE"
- The kindergarten center needed volunteers for picture day, so I fixed hair and wiped dirty faces for three hours.
- I did 27 loads of laundry and folded every item, matched all the socks and placed them outside each laundry abuser's door.
- Instead of brushing my 5 year old off to one of his sisters when it came to bed time and book reading, I did it all myself no matter how exhausted I was.
- When I'm normally in bed by 10:00, that was when my day began with catching up on e-mails, laundry, dishes and cleaning.
Yes, I was a super mom for one full week. What did I get out of it? Gut wrenching disappointment. My son had no idea I was watching him in class and didn't really care. When I emptied lunch boxes that I lovingly filled the night before, I was so sad to see them half-filled with the healthy vegetables that took hours to chop. When I asked how the posters and laser-cut letters were received by my children's classmates, they responded, "it was fine." On my third night of making dinner, more than 3/4 was left because they didn't like it.
Two days after combing all those Kindergartner's hair, I receive a note home from school describing the latest lice breakout. I haven't stopped scratching since.
Intertwined in this weeks dirty laundry were a number of still folded CLEAN clothes. I washed, dried, sorted and folded last week, but they were too lazy to put it all away and it just ended up back into the laundry basket. On the last night of reading to my 5 year old, he asked for his sister to come back because she doesn't stop multiple times to make him read some of the words.
And finally, staying up late and getting up early caused me to be utterly exhausted. Since I was super mom, I tried to put on a good front and happy face, but internally I was crazed. I was crabby when responding to e-mails or phone calls and resented every time someone asked me for anything. I smiled to everyone's face, but muttered profanities under my breath.
All this proved to me is that being Super Mom isn't all it's cracked up to be. I asked my kids if they noticed a difference, and not one of them did. I was stretched beyond belief and the only glimmer of appreciation was from my oldest who said, "boy, I really like you making lunches. You haven't done that since I was in Kindergarten. It's awesome."
So I'm ditching most of the one-week efforts, but I think I'll keep the lunch part. As much as it pains me, that was the only thanks I've heard in a very long time.
The bottom line is, Super Moms can keep their title - it's not worth it. I'll make what I can special, but I'm not going to beat myself up about things I've missed. I think my kids would rather have me a little more relaxed with dirty dishes and clothes than a picture perfect household.
I am NOT June Cleaver. However, in real life the woman that played her, Barbara Billingsley, was a heavy smoker and divorced by the time her two real sons were two and four. Yep, being Super Mom is definitely over-rated.