I walked into the gym for Thalia’s preschool class holiday party the other day and I realized, man, I still suck at this.
I can hold my own in a meeting, at a dinner, in a foreign country, in a ballroom of 1000 women at a conference. But stick me with my kid, acting as a mom, in a room with 15 other kids and their moms–I absolutely lose all ability to behave like a someone who’s actually been parenting now nearly 3 1/2 years.
Suddenly I’m second-guessing everything I’m doing–and worse, how it might be perceived. And lord, it pains me to admit that.
Hm, Thalia is making her own gingerbread house. Am I suppose to be doing it with her? Am I supposed to be correcting her like that mom? Am I supposed to show her how to make it pretty and symmetrical instead of just sitting here going, “good job honey!” with every Necco wafer that dangles precariously off the frosting roof? And what about the pizza? Every other kid is eating pizza. Thalia won’t sit down and eat. Should I make her? Should I just make a show of making her? Should I just resign myself to giving her a few crackers and call it a night? Should I declare really loudly to no one in particular she had a reallllly big, late lunch?
The patron saint of insecurity smiling down upon me.
It’s funny, as much time as I spend writing about my children and playing the role of professional mom here in these blog parts, I consistently feel ill-equipped to actually perform that role in front of a room full of people. I mean, I can’t even get my stroller through a door. Now I’m supposed to parent in front of other moms? Moms who seem to actually do it pretty well themselves?
Any day now, I’m waiting for someone to rescind my Official Parenting ID Card.
“I wouldn’t worry about it,” was Nate’s advice. “I’m sure they don’t really care what you’re doing.”
Oh, men and their silly truths getting in the way of a good bout of self-flagellation.
I’ve mentioned before that I may be a type A person but I’m a type B mom. I’m never going to be the mom who bakes the best brownies for the bake sale or remembers that Thalia should be wearing a hat because it’s 2 degrees outside with the windchill. (We’ll just pull your hood up real tight – yeah, like that, honey!) I’d be great at reading to the class; just don’t ask me to be the person who coordinates the calendar of when everyone reads to the class.
You should have heard the silence after the class mom asked me if I wanted to join up with her back in September.
“Um,” I stammered. “You do not want me to be the class mom. I will make you look bad. I will be doing everything last minute and even then after you’ve asked me 16 times. I will be the mom that all the non-class moms are calling going, um, where’s that thing you promised you’d do? And I’d beg for forgiveness and I’d give you my list of 100 other things I have going on, and you’d be sympathetic for about a month and after that, you’d just fire me.”
“Oh that’s fine,” she laughed. “I’m not really class mom material either.”
But she is.
(She really is.)
I am trying to just recognize and accept that I am laid-back mom, hear me roar. And I have two most excellent children to show for it.
Sometimes that’s the only reminder I have that I’m doing something right here.