Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

I'm not cut out for this mom stuff

Does reading about other peoples' lives in shambles make you feel better about your own life? Perhaps this blog post is for you.

I guess it started last night, though honestly, it started the day I became a mom. I was sad at that point to realize that there is not a magic responsibility switch that is turned on when one becomes a parent. Anyway, yesterday I returned from work at 9pm to a sparkling clean apartment, which SR had accomplished while watching the kids, leaving me feeling both happy and guilty. Perhaps it was his allusion to ex-wife being a stay at home mom, perhaps it was the discussion about my PhD project. "You're directing the largest eye study in the history of Denmark and your strength as a physician is anything but administration and organisation" says SR with a sneaky smile. "I feel bad for you."

But I slept great and woke up to pancakes, which SR had made. As a husband, he's not half bad. But then he was off to a 3 day course to return on Friday night. And that's probably when it really began. Natali came up the stairs from outside while was in my see-through pajamas. "My bike isn't here! I forgot it at school yesterday." Well, isn't that nice, I thought. I had no time to drive her to school. She had to walk. Granted it is good for kids to walk, it is not cool to show up 20 minutes late to school. I imagined the teachers shaking their heads and picturing the evil step-mom.

Then, after a lunch time meeting, I had this sinking feeling. Tonight was the first night of swimming for both of the kids. The start of a new season. And I had forgotten to sign them up. I went to the website and every single class was booked. I started getting tears in my eyes. I remember to sign myself up for so many races and I forgot about my kids' most important after-school activity. I was desperately mad at myself. I knew SR would be so angry with me. What do I do when I get down on my mom skills? While most moms would clean or do something productive, I left work early (part of the joy of being the boss) and decided to go on an angry bike ride. But first I needed to download some new angry music, er I mean, the most poppy indierock I could find, of course. And then I needed to eat an angry pancake. I went on the windiest bike ride in the world. And got hit by the rear view mirror of a Vespa. I was so mad. My life sucks. I'm an idiot mom and my arm hurts. Then I ran to get the Lorax with the baby jogger. While biking and running, other moms might think of arts and crafts to do with their kids or what to make for dinner. I, on the other hand, made my tentative list of my top 10 favorite albums of all time.

By the time I got back, I felt better. I'd just take the kids to swimming anyway and see what happened. This is what SR would call a typical Sea Legs Girl move. Pretending I'm too clueless to be organized. I was leaving to pick up Natali when a nurse from my study called me desperately: "Are you coming to help? It's my first day and I can't log onto the computer." Oh no! I had marked my calendar wrong and forgotten I had a new employee working today. I had trained her, but certainly hadn't planned on leaving her completely alone on her first day. I drove quickly by and solved the computer problem and apologized for not being able to stick around as I had to take the kids to swimming. Er, that was, if they would be allowed to swim. Then step daughter called. "You're an hour late to pick me up!". "What? I thought we had said 4:30?" I said, already feeling terrible. Whenever there is a doubt, it is my fault. A rule of thumb in our family.

The kids and I arrived at the pool. The lessons involve me actually swimming at the same time and I somehow had to have the phone on me at the same time. I found a nice old man to guard the phone and tell me if it rang. Miraculously, no one said we didn't belong. When they took attendance on Natali's side of the pool, they actually called her name --- I HAD signed them up after all! Ahh. Life was good again. When I got out of the pool, the phone had of course rung numerous times. Why was it exactly I thought the 80 year old man would have normal hearing?

Natali then wanted burgers for dinner and it was half past 6. "Yes, burgers sound great" - I said, swallowing uncomforably. There aren't those preformed patties here and for me, forming cow beef into a patty is the equivalent of forming a hockey puck out of human muscle. Must come from 10 years of vegetarianism and a thorough course in gross anatomy. I went and got the beef with the Lorax and on the way home, my new nurse employee called and said there was a problem with the retinal camera. I went by with The Lorax and took about a half an hour figuring things out. Meanwhile, Natali was at home starving.

Like I said, I definitely am not cut out for this mom stuff.

I finally got home and formed those burger patties while throwing up in my mouth. And then did what any other good mom would do, let her two year old make his own toast and spread Nutella on it (since he was too hungry to wait for the burger).

And then let the kids eat burgers in front of the tv so there is time to blog.


Lani said...

I'm a stay-at-home Mom, and I like to think everyone has times like that (it helps me sleep at night). The important thing is that you kept trying.

I enjoy reading you blog, I found it while looking for information on running and pregnancy. Thanks for being so open and genuine.

mmmonyka said...

Honestly, I do not know whether I should cry or laugh. Since I am nowhere close to being a mum, I laugh.
Sounds you have some rough days but at the end everyone is happy, right? Who wouldn't prefer Nutella to beef? I would. But on bread. I would eat it with a table spoon.

Ewa said...

"Does reading about other peoples' lives in shambles make you feel better about your own life? Perhaps this blog post is for you."

It does. Thank you. You just made my day look wonderful. I will try to repay you somehow. :)

Hope tomorrow will be better.

mmmonyka said...

I meant Nutella NOT on bread.

Abbie said...

Oh SLG, is it bad that I'm laughing? Only because I see myself in your shoes... forgetting things, feeling selfish at times, questioning my ability to be a mom. It's soooo normal and yet we're only able to say it's normal when we look at other people's lives. When we look at our own we only critique. You're awesome. Live and learn. Or if you don't learn, just live. :)

olga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathleen said...

A couple of points:

1) Being good at organizing people at work doesn't necessarily translate into organizing "stuff." Or kid things, which are much more random.

2) But you've really got two disparate, full-time jobs. When I both worked outside the home and had a baby (who was much easier to manager), I was running around like a headless chicken most of the time. I work from home now, and it would be so much harder if had to go in.

Diana said...

I'm impressed that you made the burgers yourself. Had I had the day you had, I would have thrown in the towel and gone to McDonald's. I too feel slightly bad about laughing, but every paragraph just seemed to add to the comedy of errors which was your day. Try not to get too down on yourself; everyone has days when absolutely nothing seems to go right. I don't believe for a second that you are not a good mom or that you don't care about your kids.
I'll have to put a post up on my blog about one of my breakdown days. I have them often enough, the opportunity should present itself shortly. :)

SteveQ said...

That's still a better day than 99% of mine. Count your blessings.

Kate said...

You are too cut out for the mom thing. Love is all you need. Right?

What a rough day.

If it makes you feel any better:
1) I have been known to steal toilet paper to take home from work b/c we are that desparately out of it and I have no time to go to the store;
2) On my runs, I do not think of crafts or dinner, but instead daydream of all of these amazing races I'm going to sign up and accomplish, like marathons and such, never mind that my longest runs usually top out at about 30 minutes of "light" jogging these days. ; )

sea legs girl said...

Yeah, Steve Q, you are right about counting my blessings. I wouldn't say it was a bad day, just exasperating and a reminder that I'll never be as good of a mom as my mom was, is.

Welcome, Lani and thanks for your thoughts.

Ross said...

You forgot the most important part - the list of top ten albums of all time, as well as the angry bike riding song of the day. :)

Carrie said...

Oh SLG, I love that you posted this. It sounds just like a day that would happen to me.

We just keep slogging through it and try not to lose our minds :) And don't be so angry at yourself, this happens to everyone...except perfect moms and we all hate them!!!

Marathon Princess said...

Thank you for posting this. I first read it a couple days ago when I was feeling the same way. I think all too often moms feel that we can't say we don't feel like we are doing what we should and that we are stressed. I say these things to others and they look at me like I am nuts because I don't have my home live organized and often feel overwhelmed with motherhood. Remember we do the best we can and our kids will be fine in the end.

Lisa said...

Oh, I have sooooo been there! Every mom has. I have had so many moments like that... motherhood can be very guilt-inducing, can't it!

wildknits said...

Ah - the joys of parenting!! Yup - it is a toughie!

As someone said - being with kids is random. You can have the best laid plans and somehow something happens to disrupt them. Combine that with work and... well, chaos can erupt!

There were days when my kids were young where things were so awful that I would send everyone to their rooms (including me) and "restart" the day hoping for a better outcome (kind of like rebooting the computer). This often gave us the time to get a more positive mental outlook on everything and allowed us to move on and not be bogged down by what had gone wrong.

You are cut out for the mom stuff - just in your own unique way.

Kirsten said...

You don't have to be as good a mom as your mom was - you just have to be yourself. Your kids will love you anyway ;-)
We all have those terrible terrible days that just couldn't become worse, but at least we have the ability to run and get it out of the system.....
By the way, I found this site of a vegetarian runner, maybe you would be interested....

SteveQ said...

I forget, have I recommended the Pipettes?