okay, that's it - I quit the supermom gig. Admittedly, parts of that gig won't quit me, but aside from that (to quote Mary Jr), I'm done.
We were driving in New York, on our way to visit one family nodule before stopping to see another, when a relative called to inquire about the menu for a birthday party I was catering. Will there be chocolate cake, he asked, because she loves chocolate cake - she should really have chocolate cake, he pursued the matter, vehemently. I fumed for days, furious that he'd missed the point, that the goal was to compromise what was desired with what was safe, how dare he dictate at that late hour...and, anyway, yes I was bringing chocolate cake.
Not the point.
Somehow, I missed the concept again this past week, when I schlepped the kids to the library. There was David Haines, a British songwriter/composer, doing a little concert. We poked our heads in and decided to risk it. The music was great (the Eldest was disappointed by a lack of songs about blood, the composer promised to rectify the situation) and the Toddles came home itchy after an encounter with a kid and his bag of Pirate's Booty - and couldn't sleep for three nights afterwards from the flaring eczema and itchiness.
I walked around the house, muttering and furious, for the next few days until Thursday, when I got up, yanked on some clothes and clomped off to the local branch of the library, Toddles in tow. I had a firm, clear conversation with the children's librarian (who herself has allergies), and we figured out a safe-ish way for the Toddles to go to his first sing-along. He loved it and he slept fine that night, which I loved.
Okay, so yes, a triumph. But missing the point.
I want to be the mother who never yells, who gives her children love and nurturing and the environment they need. I wanted to be the mother who always responds to the teachers' emails, the room mother, the one who can shoulder anything gracefully and is always, always responsible. I have a friend like that, and frankly I'm in awe. Good for her, but too bad for me - it's just not working.
Right now, I'm a pot of angry, always at a simmer. I hate that I bitch about money to anyone who will listen, that I whine about allergies, that I seem to be unable to discuss topics unrelated to my kids, and I'm bored bored bored with talking about that. When did supermom fall apart so completely in my head? I swear she was there for a while, wearing her spandex and uber-supportive bra, and I'm pretty sure she was having creative sex, too. Lots. On her spick span shiny kitchen countertops, next to her perfectly folded laundry.
I've figured it out, though: I went off the tracks this time when I stopped focussing on my family. When I was working on trying to make our normal a happy one, a functional one (loosely defining the word 'functional,' of course), things worked. Better. But when I started trying to do everything that everyone else can do (going to parties, kid-oriented events, community activities), eating what others eat (can you tell it's gluten/nut-free? vegan? No, really! it is!), then my stress levels shot sky high.
Soooo, I quit. Won't do it, can do it, just won't. I grieve for you, and the restrictions in your life, my mother told me. Thanks, Mum. But I think this is one time when fighting those restrictions will actually cost me more than I'd gain.
But we're going to that singalong next week... and I wonder how long it will be until I write another version of this post? Doing it all is seductive, a power trip that proves that you can rise above it all. For a little while, anyway.
deep inside the toddler brain, wheels are turning. In five dimensional space.
Mama: where did the day go?
Toddles, looking thoughtful, points up the stairs: go! there! day! (pause) daddy!
Toddles, looks at highchair tray: rice! bowl! muck! more muck!
translation: The day went up there. With Daddy. I have puffed rice cereal in my bowl, but I need milk. More milk.
He's a little unclear on the concept, but very definite on the idea of exclamation points.