I just Googled my kids homework. I'm not even kidding. That is what full time work has reduced me to... A pile of mush.
Why are there so many instances in a day that you can be just be a complete failure at things? I mean, I worked all day today, and had a really excellent day at work. Then I came home to the second shift and I feel like I've failed at every turn. Maybe I'm tired, maybe I'm just annoyed, maybe it's because I can't remember the last time I cooked a real meal for my kids. And why does that feel like it's still my responsibility?
Why didn't any of you working moms tell me the truth about second shift? The shift you clock into when you leave your away from home job and start your at home job? You know the one where the school spirit shirt that your daughter is supposed to wear the next day is still in the laundry basket from last week? And of course she can't wear regular clothes because she will be for sure the only kid not in an ugly neon green school spirit shirt? Why didn't you working moms tell me that I needed to buy two? And why didn't you tell me that at some point both would be dirty, and the whole reason for two shirts would go out the window?
Not that any of that has happened... And also side note: why on God's green earth do we need special mid week school spirit shirts? Is it just to make failures out of ordinarily good mothers?
Second shift is for the birds. The first time I heard the term it was on a documentary about the women's movement, and some feminists that were working outside of the home in the seventies were talking about first shift (work) and second shift (at home work). Little did they know back then that second shift for us millennial moms was going to be so damn chaotic. Gone are the days of letting our kids play until the street lights come on. Gone are the days of latch key kids. Gone are the days of store bought, box made cupcakes and cookies, store bought Halloween costumes at the Fall festival, and the simple carving of pumpkins. Those seventies feminists are laughing at us as we struggle to do all the things. In their day, having a job and a child were more than enough. In fact they were a success.
In case you are wondering, I had a working mom, and she did a lot. She did make cakes from scratch, but only three times a year. She trimmed a magnificent Christmas tree each year with what we had. She bought whatever Halloween costume of my desire, and if I wanted something impossible, she found someone to make it. For years she brought home a bunny cake at Easter that had black jelly bean eyes, a furry coat of shredded coconut, and perfect paper ears sticking out the side of its head. Did she slave away in her time off from her full time job to make that beloved bunny cake? Hell no. She ordered out. Still, I loved it all. Every store bought treat, every department store Halloween costume, every single bunny cake made by someone else's mom. It never bothered me a bit. And perhaps she had some second thoughts about her job as a mother, but at the time she was a working mother among many. Everyone brought box mix cupcakes to the bake sale back then. No one questioned a single hand iced cupcake.
How funny, in my motherhood that the tables have turned so drastically. Today it's not enough for me to work, or for me just to stay home. Today I have to work, and "stay home", and make my mantle look like I own a pumpkin patch using scrap book paper and left over jelly jars. It's not enough to bake butterscotch brownies from scratch for the bake sale, sign over your Friday afternoons for the PTC, and make sure that you make it to the fabric store after a nine hour day at the office so you can start that Halloween costume you swore you weren't going to make. It's not enough. These days it seems it's never going to be enough.
But, this year it has to be. This year box mix cakes and Halloween costumes from Costco have to be enough. Because this is the first year that I won't be the room mother. The first year that I won't work at Snack Shack. It's the first year that I almost forgot picture day. The year I forgot to take the jog-a-thon money on the right day for the right prizes. It's the first year that I'm not on top of things one hundred percent. And that has to be ok. The fact that I can get both kids to school and me to work fully dressed, hair done, and make up, is enough. In fact it's the biggest feat of my mothering life. The fact that I can pack lunches and make breakfast and get both kids in the car before seven forty five is enough. More than that it's a win. The fact that I'm writing this post, on Wednesday night, while second shift is in full force, is enough.
Sooner or later us millennial moms are going to have to get smart and say to hell with it. To hell with the fall decorations, and the cake pops that look like ghosts, and the hand made Elsa dresses. At some point we have to say, it's enough. What I've got, what I've done, what I'm doing it's enough. Because it has to be enough. Even if enough means McDonald's for the third night in a row, or grilled cheese again, or even powdered donuts for breakfast. I've got my kids, I've got my husband, I've got my sanity (sort of). And that's plenty.
I just Googled my kids homework. It's what millennial moms do. In fact it's the mark of success for millennial moms. Trust me.