Dear 2014-2015 School Year,
I'm sure it's obvious to both of us that I was that Mom this year. You know the one who forgets the permission slips or loses them all together. The mother who waits until the last possible second to pay for the field trip, the class pictures, to sign the progress reports. I was her, I'll own that. I'll also own the fact that I'm not really sorry about it. I'm not going to apologize for being less than perfect. I'm not going to apologize for not having my shit together. I'm just going to ask that you let it slide.
I see the other Moms. The ones that come to school in their clean jeans and freshly washed hair. They have their toddlers decked out in bows, and I take a minute to morn that kind of mother I once wanted to be. I'm happy for them, I watch them and wonder where they got their cute boyfriend jeans, and wonder how they get them to fit that way. Most mornings I'm in whatever I can pass as business casual, with a pony tail, or erratically flat ironed hair. Some mornings I'm still in my pajamas, or workout clothes, to give off the appearance that I actually work out and take care of myself. Although in reality, I go home and watch Grey's Anatomy in the recliner all day while my kids are at school.
This was a very hard year for me. Kind of like last year but more pressure had built. I started working full time. I lost that extra day off during the week. I stopped volunteering in the classrooms. I stopped checking homework religiously. Most weeks I didn't know if my kid passed her spelling test, or if she even had a test. I spent less time on campus, relying on Dad or Grandma to take the kids to the school library, make sure they got their homework done, to make sure they took the right ingredients to school for the right recipes or projects. I lost more notes and pieces of important paperwork in my pile of crap in the dining room. I forgot to send cereal on cereal day, and occassionally forgot to pack my kids snack for morning recess. That ususally happened on the mornings when she didn't get breakfast either. I know, I never meant for it to get this way either.
This year I forgot about "Twin Day", Picture Day, and somehow lost not one, but two "Character Counts" t-shirts. I really wish you'd stop inventing those special school spirit t-shirt days. I forgot to pay for Spring Pictures for Mackenzie after I worked for a week to help her get her outfit right. I realized a month later when I cleaned off the fridge and noticed the envelope still attached to the flyer, still empty and incomplete. I can only slap my head so many times when I make assholes moves like that.
I didn't send a special class room gift for Halloween, or Thanksgiving, or Christmas. I did make photo cards for Valentine's Day because it was easier than sitting with both girls and hand addressing them. The only party I made it to, I showed up late and missed all the fun. No matter my kid was happy anyway. We even skipped the pumpkin patch this year with preschool and the Girl Scouts. Whatever.
In all the madness, I have to say that the Teachers are what saved us this year. I handed over crying children on countless mornings after losing my voice in epic shoe and hair battles. On those mornings with little time left to cuddle and soothe, the teachers took charge and changed the subjects, helping them look forward to school. I can't thank them enough. I had to accept that I couldn't wipe those tears or hold those hands, because I had to get to work, or drop off another kid. Most mornings I just couldn't shake the feeling that I was royally effing up the entire thing. But the teachers, they swooped in and saved the day.
The sad thing is, I've always wanted to be super mom. I never wanted perfection, but I did enjoy volunteering in the classroom. I have fun making those classroom gifts that I pin on Pinterest. I missed being on campus and knowing what days were twin days and what days were crazy hair days. I like being in the loop, writing down important days in my planner. I've always been the mother that gets the eye roll because I bring the candy bar bats at Halloween and the personalized ornaments at Christmas. But not this year. This year I had to let that go, and while I was sad, I'm wasn't sorry. This year, while becoming that mom, I've also become a better mother. The one who says "aw eff-it, let's be late to school and stop at Starbucks first". I've become the mother who buys the classroom gifts, like individually wrapped hostess cupcakes, which are really like gold to second graders. Honestly, this year Mac took donuts to school for her birthday and Caitlin is taking Jamba Juice smoothies. It was easier and way more exciting that mom's haphazardly iced cupcakes. I've become the mother who sends money in place of my time, realizing that there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing bad or wrong about being that mom. I am her, she is me, and that discovery has been so freeing. There is so much freedom when you let go of all that pressures you. After a year without the luxury of time and weekends off, I'm okay with that now. We should all be okay with being that mom.
It's almost summer, and I'm not sorry to see you go 2014-2015 school year. You were a beast, a challenge, an unforgiving shithead. You gave us your worst and your best. We all had growing pains this year, and I learned a thing or two about myself and about school years in general. For every bad morning, there were two or three really good ones, where I didn't yell, where we all got to school/work on time. Thankfully my kids didn't notice much. They were too busy learning, playing, and growing up. I can't promise much will change next year. I'm still me, and my kids will still be late on most days. The best I can do is promise that they will be dressed, be wearing shoes, and be ready to learn. Just don't be surprised if I'm still in last nights make up.
Have a great Summer,