Social media makes me feel better about myself. Not many can say that, but rarely a day goes by that I don't see a post on Instagram or Facebook that is showing the min numbing difficulties surrounding motherhood. Posts that highlight the trials and tribulations that fell the modern mother. Spilled milk, late for school, refused dinners, literal wall climbing, mothers locking themselves in the bathroom for a moment of peace. It's all out there. And I love it. It's changed motherhood for me. It's made me realize that I'm not alone. Even when I feel alone in the chaos and disappointment, I can see proof that I'm not. That sense of camaraderie and community compels me to share more of myself. Leads me to put more of my own failures on the line so that just in case some one feels like they are royally effing up this thing called motherhood, they will know they are not.
Because at any given time I'm one upping you in that department. At any given moment on earth there are a dozen other mothers effing up too. Because you are not alone. I'm with you. I am always with you.
Two weeks ago I posted this picture of our "100 Days of School" Project. Let me side bar for a minute and quote my best friend who said, "100 days of school projects make me want to slit my throat". I can't deny that isn't a factual statement. I didn't celebrate the 100th day of school and I turned out fine, my parents turned out fine too. In any case, this new generation of children, along with this new generation of parents, have the 100th day of school to celebrate with projects and food crafts and in my case, another way to royally fail as a mother.
In my defense I had this project planned out for weeks. I had made a similar project for Caitlin's 100th day of school, so I knew it would be quick and easy. I had bought all of the supplies the week before along with all the Valentine's Candy to get us to Valentine's Day. You see, I was on it, I was organized, or so I thought. As it turns out, I can't read letters from the teacher very well. I thought the project was due on Thursday the 3rd. It was due on the 3rd, but the 3rd was Wednesday. Of course I didn't realize this until we were in the car on our way to school and I said it's due tomorrow the 3rd, and Caitlin said, "No mom, today is the 3rd". Shit.
I was so angry at myself. I ranted and raved and muttered choice words under my breath. I almost cried, then proceeded to apologize to Mackenzie over and over. She finally said, "Mommy it's okay, just bring it tomorrow". In my mind I had ruined the 100th day of school, which for the record wasn't until Friday so I still had a few days. Which didn't matter to me, because I still felt like an asshole. I walked Mackenzie to class and did what any self respecting parent would do... I lied.
I lied to a kindergarten teacher about forgetting "our" homework. Just like I did to my college professors when I drank too much the night before and didn't bring in the paper that was due. This time I couldn't blame it on my printer breaking, or my alarm not going off in enough time, or any of those college excuses. This time I lied and blamed myself for forgetting the project at home, and having to go to an appointment that didn't exist so I could go home and put it together, then bring it after school at pick up. The real truth was, the project: 100 lollipops, a Styrofoam ball and a galvanized bucket: were still sitting in the Walmart bag in my office. The truth was I thought I had one more day to complete a project I had known about for three weeks. The truth was, there were 101 more important things that had to be done before I could concentrate on the 100 days of school project. Damn. How's that for the truth?
It all worked out. The teacher "believed" my story, I say that loosely. I'm pretty sure she could see right through me, but was nice enough not to question it. The project got their before Friday. The kids loved the lollipops. Everyone was a winner. Mackenzie learned that her mother is human before she is anything else, and will probably make mistakes her entire life. I learned that no matter how organized I am, I will always have to prioritize, procrastinate, and sometimes lie to a kindergarten teacher. I learned that I am not alone in motherhood fails. For every fail I have there are two or three others failing at something too. The degree of failure is relative to the individual mother, meaning that one's spilled milk is another's flushed mascara in the toilet or boycott of foods that are orange. The next evening at Girl Scouts the mom's pow-wowed for a bit and I told them my 100 Days story, and we all laughed. Everyone had a story about that particular week. Missed opportunities, mistakes made in haste, forgetfulness, cereal for dinner. No one is immune to the little failures, those little blips that knock us off balance just so. It's the life of a parent, and certainly the life of a mother. We recover, we always recover, but it's most important to know that we are not alone. We are never alone in this journey.
Because even when you feel you have effed it up royally before eight o'clock in the morning... Girl, I'm here too. Effing it up with you.
Because you are not alone, and I will always be with you.