This is how it all went down…I had just given birth and because my son was 11 pounds, I delivered my dignity along with him leaving me disabled for weeks, unless heavily medicated. It was a preschool morning and I somehow managed to get dressed, as well as the kids, and then made my sore ass and their cute butts down the stairs, out the door, and into the car. We even made it there on time. It was amazing.
Unfortunately, there, after all this effort, instead of a cheer squad ready set to celebrate my achievement with high-fives, was the parent sign-up sheet for the Halloween party that was scheduled for the following week. This is not the stuff that dreams are made of. I fail miserably as a cute mom. The very mention of Pinterest gives me anxiety and, on occasion, makes me hostile (you have been warned). I began to sweat, but fortunately was quickly pulled from my place of fear by my unreasonably competitive spirit (thanks,mom). Damned if I'm gonna opt out like some flake, my inner monologue asserted,and I approached the sheet, handwritten in perfect preschool printing, with my head held high.I scanned the options (cupcakes, cookies and other things that require skill) and then relieved, my eyes zeroed in on the cheese and cracker platter. It was a cop-out, but it was a deal. We always have cheese, we have a pantry full of crackers and I felt that regardless of my current state (i.e. inability to perform basic bodily functions) I should at least be able to manage that. No one will even think less of me, I thought, considering it was pretty obvious I had bigger issues to contend with (as evidenced by full brief adult diapers visible above the waist of my sweatpants).
As it turns out, I managed to forget that I had committed myself to the easiest contribution and on the day-of I noticed on the calendar that I had scribbled: "Be cute for preschool," in what looked like a menacing, drunken script. With minutes to spare I mad-frantic hacked up some cheddar and threw it in, of all things, a Ziplock bag, complete with a paper plate (admittedly, weak choices) and a bag of Stone Wheat Thins. Not quite what I had envisioned providing for the merriment of my son's first preschool celebration, but I assumed it would be good enough. Needless to say, whilst funneling into the classroom I couldn't help, but observe the amazing spread of wholesome and delectable treats making there way in, held proudly above the makers shoulders as they unzipped the coats of their children with one hand. I cringed, my entire body shrunk, when I saw the other mother's cheese platter complete with a variety of fromage choices cut out in seasonal shapes and figures (we're talking about pumpkins and acorns here people) with a wide selection of cracker pairings attractively displayed on a carved wooden serving dish.
Head down, I slinked to the food table, infant car seat bumping along my shin as I shuffled my pathetic remains forward. I casually placed my offering on the table providing no eye contact and no conversation, so not to draw attention to myself and in hope of it all going unnoticed. I left embarrassed and upon return home, I debriefed with my father, who had arrived for his shift as assigned support person, present to intervene should I fatigue, hemorrhage, or melt down to the point of being unable to parent. Another mother failure, I reported. Sucked it up hard at today's cute mom attempt, I confessed. Patiently, he heard my ridiculousness and shallow musings about the mom race.
Fortunately, by pick up time, I had snapped out of it. Eff it, I had decided. In the classroom I confidently collected my child and scanned the food table to see if any leftovers required gathering. There it was… my 'effort', untouched. Even the children knew it was a flop. I shrugged it off and then marched over, scooped it up, and made our way to the car. My father having accompanied me for the ride was still in the car with baby. He wisely remained silent as I wrestled my sugar-high boy into his car seat and then collapsed into the driver's side with a whine- rejected snack in lap.A few minutes later he broke the silence. "So..." he began, tentatively, "It all came back."
Heather is a married mother of two and an allied health professional living in the greater Vancouver area. She is the author of motheryourbusiness.com and writes because words make her happy.