I'm supposed to be that mom.
You know the one. The one that has it together. The one who has homemade chocolate chip cookies waiting when her kids get home from school. Somehow said cookies are still ooey, gooey and just a tiny bit warm on the inside.
I was all set to let Valentine's kind of slip on by, what after killing myself to help Ethan with his wax museum project.
He was Albert Einstein:
As we were running out the door to make it to the school on time, I remembered I still had a mustache template from Sam's "mustache day" at preschool the week before. Otherwise, good 'ol Al would've been facial hair-less.
And yes, I did cut it out of paper, slap some tape on the back of it and stick it to his face.
Imagine trying to give a verbal presentation with piece of curly-q'd paper stuck to your upper lip.
Clearly I failed in the mustache department, but we actually did work on his poster together. And by "together" I mean, I told him what to cut, where to stick stuff and which pictures would look best.
But I'm a total control freak. And while I really don't consider myself "competitive" there's something that happens when I know something is going on display. I don't want my kid to be the one whose poster looks like a 3rd grader made it.
Because that would reflect badly on me.
And yes, my friends, that is nothing but pride.
Ugly, ugly pride.
There's this thing in the back of my mind that says "it's okay to send him with a plain shoebox for Valentine's Day. You don't really have time for much else." (We had to do our Valentine's and go to dance class and get homework done and everyone bathed all in the space of about four hours last night. It was fairly brutal since I was single-parenting with Adam working late...)
I'd resigned myself to being okay with whatever Ethan came up with.
And then I got on instagram and saw the killer creations my friends were sending with their kids. We're scrapbookers, mind you, we're prone to killer creations.
And I had nothing. No ideas. No supplies. No time.
Ethan told me about some of the boxes that had come in and suddenly I realized if I sent him with his barely decorated, handwritten and misspelled "Valintine" box, my kid would be the lame one.
Not on my watch.
So, I did what I could muster, which by this time of night wasn't much.
A lame monster box made out of old scrapbooking paper.
And that feeling of inferiority washed over me once again. I'm failing as a mom. It actually put me in a bad mood, so even when I woke up, confronted again with jagged teeth and hand drawn googly eyes, I was annoyed with myself.
How could I fail my kid like this?
But as I packed his lunch, I decided to tuck a little love note inside, something I used to do daily, but have gotten away from in my haste. I wanted it to be a surprise, but he came in as I was writing Sophia's.
"What that?" he asked.
"Oh, just a note."
"Who's it for?"
"Oh." I could hear the disappointment in his voice. Then, he said, "Did you write me one too?"
I glanced up at him, and I saw hopefulness in his eyes. I smiled--my first one of the morning--"Yes, Ethan. I wrote you one too."
He let out a fist-thumping "YES!" grabbed his backpack and said, "I'm going to read it in the car."
He stuffed the lunchbox into his backpack and ran to get his coat, leaving me standing there, ashamed that I'd let my own pride dictate my mood for the morning. I was honestly worried about what the other moms and teachers would think, me sending Ethan to school with a lamely decorated Valentine box and pre-made Valentine's. Never mind that they had a spy decoder with them. I didn't make them myself.
They weren't good enough.
But none of that was about my kid. It was about me and what people would think of me. And that's ugly.
And not how I want to live. I want to hone in on my children's needs, their emotions, their excitement...and not let my own concerns about being the mom I've created in my own head come into play.
Slowly, surely, I'll get there...little by little, surrendering bits and pieces and becoming okay with my own imperfection...
How about you? Do you succumb to the pressures of SuperMom?