Not Your Average Soccer Mom

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I’m not your average soccer mom, mainly because my kids don’t do soccer.  My nine year old does karate, and he recently brought home a trumpet which I have vowed will not make me crazy at all.

Is there such a thing as a karate and trumpet mom?

Emily is almost five (oh man how it hurts to say that, as opposed to saying she is four and a half) and she thinks she would like to do dance.  But being the crunchy and neurotic freak that I am, I am too scared to sign her up for any old dance class, because I am fairly certain it will give her the same self-loathing and body issues that I had as a dancer for about 20 years before succumbing to a pudgy middle age of motherhood and sedentary work.

So I haven’t signed her up for anything yet because I can’t bear to think that the joy she feels for moving her body will ever be squashed or warped into something it shouldn’t be.

And I can’t lie to you.  The trumpet is in fact driving me crazy.

It’s a slip shod style of motherhood I try to embrace, and for which I cannot find a label.  It also bears zero resemblance to the perfect mother I thought I was before squeezing these two critters out of my now unrecognizable lady bits.

Meanwhile, I can’t decide if we should spend a third night eating leftovers so they don’t go to waste, or if I should cook up the tortellini Trader Joe made for me. . .  It’s humid here and I really do not feel like cooking, so I’m thinking it will be leftovers for me and the hubs and Lunchables or English Muffin pizzas for the kids.

Yes.  I feed my kids Lunchables.

And also yes, I make them separate dinners than what I make for me and the hubs.  I know, I know.  I’m breaking all kinds of “rules” here, but as a working mom, I would rather we all sit down and enjoy each other’s company than endure tantrums at dinner time.

Also, we don’t always eat dinner together, even when we are all home together.  But usually we are all eating at a vaguely similar time, just in different rooms.  We call it parallel eating.  I like to think of it as an ingenious parenting hack as opposed to a ginormous parenting fail.

Although it still makes me nervous.

But it doesn’t take much to make me nervous.  I’ve been prone to anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember.  Add to my already neurotic disposition that I am a social worker, and you can pretty much guarantee that I’ve diagnosed everyone in my family with just about anything possible.

A lot of people don’t get it.

Like my perfect Coworker who grew up in an intact family and has probably never worried about the sky falling in her life.  She made a crack that she had never met someone as anxious as me.  I think she meant it in a tender and friendly way, but do you know what it did?

If you guessed that the comment made me more anxious about being anxious in front of people, then you win the cookie.  But it is a keebler elf cookie.  I do not have time to make cookies from scratch.

One of the biggest compliments I ever got in my life was when a colleague said, “I always forget that you are actually anxious, because you always seem to have it all together.”

I try to channel this compliment on my darker days, and it makes me feel quite ravishing, but in a photoshopped kind of way, because if one thing is for certain it is this:  I do not have it all together.  Not by a long shot.  And it makes me crazy.

It makes me cringe when I hear mommy labels passed around. . .  Tiger Mom.  Helicopter Mom.  Bad Mom.  Attachment Mom.  Drill Sergeant Mom.

I mean, is anyone really just one label?

Sometimes I wish I could be just one label.  It would be so much easier.

I suppose that the label “Good Enough Mom” comes close enough to describing me, but like Dorothy said to the Wizzard, “I’m afraid there isn’t a label for me in that bag of yours.”  I’m paraphrasing.  We actually have not watched the Wizzard of Oz in recent years because it terrifies my daughter and then none of us sleep for weeks.

Oh, and apparently “Wizard” only has one “Z”.  Who knew?

Probably that Drill Sergeant Mom.  She knows everything.  (Cue exaggerated eye roll.)

How about “Mixed Bag of Contradictions Intense Love and Inconsistent Energy”?  Is that a title worthy of me?

I love my kids.  Hopefully that counts for something, if not everything.  And hopefully we will all laugh about all the times I’ve yelled and stomped off because I am so frigging overwhelmed by how much I love them and by how much pressure I am under from all conceivable angles to get it all right.  Motherhood.  Marriage.  Work.  Laundry.

And no I don’t sort my laundry.

And I think I’ve decided to do the leftovers.  I don’t feel like cooking and we have karate tonight after all.

Still with me?  Congratulations.  You have just taken a hike through the meandering mind of an overwhelmed working mom whose life feels almost perpetually in a state of careening chaos, if not lurking danger.

In short, I don’t really know who I am, other than to say I’m not your average soccer mom.

Or rather, that I’m not a soccer mom at all.

Posted as part of the WordPress Daily Prompt

Hike

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8 responses »

  1. I know words won’t help your anxiety, but for what it’s worth I’m certain you’re a very good mom. All those obnoxious labels and all the pressure does nothing but feed those anxieties for so many women, and I hate that women are doing that to each other. I’m really thankful that the time when our kids were young was before the explosion of social media – it would have worried me sick trying to measure up to all those “perfect” moms out there.

  2. I very much identify.
    One time, my boss at the time (at a counseling non-profit and my boss was in business, not mental health) said to me, “Huh. You’d think that therapists would be able to get along better with each other, you know?” Like we’re somehow superhuman and don’t all have our own emotional baggage like everyone else.
    Thanks for the post.

  3. This post hits the nail on the proverbial head so many times that I’ve lost count. I’m sure other parents have labeled me some awful things because they see us on a very off day. I’m learning that with each day & each anxiety filled experience I have to let go of caring about what others think of me as a parent or person for that matter. My kids know that they are loved & that their Mama would give them her heart if they needed it. That’s what matters. Yes, I screw up constantly & I am no Super Star PTA Mom, but who cares. My kids know that they’re safe, loved, & wanted.
    I know your anxiety can strangle you at times & you feel more like the word failure fits how you are as a mom than any other word, but all you have to do to know that you’re a good Mom is look at your kids. They have good hearts & they are already good people. They aren’t doing that all on their own because they need an example & that’s what you are for them. Your kids know that you do your best for them & even when you’re ready to pull all of your hair out over hearing your son practice his instrument AGAIN. He knows that you love him & really, that’s everything. Love is everything & you give that in abundance without thinking to your kids.
    Now, if you let your kids bring home some zombie baby or bride of chunky doll, that’s insane. I am totally kidding! 😉

    The title I’d say that fits you quite well is Loving Mom, yeah, the chaos is in that title too because isn’t love a little chaotic? Just a thought. 😉 So let it be written; so let it be done N Shit. (See what I did there?)

  4. I love this. So relatable. I hide my anxiety so freaking well I’m convinced it’s pathological all on its own. A holder-together-in-public. Is that a diagnosis? Seriously. I have worked in mental health but never got my master’s because I knew I was too screwed up to actually help others who were struggling. I commend you. Maybe we’re just overly aware of our shortcomings and all these other people are happy living in denial. I do a lot of home cooking…and then my kids eat lunch at school because I can’t get everything in the lunch boxes in a timely manner. Mostly around here we high-five each other when we make it through the day. Lots of beauty; lots of mundane; lots that’s anxiety provoking. Life with kids and work is full and deep for sure.

  5. Thanks for this post. Something I’ve been feeling lately. Overwhelmed with trying to juggle everything and stay calm. Haven’t resorted to making separately meals, yet, but this is an idea. 🙂 Prior to having my daughter I always thought I’d love to be a soccer mom, but now, thinking about all that it entails, don’t think that will happen. My daughter is almost 4, and I haven’t enrolled her in any extra curricular activities. Why? Primarily because on the weekends or after work, I am simply exhausted. I don’t think I could push it any further without falling over. I am glad I am not the only one feeling like this…

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