Like any “good” mother I meticulously plan ahead of time all the school functions. I get the school calendar at the beginning of the year and write all the dates in my personal planner. I plan vacations around holidays and school breaks. I check the snack calendar at the beginning of the month and purchase the freshest organic ingredients for their lunches and scheduled snack dates. I plan my kids’ after school routine with a checklist for homework, snack and chores. I remind them of special dress out days and assemblies. I schedule all their after school and childcare activities, all while working about 50+ hours a week. But recently, I forgot about my daughter being Student of the Week at her preschool.
It was 6:36 am and we leave at 7 am. I was brushing my teeth and my stomach tumbled into a knot and I remembered that I never wrote down, and never therefore did, make my daughter’s poster for her Star of the Week show and tell. I forgot about something so important to her and her school. I don’t know how I forgot (maybe because it wasn’t in an email?). I don’t know why I didn’t write it down after her teacher told me last week (maybe because I was rushing from drop off to one of my 4 jobs). But honestly, I didn’t have time to figure out why or learn better for next time. I had 5 minutes to gather family photos, glue them to a poster board and decorate it while simultaneously getting two kids ready and in the car.
But you know what? I did it.
I found the box of photos I printed over the last few years, I asked my older daughter for a glue stick and I used my fancy markers and well practiced hand lettering to bust out a poster I had pulled out from under my bed. I got it done. And I guess I’m sharing this story for three reasons:
- Moms carry the mental load. I don’t care what anyone says. I’m sure there are dads out there who do it, maybe the single dads or maybe really helpful partners, (although, I have one of those and it’s still ME telling my partner about events). I am the one the teacher chooses to tell about events. I am the one who fills out forms and puts my name first one the contact list. I am the one asking for help when I am overwhelmed. And maybe I just need to accept that. But, even if I were to delegate some of these tasks, I don’t see how that’s changing my role as a mother to carry the mental load.
- Moms make mistakes too. We do. It doesn’t matter how hard we work, or how much we plan. Life is busy, and people forget things. The important thing is to forgive ourselves for our mistakes, model that behavior for our children and admit when we mess up and need help. Then, comes the really hard challenge of forgiving ourselves and MOVING ON. We’re all going to be put under daily stress, but how we react to it is what defines us.
- Moms are awesome problem solvers. If I had thrown my husband into the same challenge with the same supplies and time frame, he would have been stressed, pissed and overwhelmed. It would not have turned out as well. I’m not trying to put him down … really, he does a lot! But, this is not where he excels. I think, maybe, it’s because as women we find ourselves improvising frequently enough that it becomes second nature. Whether it’s winging it after a kid pukes all over their shirt or having the in-laws coming in 30 minutes and needing to speed clean. Whatever it is, we’re awesome and resilient and a school poster isn’t going to slow us down or ruin our day.
Moral of the story: plan ahead but be prepared to go with the flow.
…and keep art supplies well stocked!
..and print all those family photos you’ve had saved over the years!