The other day I was catching up with all the folks on my blogroll.

I read/watched this over at Larry James’ Urban Daily – and it caught my breath. Here I’ve been all caught up in my own muddling of motherhood, and BAM! It made me stop and revisit some of my thought patterns of late. I mean, it doesn’t make my angst any less real – I still worry that my kiddos are somehow being damaged because I don’t fit the societal mold of just what Mommy should be, but warring against that worry, I have:

– a husband who, despite recent episodes of domestic amnesia, is a true partner in my life;
– a flexible job;
– bills that are paid;
– food in the pantry;
– a healthy family, and insurance for the times we aren’t so sure of that;
– an extensive support network, comprised of family, friends, and other very helpful people who love me and my family

The list could go on and on and on….and it just makes me realize how blessed I am. And just how overwhelming it would be to muddle motherhood with just one of those things missing off my list, let alone several….

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However, back to muddling motherhood….

Since I went to work FT, LMNOB has been picked up by Sweet Woman from church M/W/F, and attending the afterschool program (OASIS) on T/Th, where Charlie Brown picks her up. M/F LMNOB comes to our home with Sweet Woman and spend time together until I come home with Punkinhead. Wednesdays, they go to her house afterschool.

So Friday, I get home and Sweet Woman’s car is not there. I call sweet woman, and she answers all normal.

“uhm, you don’t have her with you do you?”

Sweet Woman gasps and says that her husband had been home sick all day and she lost sight of what she needed to do today. She’s sorry. She then questions why the school hadn’t called me.

Yeah, why didn’t they call me???? Hmmmm…..Wait a minute – you’re shirking the responsibility!!! Also known as: MY Child.

But it’s almost closing time for OASIS, so I quickly shut her up and say, “It’s ok – she’s probably at Oasis – I need to go get her.”

I’ll deal with you later!

Load Punkinhead up – call Charlie Brown and let him in on the latest, run into OASIS, where it is now right at closing time – the dude teacher points into the adjacent room, LMNOB’s classroom, and says, “She’s in with Ms. S.”

I rush in there, where LMNOB is watering flowers with her normally long-gone-by-now teacher. LMNOB’s been crying.

“Baby, what’s the matter, honey? Are you ok?”

Ms. S shakes her head, in her knowing, sympathetic way. (Ms. S is the bestest first teacher a mommy could ask for. I LOVE this woman, as does my daughter – well, actually I think LMNOB might borderline worship her, but ya know…)

Tears well up in my eyes…

Sorry God, but I let the Goddamnit out of the bag, albeit under my breath. Besides, I want You to condemn/damn, the suckiness of this situation, isn’t that an okay thing to ask for? It’s more of a prayer than a curse word, you see: God, damn Sweet Woman’s oversight! God, damn, the school’s inaction by not calling me when clearly something was wrong and abnormal! Damn it all and let it never happen again!

“Mommy I cried the whole time. I didn’t know where Sweet Woman was.”

Choking the frustration back, that, here again, my daughter’s sense of security has been dreadfully broken FOR 2 1/2 HOURS, I told her I knew, and I was sorry it was so scary – but Sweet Woman made a mistake b/c her husband was sick and she got her days mixed up. Ms. S looked at me, and hugged me, saying, “Oh, that SO doesn’t matter, she was responsible for YOUR child. I’d be so upset if I were you.” That helped, some….This time, I hadn’t destroyed LMNOB, but the mother-guilt set in nonetheless, because, you see, if I didn’t want/have to work FT, well then, this never would have happened now would it? @#$%.

That was Friday. I have not really said much to Sweet Woman. I mean, what would it benefit? I’m certain she felt terrible. But still………..Do you have any IDEA how I felt?!?! Moreover, how devastated, how lowly-because-she-was-forgotten-and-she-internalizes-EVERYTHING-just-like-me that LMNOB felt?!?!? My baby CRIED FOR 2 AND A HALF HOURS!!!

Still working my 12 steps on that one.

*****Then, there’s Tuesday. LMNOB had a unit-end parent night, where the kids show their parents what they’ve learned on the latest unit. This last unit was on the renaissance. It began at 6. Charlie Brown normally picks LMNOB up btwn 5:30 and 6 on Tuesdays, but had to work a bit later than normal. I get Punkinhead, and fly to the school, and get there just as OASIS turns to parent night.

LMNOB had it in her head that I was going to bring her a dress to change into (from her “boring” uniform). Let’s just say that I had no idea of her idea, and had FAILED to read her mind. Get that – FAILED. MISERABLY, as she then fell into a holy fit of rage. We have had those often around here, hmm, because I work FT out of the home? Oh, that, that is just my nagging doubt. Don’t mind it, however tiresome and redundant that it is.

Oh, but wait, this time we have an AUDIENCE savoring every single moment of this wonder. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this nearly 6 year-old has completely lost her wits and is giving every toddler in America a run for their money with this show of anger. Step right up and enjoy the show! What’s that you ask? The lucky parent? Why take a look at the blushing mother over there whose face now matches her crimson hair.

I want a corner to crawl into. But, since noise has now become an issue, I take LMNOB into the bathroom, and explain to her that I am sorry she has no dress, that had she said something this morning and I would have gladly stuffed one into her backpack, that she could CHOOSE to stop crying and go do her dance with the class, or we could CHOOSE to go home and seek out the dress only to miss EVERYTHING b/c we had…no…time! A grandmother preparing her older child for parent night festivities tries to validate me with her. She would have none of it.

Eventually she calms down – and the 20 minute gig in her classroom is over. She’s still shuddering with her post-tantrum shakes and sighs.

People are loitering in the classroom. Charlie Brown is embarrassed. Yeah, well, at least it’s NOT. YOUR. FAULT. I tell him in a glare. Ms. S gracefully tells LMNOB that she is welcome to do the dance with this other little girl, b/c she got here late. Several other kids join in. And as the music begins, LMNOB breaks down AGAIN. All the kids are staring at her like, “Dude, what’s your problem?!?” Punkinhead decides to crash the party and now I’m chasing him off their “dancefloor.” Will the earth please swallow me up. NOW???

Ms. S has been great. She was very gracious and helpful when LMNOB had her accidents at school. She’s firm but very soft and loving when LMNOB has been less than willing to leave me in the mornings. And now this – she saw my daughter totally lose her shit (sorry for those with virgin eyes, that’s just the only way I can describe it – tantrum does NOT do it justice), and at the end of it all, I just looked at her and said, “Loser mommy strikes again,” with a wry sigh and smile.

I know I’m not a loser mommy. But I am damned if I do and damned if I don’t by my kids – and this was just my attempt to deal with it: sarcastic humor.

Ms. S rightfully got on my case as we laughed about it together. “You are NOT a loser mommy!”

I stand by my earlier sentiment: this mom gig is all sorts of guilts and giggles. And that’s with all of the things I HAVE. I cannot imagine doing it without one, some, or all of the blessings I listed above….and yet many do, and many have.

I appreciate my own mother’s efforts more in this light. And think I’d like to reduce the guilts and increase the giggles of her mothering stint – afterall just cuz I am grown doesn’t mean the show’s over for her.

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