Thursday, August 2, 2012

I'm Losing My Touch

Today was the first day of school for the kiddos.

Yes, for some God awful reason, Arizona schools start at the beginning of August. I haven't quite figured out why they do this to the kids or the parents, especially considering it's still 152 degrees outside, but it's how it is here.

Hubby got the kids up shortly after he started getting ready for work, and the morning was filled with bickering, wandering around aimlessly, and 'But why do we have to start school today?'

That was all from me, by the way. The kids were pretty good this morning.

Like always, I just threw on some flip flops and headed out the door. I've been taking the kids to school in my pajamas for years now : It's one of My Rights as a Mom to embarrass my kids whenever I feel like it. So, if you'd like a visual, picture a bright blue t-shirt with 'Goonies Forever' on it, green and black plaid pajama pants, no bra, hair pulled back in a messy ponytail, and black flip flops- that was me this morning, and I was fine with it.
What I looked like this morning, minus the

We drove the 20 minutes to the kids' school, got on base, headed toward the school, and that's when I saw that chaos reigned supreme this morning. Everyone was outside- teachers, parents, kids... it was crazy. I pulled into a parking space, the kids gave me hugs and kisses, and they started toward the front of the school. After wandering for a few minutes, not knowing what to do, The Girl came running back to my car, tears in her eyes, and told me, 'Mom, I don't know what to do. Can you please get out and help us figure it out?' I looked down at my pajama pants, my t-shirt with no bra, and immediately felt guilty. I couldn't get out of the car, with all of those other parents and teachers around, in my pajamas, and embarrass my kids like that. This was their first day, and every other mom out there was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt (with bras on). I immediately felt like shit for wearing my pajamas out of the house.

'Baby, I can't. I don't want to embarrass you all with what I'm wearing. Just calm down, head over to that teacher and ask her where you all should go, okay?' I wiped The Girl's eyes with my hand, she took a deep breath and headed toward the teacher. I burst into tears myself. At that moment, I felt like a failure as a mother, and to be completely honest, I was conflicted on how I failed as a mother.

I knew I failed for not getting out of the car and helping my kids. That's a failure I can't dispute either way. But, did I also fail as a mom because I didn't put on jeans and a bra today, or did I fail as a mom because I couldn't embarrass my kids by getting out and helping them in my pajamas?

Either way you look at it, I'm losing my touch.

I sat in my car and wiped away tears of guilt from not getting out and helping my kids. The Girl came back over to the car after talking with the teacher, told me everything was okay now, and they ventured off in the right direction to The Ginger's class. I started the car up, and left the chaos that was the school, my mind racing at 179 mph.

Why couldn't I get out of the car, in my pajamas, and help my kids? Why didn't I get dressed into
proper clothes in the first place, just in case they needed me this morning? I've always taken my kids to school in my pajamas. I've never cared before. Why care now? I should have figured something like this would happen, and I should have been better prepared for it. Why can I not embarrass my kids anymore? Have I lost my touch as the Super Mom I strive to be? Have I lost my touch as the Unconventional Mom that I strive to be?

Yes, you all just witnessed yet another argument I got into with myself. As a mom, those happen quite frequently.

I didn't come to a definitive answer or winner in the argument with myself this morning. I accepted the fact that I had failed as a mother, and went on with my morning.

I called my best friend back east and told her about it all, because yes, while it doesn't seem like a big deal when you are reading about it on a blog, it was a huge deal for me this morning. Her first reaction was, 'Damn, why couldn't you embarrass your kids? You're losing it, Mo-Mo.' I know, I was losing it. That's when she sat back and let me just ramble on (we figure everything out this way).

I couldn't get out of the car in my pajamas this morning, because all of the other moms were dressed in jeans and t-shirts, with their hair at least halfway done, looking not so much like Oscar the Grouch (like I did). Normally, I wouldn't care what other moms are or aren't doing, but this time was different. These were military wives, most of them stay-at-home-moms, my age, with kids my kids' ages. These were 'my people,' so to speak.  They took the time to put on jeans and a t-shirt this morning, and throw their hair up into a neat pony tail. Why couldn't I take the same time this morning? These stay-at-home-moms were ready to greet the day and get their kids off to school in a collected manner. Why did I think it was okay to head out looking disheveled and like I don't give a crap about life? 

We can't all look like this in pjs...
Rule #1 of Motherhood is that you aren't supposed to compare yourself with other mothers, but when you look around you and every other mother out there is doing something that you aren't doing, then maybe a little comparison is good. I had gotten a good look around me while The Girl was talking to the teacher; I was the only mother there in pajamas. The only one. While I've lived on base before, and am very familiar with military wives and mothers, I can tell you right now, it's not because they aren't lazy. There are lazy military moms out there, I guarantee it. But, this morning, they chose not to be lazy, to put on regular clothes, and to take their kids to school looking normal. I was the only one who decided to remain lazy this morning.

Normally, I feel pride in being the only mom that does something. I'm a free-thinker, I walk to the beat of my own drum, I forge new paths instead of taking ones a thousand people before me have taken. But this morning, I wished for nothing more than to be one of the followers. This morning, being one-of-a-kind embarrassed the hell out of me. I can't have that anymore.

I'm a mother first, an unconventional mom second, and today, I forgot that. Today, I put my unconventional side first, and as a result, I couldn't get out of the car when my kids needed me. Never again.

So, in the end, there was a clear winner in the argument with myself. Today, I lost my touch as the Super Mom I strive to be, and that's not good. If I would have set the Unconventional Mom part of me aside for the morning, I would have thrown on some jeans and a bra (still rocked the 'Goonies Forever' shirt), and when my kids needed me, I would have come through for them. I would never have had guilt set in for not wearing my pajamas to take them to school. As things played out this morning, with setting the Super Mom part of me aside, I let my children down and burdened myself with more Mom Guilt, which no mother needs.

From now on, no more taking the kids to school in pajamas. I know, I know, I've disappointed a lot of you all today with that statement, but unfortunately I disappointed myself and my kids today, and I can't deal with that. I will still be Unconventional Mom, but only after Super Mom has taken care of everything she needs to... then Unconventional Mom can step in and spice things up a bit.

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  1. Hey, don't be so hard on yourself! I know how it is though because I am really hard on myself too. BUT, there were other moms who didn't come to school, there were other moms who were in their car. OF COURSE you only saw the beautifully dressed moms who were on display because that is the only way they can feel good about themselves. AND you taught your daughter that she can accomplish things on her own. That is big! You didn't fail your kids.

    1. Thanks! I talked with my daughter when she got home from school, and apologized for not having gotten out of the car. She was cool with it. So, I felt a lot better after that, lol.