Tag Archives: sanity

Is Anyone Else Tired?

Remember when that new, zealous guy started work at your office? The one who thought it would be more productive to come in a few minutes earlier and stay a few minutes later? Next thing you knew, your nine-to-five job was eight-to-six, for the same pay. I wonder if this is what’s happened to motherhood. Maybe it was just one mom who had an extra cup of coffee and decided to take it up a notch, and here we all are, a generation later – tired, busy and tired of being busy.FullSizeRender

It probably started with the first woman who decided it might be fun to bring a treat to the classroom to celebrate her child’s birthday. It was a nice thought, harmless even, but then it forced the other twenty other moms to bake birthday treats for the duration of elementary school. Obviously, your kid can’t be the only one who isn’t celebrated.

I bet it was just weeks later that another mom decided that this treat should be cupcakes. Cupcakes: an exercise in baking not one but 24 cakes, each of which needs to be wrestled out of the tin and frosted individually. All for the convenience of not having to bring a knife. Cupcakes: the hardest possible treat to transport without calamity, so hard in fact that they’ve designed a device that is more carefully engineered than a child’s car seat to get them safely to the classroom.

The cupcake itself was enough to wipe me out, but then came the inevitable moment that a third mom decided to monogram the cupcakes with each classmate’s initials. Again, I blame coffee.

Every one of the eighteen years that I’ve been a mother, things have been taken up a notch. If mothers used to feed and dress their children to put them on the train to adulthood, we are now doing those things while the train is moving. As soon as we think we are about to catch up and toss them into the cargo car, the train speeds up.

Our mothers’ generation wants to know why we’re so tired. Why do your kids need to do so many activities? Can’t they just play in the neighborhood? Can’t they just walk to soccer? What do you mean you’re making two dinners? Just make him eat the meatloaf.

We try to explain. Things are just different now. Activities are organized. No, they can’t walk to soccer; it’s in Tarrytown. And after soccer they need to get to the Chinese tutor because kids today need to speak Chinese, or else. Also they need to be leaders at something, it doesn’t matter what. Extra-curriculars are no longer extra – they’re the bare minimum. And I’ve recently been told that now we need to help our kids “find their passion.” How can you find someone else’s passion? Can’t we just let them do that one thing on their own?

As my kids have gotten older, I’ve wondered who was the first person who decided kids needed tutoring for the SAT. What if they all just went in cold? Isn’t all kids unprepared the same level of fairness as all kids prepared? And who was the first to decide that we need to shuttle our kids all over the country looking at colleges they hadn’t even been admitted to yet? If there’s another way to make the total cost of the college experience even higher, we’ll find it.

When we were growing up, there wasn’t this urgency around parenting, a fear that our kids were going to be left behind, or worse, a little bored. We seem to have bought into this idea that if we fall into bed at night completely exhausted and smelling like baked goods and mud, our kids will be okay. But we were raised on nothing but love and negligence, and we seem to have turned out okay.

 

I bring this all up because today I saw an ad on the internet for a nine foot wide, custom made banner that you can order to announce your child’s college choice on your front lawn. It has the child’s face and the college logo on it. Did I mention it’s nine feet wide? I don’t even know what to say. When mothers unionize, this is going to be the first topic I bring up. Let’s slow this train down.

 

(PS your mom told me she wants this book for Mother’s Day)

 

Notes for Next Christmas

I have a friend who has a very thoughtful way of living her life, and I try to pick up her habits when I can. She recently told me that every year after Christmas she takes a few minutes to jot down what worked and what didn’t, so that she doesn’t make the same mistakes… Continue Reading

Wake Me Up When The Election’s Over

We’re almost there, people. The election is just over the hump of the weekend, and the end is actually in sight. I tend to like a salacious and horrifying story, the inner-workings of human drama. But there’s no thrill in this election. It just feels prickly and uncomfortable, like the angora sweater my grandmother bought… Continue Reading

Jigsaw Puzzles With Toddlers

If you’ve ever done a jigsaw puzzle with a two year old, you know what it means to run through the entire range of human emotions. You hope, you cringe, you pull your hair out. At some point, you’ll be disgusted, elated and then relieved. It’s a worthy exercise, and its success depends on your… Continue Reading

Local Woman Gets Angry in Person

The other day I was stopped at an intersection, looking both ways as I’ve been told to do, when the woman in the car behind me started honking repeatedly to encourage me to take the plunge. I wasn’t in the mood for a fiery death, so I waited for the traffic to clear in both… Continue Reading

After Graduation, The Leaving Period

A year ago, a friend of mine whose child had just graduated from high school suggested I write an article about this big milestone. I thought about it and decided to wait. It would have been like writing a guidebook about Paris based on internet research, without actually going there and seeing the light, smelling… Continue Reading

High School Commencement Speech – First Draft

It’s kind of weird how Rye High School hasn’t asked me to deliver this year’s commencement address yet. I mean it’s a month away and these kinds of speeches don’t write themselves. I’m local, I’m verbose, the price is right. And heck, I’m going to be there anyway. Assuming they’ve been calling my landline or… Continue Reading

Greatest Mother in the World Spotted in YMCA Parking Lot

As published in the Rye Record on January 22, 2016 I saw a woman leaving the YMCA yesterday with a baby strapped to her chest, another, slightly larger one in a stroller, and a three year old holding her hand. She was infested with small children. I stopped to watch. How in the world are… Continue Reading

Lost and Found and Down the Rabbit Hole

It usually starts with “Mooooom…” Though it sometimes starts with “Hooooooney…” I hear it more in my lower back than in my ears, because I know this calm plea for help often leads to a trip down the rabbit hole. It’s the moment that some member of my family cannot immediately find the item that… Continue Reading

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