8/11/08

Mommy Wisdom

"F&%$! How can we be late AGAIN?"
For the past week, these words, in varying arrangements, are uttered under my breath, every day around noon on our way to swim lessons (which began at 11:45). This is followed by an immediate rise in blood pressure and finished with determined application of lead foot. Then I screech into the parking lot, speed drag the stroller and trailing toddler toward the pool and plunk the kids into the water for the last 10 minutes of lessons. All the while avoiding eye contact with instructors and parents alike. WHAT are they looking at?!?
There's a crowd of smug mothers seated poolside, magazines in their laps, hair perfectly coiffed, who have, no doubt, been here at least 10 minutes before class began, keeping an eye on my whirlwind of chaos to make sure I don't ruffle their skirts.
I met one of those mothers at the park the other day. She has two daughters who are never dirty, she wears her shiny, thick hair pulled neatly out of her face, she carries three healthy snacks in her designer purse at all times, she probably wears an apron while cooking, and she handed me her, as she called it, "Mommy Business Card" at the park yesterday. Yes, a business card with her daughter's black and white pictures (like something out of a magazine) on a glossy 2x3 card with her name and phone number. WOW, I am rendered speechless over this.
So, what's my excuse? My hair is always in my face, my children are never clean, and I am genetically predisposed to tardiness. I will be late to my own funeral.
Whatever my excuse may be, this morning I made my sole priority for the day: Arrive at Swim Lessons ON TIME. And I agreed with myself (yes, there are voices in my head) that if I failed to uphold this agenda I would need to seriously reevaluate my role as a mother and my approach to parenting my children.
I began gathering sunscreen and snacks at 9 am. I jockeyed chatty neighbors and multiple phone calls, a landscape appointment and a diaper change from 9:15 to 10:00. I hunted down a car seat for Ana (John took hers to work by accident) from a friend at 10:30 and had everyone dressed and moving toward the car by 11:00. By some miracle, we made it to swim lesson with 20 minutes to spare. I must have looked like some runway queen gliding down the ramp onto the pool deck before class began. Gleaming with mommy accomplishment, beaming with pride, managing my two girls with grace and patience. No one recognized me. One mother introduced herself at the beginning of class and asked, "Are you new this week? I don't remember seeing you the first week of class."
Yes, I'm a new woman. A new mommy. And I am on time.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Iknow how you feel. I am always making my boys run to the pool. THey then get the jostled and rushed undressing and somehow get their googles to sit over their eyes. On the reare occasion that we are on time, more often than not one of them will comment, "Mummy are we late? Do we have to run today?" "Quick quick we don't want to miss it" I fins it very sad that my children always think we have to run or rush to our activities (this often includes kindy) I am getting better but, 'just getting one more thing done' at home first just seems to get the better of me. Here's to trying to be on time, NEXT TIME!

JO said...

The way you were going with the story at the end I thought you were going to say that you had not signed up for swimming lessons this week!!! But I am glad that was not the case and that you made it, reaffirming your position as mommy extrodinaire (and even being down one car seat - impressive!) I am always late too, but I was that way even before I had kids - so unfortunately no one to blame. Good luck on the search for affordable patio furniture that does not suck...I have not been able to find any in 2 years.