Share with us @tryverima or comment below how you are surviving the end of the school year!
Happy “Maycember” moms! Moms with school-aged children fondly coined the term Maycember to reflect the craziness (similar to the holidays in December) the month brings. From Teacher appreciation lunches, Mother’s Day, to end-of-year parties, recitals, performances, tournaments, team pizza parties, graduations. . . . etc, our calendars are packed. For myself, add in the additional two children with May birthdays, and we have a perfect storm.
This past weekend as I was rubbing spices into the pork shoulder for the carnitas for my son’s birthday party burrito bar, my husband waltzed into the kitchen and simply asked, “Why are you doing this?”
The short answer of course was the fact that due to the pandemic and Maycembers past, my Kindergartener had not had an actual birthday party with friends and games since he turned one. (yes, yes, cue the mommy-guilt. . . .that’s a whole separate blog!) And after the past year the kids just had, and with things starting to return to normal here in Northern CA, I decided to throw him a small backyard gathering with four of his buddies. But, my husband’s question was not asking why I was giving him a party, but rather why did I put it upon myself to have a homemade burrito bar as opposed to ordering 2 cheese pizzas for delivery and calling it a day. So, this started my wondering if us moms bring the craziness upon ourselves?
The easy answer is yes. The cupcakes for the bake sale don’t have to be Pinterest worthy. A box of Betty Crocker with some sprinkles on top will do the trick, as will a box of *gasp* already made supermarket cupcakes. Why do I care if my son’s socks match, and what IS this need I have to have all the laundry folded in a very specific way?! The more complicated answer? My hormones made me do it. I recently listened to Abigail Tucker, author of “Mom Genes” on a segment on NPR where she discusses the physical changes in the female brain that occur during pregnancy and after birth and the idea that mothers become, ”enthralled, in every sense of the word” with their babies, with a strong need to “do anything at all for your child, at every given moment.”
So clearly, it’s not just me and I am in good company here. But then, my question is how is it that some women are able to balance full-time demanding careers while meeting the needs and wants of their children and still get a full night’s sleep, while other moms (ahem. . . like me) are up until midnight baking those darn cupcakes? What mental-flowchart can I run through my head so I don’t end up running myself ragged trying to see to every aspect of my children’s lives?
The best place to start would probably be to determine, is it a need or a want? Obviously, I need to provide my children with healthy, nutritious meals. I want it to look appetizing and taste delicious. But does it need to be Instagram-worthy? Nope. The problem is though that this soon gets murky because where is the Joie de vie if we only do things out of necessity and not out of pleasure, beauty, or love? I don’t think anyone would argue the merits of a beautifully prepared meal and the pleasure it brings to people even though they could meet all their nutritional needs with steamed brown rice, boiled chicken, and raw broccoli.
Another example is that I love the decorative pillows that adorn our beds. They provide a pop of color, make the bed look inviting and luxurious while helping pull the look of the room together. My husband and children however, find them annoying, taking up real estate and just another chore to take them off the bed to sleep and place them back on the bed each morning. Clearly, those pillows are a want and not necessary. . . but if they bring me joy, then shouldn’t they remain?
This brings me to another screening question I could possibly use which is to quote Marie Kondo, “Does it bring me joy?” In the case of the pillows, they do bring me joy, so the pillows on my bed should remain. However, since they do not bring my children joy, I should just stop wasting my energy, time and breath reminding them to make their beds “properly” pillows and all.
Last weekend, my daughter’s ballet school was recording each class’s dance piece to compile an end-of-year video in lieu of the spring recital. My daughter is physically petite and her costume (borrowed from the school) was too long in the bodice and thus scrunching up at the waist causing folds of fabric. Was it functional? Sure. But did I take it upon myself to remove the tutu from the bodice, shorten the bodice, and reattach the tutu until 2:30am? You bet I did. Did the entire process bring me joy? Believe it or not, it really did.
So moms, first we must decide of something is a need or a want. And if it’s a want, then we need to determine if it brings us joy or not. If baking those cupcakes for the bake sale brings you joy, then by all means bake away!! But if it’s just stressing you out, then just buy some cupcakes, or donate the money. Don’t give a second thought to judgement from others (it’s probably only in your head and if it’s not, who cares what those other moms think anyway. . . . unless those other judge-y moms are your friends, in which case you need new friends)! It is also important to recognize that the “joy” we speak of is fluid! So while baking those cupcakes on a lazy Sunday afternoon may bring you joy, baking them at 11:00pm on a Monday night may not. In which case at that point, you give yourself an extra 15 minutes on Tuesday morning to pop into the Wholefoods and pick up a dozen cupcakes! As for the burrito station at the birthday party? It was a huge hit, the kids loved them, ate well and that brought me so much joy.
Please share your tips with me in the comments below, or by tagging us @trryverima, how you are keeping your mama bear/Mary Poppins/Martha Stewart complex in check!