When I was in high school I had a friend whose mom we jokingly, but lovingly referred to as “Donna Reed on crack.” Obviously we didn’t think her mom was doing drugs, but it was our snarky way of commenting on her ability to be the perfect wife/mother, just like the actual Donna Reed was back in the 50’s. Well, at least like her character was.
Much like Mrs. Reed, my friend’s mother had this amazing knack of keeping the house (sans my friend’s room) immaculate, getting all the errands run and still managing to whip up (in what seemed like seconds) snacks for any and all of her daughter’s friends who might happen to stop by. Now, I don’t know if they had multiple course meals like the Reeds seem to, but I wouldn’t put it past her.
Whenever there was a party at my friend’s house, her mom put out quite the spread. Yeah, that’s right, I was really cool, I went to parties parents knew about and often provided food for. Heck, sometimes they were even there. One year for her birthday, I swear there were more bowls of food out then there were guests, and her mom kept offering to make us more. Anytime we hung out there after school, her mom would knock on the door (Donna Reed style) and offer us something to eat. If we didn’t want any of the pre-packaged junk food we generally lived on, there would be offers to whip us up sandwiches, pies, or a pot roast. Ok, not actually sure she ever offered to “whip us up” anything or that a pot roast was really ever offered, but I wouldn’t have put it past her. Like I said, Donna Reed on crack.
My parents were not like this. The best I got was my step-mom taking me to Subway before my 16th birthday and buying 6 foot long subs for the party. She did ask them to cut them into party sized pieces and went to Sam’s to get the mega size of chips and salsa (which I lived on in high school), but that was the extent of her foray into Super Momdom.
Why am I taking this little trip down memory lane? Lately I’ve been feeling the need to be Super Mom.
I’m not sure if it’s the post pregnancy hormones still in overdrive, the fact that I’ll have to go back to work eventually, so I figure I better get all my extra time in now or just some strange primal instinct I can’t name, but I feel the need to make multiple course meals, clean and plan elaborate outings for my kids, even though one of them can’t even hold her head up yet. And the thing is, I know I’m not Super Mom.
For instance, I want my house to be clean. I really, really, really do, but I get so tired from being up every few hours with the baby and then staying up to play with my pre-schooler, that it just doesn’t get done. I’m lucky if a load of laundry gets washed, dried and folded the same day. If the dishes are all done and not “soaking” in the sink, I call it a success. If the mail gets opened, sorted and put in its proper place by the next day, I feel I’ve won a small victory. See, I want to do better than this, but my little girl hasn’t really been napping so well lately and cleaning falls to the wayside when she’s crying in her bassinet.
Aw…the bassinet, another Super Mom failing. For the first few weeks, my little one slept like a champ. The only problem is that she was doing most of her sleeping on me. I could get her to sleep for two or three hours easy if I just snoozed along with her on the couch (her laying on my chest with my arms around her so she couldn’t fall). I got sleep and so did she, and we were both oh so happy. But I knew it couldn’t (and shouldn’t) last, so now we are trying to get her to nap in her bassinet, which means very little napping is going on. She’s fine in there for 10 minutes or so, then wakes up and cries and cries and cries, so I have to go get her. Sure enough, a few minutes later she’s either so worked up I resort to the baby sling (which conks her immediately, but then I have a baby harnessed to me for hours and nothing gets down) or my chest again. Or, if I have anywhere to go, the carseat and a nice car ride…of course she sleeps in the seat, even after I bring her in for hours. This, I know, isn’t good. I need to get her sleeping in her bed. But I don’t know how. She sleeps in it just fine at night, but during the day, it’s no good. Sigh…
The only place I feel like I’m really living up to my Super Mom potential is at meal time. I’ve re-established our organic fruit and veggie delivery service. I’ve started planning meals and making sure they are healthy and fairly well-balanced. I got a copy of Jessica Seinfeld’s Deliciously Deceptive and have been sneaking extra fruits and veggies into our meals, which we’ve all really enjoyed (it is a great book and I have high praise for everything we’ve tried). I’ve even been making dessert, and not just frozen cookie dough thrown in the oven at the last minute. I’ve made chocolate pudding, chocolate fondue, homemade oatmeal raisin cookies and most recently, frozen yogurt popsicles.
I know it’s silly, but I kind of feel like cooking is the only way I’m not letting my family down. Don’t get me wrong, no one is complaining, but I just have all this guilt. The house is a wreck. My pre-schooler is going to the sitter’s during the day, so I feel the need to over compensate by planning an elaborate outing which completely wears me out once a week. My daughter isn’t sleeping, so I can’t get anything done. And my husband, well, I’m spending so much time and energy on the kids, it’s a good thing he’s in project mode and wants to paint the house, because I feel like there isn’t much left for him right now.
I’m hoping it’ll get better, but in about three months I go back to work, so I’m not sure how. Sadly I will not be donning my cape with the giant SM on it anytime soon. I’m no Super Mom…more like Getting By Mom.