Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mother of the Year

O.k. so I’m having one of those glorious mornings where everything is going like clockwork. My husband and eldest son are up before 6 a.m. to start a new daily jogging routine. My youngest comes downstairs for breakfast fully dressed, and I only have to tell him to brush his teeth twice before he actually does it. Yes people, this is cause for rejoicing. The runners return, shower and join us for eggs and toast and it’s not even 7 a.m. I’m in the zone now. I pack lunches and sign the necessary school papers. I even remember to give my seven year old, who was hacking like he smoked a carton of Marlboros, some cold medicine to help ease his cough while at school. My crew is out of the door and on the way to carpool line by 7:20. I’m feeling so in control, I could run a pit crew at the Indy 500.

Back in the kitchen cleaning up and basking in the glow of my competency, I realize that the medicine I grabbed to give my child, as he was running out the door, was “night time” cough and cold liquid for children. Yeah, I know, it’s terrible. My “Mother of the Year” dreams now shattered are replaced with the terrifying image of my seven year old snoring in a pile of drool at his desk while his teacher is calling the roll. Although I did not have the good sense to double check the medicine bottle, I did have the presence of mind to catch my husband as he got to work and ask him to go back to retrieve our sleepy son. I saw no reason both of us had to go through the embarrassing task of explaining the story to the school secretary.

Before you call Social Services, you should know that I’m not the only one out there harboring severe mother guilt for bouts of parental stupidity. Your mom has stories like this too, you just don’t know about them because she’s smart enough to keep them from you and your therapist. And when you become a parent, you too will keep a running tally in your head of these things and hope at some point the triumphs out number the mistakes.

You hope that the time you drove your kid to school with his new puppy in tow and held up carpool line for thirty minutes while you and the P.E. coach chased the escaped hound down the halls while still dressed in your pajamas, will be a “happy memory” for your child. You hope that giving a constipated guinea pig an enema with tweezers, as one mom friend did, does not permanently end your children’s dreams of med school. You hope that the impromptu summer activity involving a water hose, a playground slide and your toddlers hurtling bare bottom into pine bark mulch without bathing suits will be remembered as an “fun-filled” day in the backyard. The fear that your children will unconsciously flinch at the smell of landscaping materials, as adults will be with you always. Recounting her “slide” story my friend says that as she ran into the house for medical supplies, she heard above her own tears her child wailing, “Mommie did not have a Dood idea.”