I’ve taken vacation days from work yesterday and today, though hardly find myself on “vacation.” I’ve been spending quality time with the kids yet have mixed feelings about my day-to-day childcare skills. I separate these from my mothering skills. As a mama, I’m devoted to my kids, and I show that in my own personal ways (there’s lots of ways to show devotion, right?). There is sparkly fanfare for birthdays and holidays, we have serious cuddle sessions on the couch, and all of that good stuff. As the daily caregiver, I’m a little rusty. Is it okay for a mother to admit that? Because I just did.
Thursday, I gave Jossie three lollipops in the car to appease her whining. I left Jack’s school library book at home, along with his winter gear to play outside. Right now, as I work on my blog, Jossie stands at the TV, transfixed by Max & Ruby. Timing on-time arrivals for preschool drop-off and pick-up is hard for me.
Jeremy tells me I’m being too hard on myself, but practice makes perfect. I can turn out a convincing fundraising letter at work in about 15 minutes because I’ve been doing that for more than a decade. But what can be said for my day-to-day childcare skills at home? Eh, they’re good enough.
I won’t be too much of a downer. I experienced many moments of grace yesterday where the world just surrounded me with kindness. I took Jossie to a cooking class at The Kids’ Table. It was for 2- and 3-year-olds; halfway through the class, I realized Jossie was too young to sit still and participate. We quietly put our coats on, as I didn’t want to disturb the class. One of the staffers followed me out, kindly giving me a credit to our next class, which I never expected.
On our way to pick up Jack from preschool, we stopped at the party store to pick up a few red, white and pink balloons to surprise Jeremy at work. It was a very windy day in Chicago. As I struggled with the balloons and Jossie in the parking lot, I accidentally let go of the balloons and off they went. Oy. I marched back inside and placed a new order. The salesperson gave me a sympathetic look and didn’t charge me for the second order.
After lunch with Daddy downtown, I buckled the kids into their car seats, threw the car in reverse, and promptly bumped into another car bumper-to-bumper. I jumped out of the car. The driver behind me smiled and said, “I’m okay, if you’re okay.” I was shaken but grateful.
And today is looking up. The kids’ faces were washed and they had clothes on that matched. We had our hats and gloves, and we returned Jack’s library book. I gave the Streets and Sanitation guy, who yelled out his truck window to me that I dropped a mitten on the street, a big thumbs’ up. Jossie and I stopped by the public library, where I picked up a new book that BFF has been raving about, The Rules of Inheritance: A Memoir. Jack is interested in time – seconds relative to minutes relative to hours. I found some little-kid nerdy books to read to him on the topic. We bought a chicken pot pie at Hoosier Mama Pie Company to have for our lunch. And, yes, Jossie is watching TV, but she has her slippers on, a cup of fresh water beside her, and crayons and paper accessible at her play table for coloring.
So is it okay to openly admit a weak spot in my parenting in today's world? I certainly hope so. Talk with me, people. I have a date now with a piece of pot pie.