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Broke Wife, Big City
Am I a lazy mom?
By Aprill Brandon
You know those brief moments in time when, as a parent, you finally
feel like you have it all together? All the balls are in the air and
you feel oddly confident you can keep them there? Maybe even have a
whole extra second to use one of your hands to gulp down a glass of
wine because you are a parenting goddess and you’ve earned it, dammit.
This was me a few days ago. My youngest is finally sleeping(ish)
through the night. My oldest is developing into just a terrific human
being, if with a bit more smart-assery than I’d like (although, to be
fair, he gets it honest). We have a good daily routine down and I
haven’t had to hide in the basement stress-eating baking chocolate in
at least a week.
Finally. Finally, I got this, I told myself. I can do this. I am doing
this. What was I stressing about in the first place?
And this amazing feeling lasted for all of 30 seconds.
It was a beautiful 30 seconds.
Because, of course, then I logged online like an idiot. Where I was
inundated with pictures of all my friends and their kids at preschool
and in swim lessons and banging a drum at baby music class and wearing
matching outfits while doing Mommy and Me yoga and hanging out at craft
workshops and playing pint-sized soccer.
My kids are enrolled in zero classes. None. Zip. Worse yet, they go to
zero organized playgroups. Ditto for unorganized casual play dates.
Double ditto for anything with the word “team” in the title. Basically
they are involved in nothing that even has a whiff of a nurturing
And that’s when I started to panic. Oh god, am I a lazy mom?
I mean, I’m not a complete monster. I take them to storytime at the
library. Occasionally. Or, to be more accurate, erratically. Three
weeks in a row! Followed by a four-month hiatus! Cause Momma is going
through a “pants are too complicated” phase!
I also take them on a fairly regular basis to one of the two
playgrounds that are within walking distance from my house, where my
toddler speaks gibberish to the other kids and they look confused and I
make awkward jokes with the other parents and they look confused.
We also have casual friendships with a small smattering of other
neighborhood parents. But getting together and syncing up nap/food/not
sick/regularly scheduled meltdown times requires spreadsheets and that
computer from “Jeopardy” and an abacus or two.
I always have good intentions. This past summer, I planned on signing
up my toddler for swimming lessons. But since I was a billion months
pregnant, our scheduled activities pretty much just consisted of going
out for ice cream.
Every single day.
At 10 a.m.
(On the plus side, if he’s ever drowning in ice cream, I have the
utmost confidence he’d survive).
Once my daughter was born, I’d casually Google local Mommy and Me
things or whatever. And they looked great. And they looked fun. And
they looked expensive.
The local school district also has a drop-in playgroup I’ve been
meaning to look into. Which I’ll do soon. I promise. It’s just…pants,
Sometimes (all the time) I worry that they’ll fall behind their peers,
who can already speak Mandarin and know computer code and play on no
less than four sport teams. I mean, he’s almost 3. She’s heading toward
7 months. And neither one has developed an app, let alone sold it for
So, I torture myself daily with the question of whether I’m an
underachieving slacker mother or everybody else is just an annoying
In my rare saner moments, I remind myself that we read books daily. We
have music dance parties. We do violent circles with crayons and/or
chalk and call it “art.”
We go to parks and take long walks along the river by our house and do
impressions of our favorite SNL characters and Skype with grandparents
and do “pretend” math lessons (since my skill and my toddler’s skill
are pretty much on par with each other). Our day is filled with
activities. They just happen to be mostly activities you can do in your
underwear and a ratty Miami University sweatshirt.
But most importantly, I remind myself in these moments that my kids are
happy. They’ll spend the rest of their lives in classes and organized
activities and casual gatherings and not casual meetings
And I take a deep breath and calm my frazzled mind.
They’re fine. They’ll be fine.
And that good feeling lasts for all of 30 seconds.
Ah, but what a 30 seconds.
Can’t get enough of Aprill? Can’t wait until next week?
Check out her website at http://aprillbrandon.com/