The internet is full of criticisms for mom groups, and I will admit to laughing far too hard at the recent Ten Little Monkeys parody that has been making the rounds. I know those moms; the helpful advice couched in disapproval, the condescension and impractical suggestions. I know the moms who look for a fight, who rage quit at every opportunity and who have turned hypocrisy into an art form. The moms who publicly attack their peers for transgressions in the organic food aisle, and then hit up the drive through on the way home.
Dear mom who is totally screwing up,
Today my five year old daughter screamed the whole way home because I would not buy her a pottery wheel.
Kindergarten stresses me out. I don’t think it is supposed to do that. But as I pull paper after crumpled paper from Lorelei’s bookbag I can feel myself wanting to shove it all under the couch and run far, far away. 100 days projects. Boxtops. A million pieces of school work. Worksheets. Books for her to read. Newsletters. Fliers for programs and meetings and groups. Snack calendars. Fundraisers. -a-thons. Drives. As my brain is trying to prioritize this, it spirals into fear that I did not remember to do that thing. Some thing. I don’t know what thing. But there’s always a thing.
The line between quirky and weird seemed to be stuck between my fingers. That feeling when you eat a donut or an ice cream cone and the residue makes your fingers so sticky that you desperately want to find a sink? That’s how they felt. Licking them would help – for a few minutes. Little kids are sticky, and I spent a lot of time licking between my fingers for momentary relief. It drove my parents crazy – we’d be in a public place, and there I was licking my hands like a compulsive cat. And if that wasn’t enough to embarrass every adult responsible for me, sometimes I would get a similar feeling in the back of my throat – this annoying build up of faux pressure that had to be released, and the only way was to make squeaky sounds. Sometimes on inhale, sometimes on exhale, always until a magic point when everything felt better – until the next time. Seams of socks and waistbands constricted, so I turned my socks inside out, and wore my pants around my hips to free myself from their ever-present annoyance. Things just felt wrong and it was a puzzle to make them right again.
I haven’t slept for more than three straight hours in eight months. I’m being held together through sheer force of will, caffeine, and napping in toilet stalls. Sometimes I forget what I’m doing – while I’m doing it. Why am I in the kitchen and why is the cat in the refrigerator? Did I say cat? I meant toothbrush. Sometimes I mix up words. I have a yoga mat in my office that is only used for corpse pose.
I’m mostly doing a decent job of being a person who is, you know… awake. But there are some things that I am just not capable of dealing with right now.