Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Craptastic Adventures of an Imperfect Mom

Today is Easter and I have done nothing for my kids. No, wait, that’s not true. I made brunch reservations. Does that count? No, probably not. But there are no baskets, no candy, no annoying plastic grass, no treats…nothing. Truth be told, I feel a little guilty. I feel like I’m letting them down. They’ll say they don’t care, but I’d bet that they’re expecting something, anything to be sitting on the kitchen counter when they wake up this morning. I guess I just ran out of steam and ideas.

It wasn’t too many years ago when I would be up at dawn hiding eggs all over the house and abundantly filling baskets with candy and assorted treats. I was so obsessive that if we went on vacation over Easter, I’d hide the goodies in our luggage and wait until the kids were asleep to do the Easter Bunny’s job. It was so important to me to perpetuate the fantasy. No, I don’t mean the Easter Bunny fantasy. I mean the fantasy that I’m a perfect mom.

I’ve been working long and hard on that story. I think it was borne out of my need to prove that despite the fact that I worked full-time, I still loved my kids as much as the stay-at-home moms did. It was so important to me that my kids and the people around us could see my devotion. Holidays were a big part of that. I attacked Christmas and Easter and Halloween with a fervor usually reserved for Olympic competition. If I wasn’t going to be at home for my kids then, dammit, we’d have so many holiday traditions that we’d just ooze warmth and cuteness.

And we did…for a while. I planned and I hid and I prepared and I shopped. I bought more crap at Hallmark (the hallowed headquarters of holiday excess) than I could fit in my house. I spent my lunch hours driving to malls and shops to find adorable kitsch to decorate our house and thereby demonstrate my love. When the kids were little, it really was fun. Their enthusiasm fueled my obsession.

Then little by little, things changed. Their excitement waned. They woke up later. They spent less time looking at my purchases and appreciating my preparation. They became more interested in text messages and IMs than where the eggs were hidden or what was under the Christmas tree. Basically, they started to grow up. Sigh.

This story doesn’t have a sad ending. I’m not completely giving up, I’m just resigned to zigging as they zag. I still have a few tricks left up my sleeve and the ability to surprise them once in a while, only it won’t be on everyone else’s holiday schedule. There are still care packages and mini shopping trips and small gestures that can warm even the most cynical teen. Although I no longer have the need to prove I’m a perfect mom, I’m still determined to show that I’m pretty damn cool.


At 8:33 AM , Blogger Blitz Krieg said...

My daughter is twelve and was coloring eggs last night, very artistically, all by herself. She made special one for everyone in the family.

She also baked her first cake, iced and decorated it by herself.

The torch has been passed.

At 9:08 AM , Blogger kenju said...

Karen, I suspect they know that already!!

I am not one bit sorry to see those days go by. I love hearing about my grandkids and Easter eggs, etc., but I am glad I don't have to participate anymore!

Happy Easter!

At 2:20 PM , Blogger The Mistress of the Dark said...

Now that we're all grown we don't do as much...My youngest nephew that's 15 colors eggs...and we do a candy basket..but that's it.

Happy Easter!

Michele says hi too :)

At 3:53 PM , Blogger Lynn said...

Reading about how you used to drive around on your lunch hour looking for things to "decorate your house and thereby demonstrate your love" really hit home with me...I never understood why I often feel compelled to drive from store, to store, to store in order to get "stuff" to make the holidays even more special for my I understand why. Thanks for sharing your experience and providing me with such insight:~)

At 10:09 AM , Blogger SB said...

I am with you on the Easter thing...I did very little this year.

I need advice, Karen. I looked for your e-mail but couldn't find it. A friend of mine lost her daughter on Easter Day. She was 13, had been born with multiple significant disabailities but lived a full 13 years..(You can read about it on my blog). I want to offer support, but don't know how. As someone who has recently suffered such a loss, can you offer me advice? What to do? What not to do? I would really appreciate it.


At 8:33 PM , Blogger Em said...

That last little bit...about having a few tricks up your sleeve...that proves you are a good mom. You didn't stop trying just cause they changed. You changed right along with them. And that is hard to do. I still miss our little kids...even though the youngest is now 13. They want and need different goodies for fun. It isn't always easy to change along with them.

At 10:42 PM , Blogger Swishy said...

You ARE pretty damn cool!

At 11:48 PM , Blogger Azgreeneyes said...

I forgot to tell our 3 year old (4 in May) that the Easter Bunny would be making an appearance at our house until the Thursday before Easter. She was shocked that there would be a bunny hopping through the house while the rest of us were sleeping. Stupid perfect mom fantasy. I stay home with them and I still can't get it right! Oh, well, at least I'm fun!

At 8:44 AM , Blogger Heidi said...

Enjoyed your blog today... first time visitor here. Found you through written inc.

Have a great week and I am looking forward to checking in again sometime. Thanks.

At 4:28 PM , Blogger Carmi said...

Hi Karen. Thought I'd drop by and say hi. I miss your writer's voice.

You have convinced me that being cool and being perfect are undeniably mutually exclusive. What's perfection, anyway? Every time I've seen the so called perfect family, time has eventually proven just how imperfect they really were. It's an unrealistic ideal, in the end.

Better to go with the groove and let the chips fall where they may. Perfection is way overrated. I like having cool friends.

At 5:50 PM , Blogger Blitz Krieg said...

Miss you out here. Left you a little something on my April 19th post.

At 1:39 PM , Blogger Blitz Krieg said...

Happy Mothers Day


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