Recently, at my son’s birthday party, a friend announced somewhat proudly that this is her summer of being the “good enough mom”. We laughed, and agreed that sometimes that’s all you can expect and it’s okay, hoping that it’s a passing phase that only lasts a week or two. But I don’t think it’s a passing phase for me.
At least not for a week or two.
I’ve realized lately that this isn’t too far off from where I am currently. I have become the “good enough mom” this year, not just this summer. I know that I was never the “perfect mom” or even the “most organized mom” previously. But I was the “laid back mom”, the “fun mom”, the “thoughtful mom” and sometimes the “cool mom” and usually I felt that I put my best effort into whatever role each and every time.
That feeling has deserted me. My best effort isn’t what it used to be.
It’s been a rough year, with many changes and challenges, I know. I’ve been told to be kind to myself, give myself a break, my kids will understand and life will get better and more “normal” eventually. But I have to say, I’ve been looking at the last six months and wondering what happened to the mom that I used to be. Where is she?
Our oldest son turned 18 this year, and for the last few years I have been collecting ideas of how to celebrate and commemorate this milestone of my first born. I’ve seen other mother’s efforts and projects thanks to Pinterest and Facebook: a lifetime scrapbook from birth to today, a video montage of eighteen years, themed birthday parties with decorations that would give prom a run for it’s money and even a specialized cake designed to look like his project car (thanks Cake Boss) But in the end, it was prom weekend and I hosted pre and post prom at our home, including staying up until 8am. Prom night was on his actual birthday. I had great intentions of making it a big surprise party since all of his closest friends would be at our house, complete with balloons, streamers, a special cake, a photo booth and an unveiling of his amazing gift.
None of that happened.
It was like a whirlwind of activity, and so little of it had to do with his birthday. He didn’t seem to mind, but I did. I wanted it to be special. I wanted it to be memorable. I did decorate a bit, and added party hats and horns for the kids to enjoy, but there wasn’t any singing or a cake or an unveiling of an amazing gift (come to think of it, I honestly can’t remember what we got him for his birthday while I sit here and write this)
I wish that I could say that this was the only instance when I dropped the ball, but it seems to be more of a habit than a misstep these days.
Our youngest went to camp for a week and I barely packed what he needed, forgetting the sunscreen and the bug spray, let alone putting together a care package or writing letters to be delivered throughout the week like I did last year. He was visibly disappointed when I picked him up a week later, and I was disappointed in myself.
This is not the mom that I am.
I know that in the end my boys will forgive me, and hopefully forget this period of “bad, forgetful, average mom” behavior, but I can’t help but feel like a cloud is fogging up my brain and I am moving through a haze of indifference somedays. Some days I am just glad to get out of bed, have food in the house to feed my family, and the cats, and know that we made it through another day alive. Laundry will still be there, the house will get cleaned eventually, fun stuff will still be there to do another time, and I will get back to the real me. The real mom that I am.
But for now, it’s good enough.