Friday, October 4, 2013

supermom yearning is the pits

I'm exhausted. All from stressing myself out.

Today is Frances's 7th birthday, and I didn't start seriously planning her party or considering gifts until about 4 days ago. Thank you thank you Amazon Prime and your 2 day shipping, else I would be seriously up a creek.

Plus, pinterest. I opened my pinterest app yesterday, knowing full well the danger and believing I could guard against the pressure to be Lunatic Perfect Mama, but still wanting - needing - to get some help and ideas for the party that is going to take place mere days from now. Which I got: thank you beaded fairy bubble wands and mushrooms made from apple slices and marshmallows. But I also - of course - got the other too. The pressure to make a cake like this one, to set up a party that looks like this one (or this one, or this one), to go above and way beyond and create something magical that my child will remember forever. Which of course she won't. Which is why I am having a Perfectly Acceptable party that includes popcorn and grapes for snack, sidewalk chalk on the driveway, and decorate your own cupcakes rather than the masterpiece I usually attempt.

I have to keep reminding myself: Good Enough Mama is actually healthier for the kids, sanely deciding to forego the cake in favor of less stress, being able to enjoy books on the couch instead of rushing stressing short tempered all to win the non-existant pinterest award. Still, I cannot get the voice out of my head that says I'm a bad mama if I can't do this again (the link is the cake I made for her 5th birthday fairy party), when in fact all the kids want to do is play together. That cake does not make me a good mama, although it was fun and I'm very proud of it.

I was going to do away with a cake not only for the party, but even for tonight, the actual birthday night, and was going to take the kids to Wegmans to pick out the these super fancy cupcakes they always beg for. (You gotta see these things. Seriously gross major white flour white sugar all sugar rush and crash. If I ate one of those things I might die. But also amazing for a grocery store. That place may be the #1 reason to live in Rochester. Not kidding.)

Then after school Frances mentioned her cake for tonight, and there I was, 4 pm, turning on the oven and tying my apron. I opened a 1945 Better Homes and Gardens and made a chocolate fudge cake recipe I've never tried before. I used 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 Bob's Red Mill gluten free mix. As we sat down to dinner (take out chinese, at Frances's request) I put the two layers in the fridge to cool enough to frost, which I did with plain whipping cream because I didn't have time to make actual frosting. It was delicious.

And because of the cake, because I was able to whip it up at the last minute, from scratch, a double layer frosted in pale yellow with pink sprinkles, for that evening I felt like Supermom. I keep thinking about a post on another mom blog that admits her strengths (pintrest worthy parties in fact) and acknowledges the things she doesn't do so well, not in a self-depreciating way, but in a so what way. (this is an excellent post, btw. Read it.) Cuz we all excel at something, we are all succeeding somewhere in our parenting. And none of us are doing it all. This is the trap pinterest brings us: the illusion that moms should be doing it all, and doing it with perfectly organized houses and great outfits. It's not true.

But it is true that we all do something beautifully, whether because we prioritize or because we're born with it, or because we outsource. (I make cakes!)

Even with that major cake success, the anxiety about the party 3 days from now has decended. I don't have time for perfect party planning. I don't have time. Last year I when I thought of decorate your own cupcakes (her birthday falls in a really inconvenient time for party planning it turns out) I thought of myself as brillant. This year I just feel like a slacker. Which I'm not - I just seriously don't have time, it is clear I don't have time, just acknowledge your limitations forcryingthefuckoutloud.

Sheesh. I've gotta give myself a break. Sometimes the guilty parenting voices are so loud. And not only do they lie to you and take up space in your brain, but they suck your energy and keep you from being the best mom you can be. The good enough mom. That one.