I Don’t Do Fabulous Anymore
Motherhood isn’t absolutely fabulous
-Julie Ryan Evans
A dear friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in a couple of years was in town recently, coming to our house for brunch.
“Now I know you, you’re going to work all week putting together this fabulous meal, and we don’t want you to go to any trouble … ,” she chided me.
I cut her off. “Honestly, I just don’t do fabulous anymore.”
And there it was. I don’t do it, can’t do it, and I’m not even sure I want to do it anymore.
There’s no time for perfectly ironed linen napkins or well-researched recipes that require ingredients from three separate markets. There aren’t enough minutes in which I have two hands free to do the prep work days in advance, to get the perfect centerpieces, to make sure there are fresh flowers in unexpected places.
And really, Martha Stewart crap aside, I have trouble even with the basics – especially now that school’s out for the summer. I can’t even seem to get my child to camp at the right time – I dropped him off an hour early the first day – or pack a lunch for said camp (had to drive back with one). And then, I followed up the next week by dropping him off at the wrong time AGAIN. Hell, I can’t even pay my babysitter properly – I wrote the check out to “Facebook” instead of her the other day.
And then there was yet another day when I found myself lying flat on my stomach on the cold, tile floor of my family room with dust bunnies sticking to my self-tanner streaked legs. I had my Swiffer broom in hand -not to attack the dust bunnies, but rather to rescue my 5-year-old’s little Byakugan toy (about the size of a big marble) from under the couch. I was clad in pajamas (it was at least noon), which consisted of a nursing bra (I haven’t nursed in months) and some boxer shorts. I was performing this feat WHILE talking on the phone to a colleague about serious work matters and trying not to grunt. At one point in our conversation I just had to mute out and laugh hysterically, because it was just so ridiculous and so par for the course of my life these days.
It’s a life that has a lot going – I work, I have an infant and an almost-6-year-old who have very different needs; I have a house to keep up; and my body that needs whipped back into shape, and then some. I also have a very helpful husband, without whose help, I would be a crumpled mess on the floor – all my balls in the air having crashed down on my head.
I have more going on than some, but less than others. And regardless, I don’t know any mothers who aren’t at least a little bit overwhelmed no matter if they have one or 10 children, work or don’t work, have three nannies or haven’t hired a babysitter in three years. For all the joys, when one enters motherhood, one must give up some fabulousness – it’s just not possible to do it all that well all the time when so much of feeding, eating, potty training sleeping, broken bones, fevers, stitches, itches is out of our control. And while people may appear not to give it up on the surface, when you dig a little deeper you find the cracks, the reality behind the fabulous façade. They are always there.
And knowing that, embracing that, helps me explain to my self, the one who stares in shock at the chaos in my life, why I don’t have a perfect playroom a la Pottery Barn but instead house a sea of toys on the floor while all the pretty baskets sit empty on the shelf. And why though I bought all the necessary iron-on patches and other decorations for my son’s book bag (a big deal at his school to individualize your bags), he told me on the last day of school, ” you STILL haven’t decorated my bag.” And how when we pay big dollars for private school because our children’s education is one of our top priorities, I could completely forget his parent/teacher conference and stand up his teacher.
These are things that my very Type A, control-issue-laden self would NEVER have foreseen in her future. But life changes, and every day I’m being forced to become more relaxed about things that used to give me heart palpitations. Because I have to, and because some of the things I used to feel were fabulous, matter a little less to me. Meetings can be rescheduled; toys always end up on the floor anyway; no one notices wrinkles in the napkins; and if my son needs therapy someday for having the school’s only unadorned bag, then I’ll pay for it.
And because when it comes to the most important things in my life – loving my children and trying (trying being the key word) to do everything I can to provide them with the best upbringing possible, I know that’s one area in which I will always do fabulous.
Read Julie’s last blog: Obamas Inspire Date Night