As every working mother with children of a certain age know, Mother’s Day is also judgement day. It’s the day your young child makes you a gift at school that usually requires them choosing some descriptive words about how they experience you as a mother: nice, loving, caring, time-challenged, insane. And the best part is that you are certain that their innocent description of you will confirm what the teaching staff and mother volunteers have secretly thought about you all along. So let’s say your child picks “busy.” Now they’ve just confirmed to their teacher that you aren’t merely irresponsible in that you pick him up 5-10 minutes late on a regular basis but that at home you are equally as time-challenged. No wonder little Timmy can’t read (or add, or sit still, or listen, insert your child’s deficit here) as well as the other children. His mother is simply a disaster! Let’s hope he can overcome his troubled beginnings.
And it’s no use prepping your kid the week before. I mean come on, we’ve all watched enough sitcoms to know how that story line ends: Timmy spills the beans about your coaching and now you look even more in need of a good therapist. So you sweat out the week. Maybe you let him eat cheeseballs for breakfast and get him an extra Skylander or two (if you don’t know what Skylanders are don’t ask and pretend you never read the word. It’s crack for boys ages 4-10) to try to tilt the odds in your favor.
So I was looking forward to picking up my boys from school on Friday about as much as I look forward to stepping on the scale at the doctor’s office (and is it me or do their scales add 5 pounds just to make you feel like something must be wrong with you). I got off easy with the youngest. His pre-school class is still heavily arts and crafts oriented and not so much with the words yet – whew! However, my first grader hands me an envelope and my insides turn to jello. I rip it open ready to taste the bitter medicine that is surely about to be dealt to me, and nearly fall to my knees when I read it: adjectives to describe your mother: kind and sweet (so far the bribery seems to be working) and for verbs associated with your mother: cooking, tending (vague but I’ll take it), and working! Hallelujah working came in a solid third and the first two sound pretty damned domestic! Take that whoever is actually keeping score (could it be that only I am keeping score?)
So the good news is you can be a workaholic and your son can still perceive you as a domestic diva. The bad news is why do I care? I mean shouldn’t I want my sons to be proud that I work so hard for our family? And what kind of sell out am I if I am on some level embarrassed by my work ethic and secretly hoping my sons overlook it? I’ll ponder these questions over a nice mothers day mimosa. There’s no rush – I have a full year until my next judgement day!