I’m Not Gonna Lie… I Have NO Idea What I’m Doing

It's Not Easy Being a Zombie Mom From Hell When All Eyes Are On You. Of Course, The Only Eyes That Really Matter Are Those of Your Children. Photo Credits: Photogen.com

I can remember poring over the dog-eared pages of parenting magazines and baby books as an expectant mother – sometimes even scribbling chicken scratch in the margins. I can recall making lists of concerns to take with us during trips to the pediatrician to make certain no sniffle, no sneeze and no funny shaped freckle was ever overlooked. Before either daughter even arrived, their rooms were lovingly painted and decorated in anticipation of the happy childhoods they would experience both inside and outside of those four walls. Once they were here, I carefully planned every meal to make sure their nutritional needs were being met and plotted every outfit to make sure they coordinated perfectly like the happy children whose faces are plastered on the cover of a magazine. Back then, I would take the time to learn, explore and experience. Back then, that is, before I became the Zombie Mom from Hell.

I’m not really sure when it happened or why – but at some point I stopped doing all of those things. Sure, I still lay out their clothes on occasion and every once in a while, I cook something that might be considered “good” for them – but somewhere along the way, that ubercharged gusto to achieve Super Mom-dom died. It’s not that I love my children any less – on the contrary, my love for them grows with each passing day. They are and will always be the moon and the stars to me. But sometime between goodnight stories and training bras, I figured out that I have NO idea what I am doing. Rather than pick up a book to discover the secrets and get back on track, I forge ahead on an uncertain path – moaning and groaning like the walking dead. I stopped being careful and started being careless, tossing out swear words like earthworms to my innocent baby birds. I throw insensitive remarks about hygiene at my oldest daughter – a sweet and sensitive pre-teen, and hit my youngest where it hurts by denying her hugs when she misbehaves. All the while, from the outside looking in – I HATE what I’ve become and like a twenty-something with a horrible hangover, vow to never do it again. That is, until I do it again.

To be fair – I never set out to be perfect, and I’m really not all bad. I still faithfully run carpools, pack lunches, shop for groceries, help with homework, and dutifully play the role of room mom in my daughters’ classes – all while running a successful freelance copywriting business. . I walk them to the bus stop in the morning and I’m there to greet them at the end of the day, afterschool snack at the ready inside our cozy home.  I will always find time to snuggle with them on the couch, hands in a bucket of popcorn and a movie on the big screen TV. We host Wii Challenges when we’re at home and head out on regular adventures when we’re out on the town. Most importantly, I always kiss them goodnight and the sun never goes down on a day when they haven’t heard their mom say “I love you” at least once.

I guess this is just my ugly, aching midlife crisis. The desire to be a good mom is still there, but – like any respectable zombie – the life has been unexpectedly leeched from me. How on Earth do I guide when I haven’t the slightest clue where I’m going? Heading at warp-speed toward the teenage years with two girls in tow, it’s in everyone’s best interest that I claw my way out of the grave and get back to the business of actively living my life. The magic elixir is not to be found in the bottom of a bottle of Riesling (believe me, I’ve looked) and merely casting a wish into the universe won’t make it come true – I have to dig a little deeper and remember that I’m not alone.  I know there are other women out there in this big wide world who feel exactly the same way that I do. C’mon girls, we’ve got this! So we’ve said and done things that our children may use to determine how NOT to raise their own kids one day and we may serve as the subject of a colorful cocktail party story or two when our babies are all grown up – no use crying over spilt milk. It’s what we do from this day forward that really counts. We’ve got to find a way to be there for our kids – mind, body AND spirit. They may not be helpless babies anymore, but they still need us. It’s time to shed the guilt and the gray zombie shell – and jump back into our families with both feet. After that, we just have to feel our way…

 

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Published in: on February 16, 2011 at 5:16 pm  Comments (7)  
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