Jul 29, 2011

Navigating Motherhood while being so Stupid

I haven't seen my oldest daughter for more than a few minutes in three days. I miss her and assumed she felt the same about me. I thought wrong.

Driving home from Massage Envy last night I got a frantic call from her. I was excited to talk to her. She's been at Band Camp this week and asked her how she is. "Great," she answered and then she burst into tears.

Turns out, I'm dropping the ball on my responsibilities. First of all, although we did drop her uniform off at the dry cleaners, we haven't picked it up and if she doesn't turn it in, a band mom will own her soul. I asked if she signed a contract and sealed with her own blood then pointed out that she's underage and she needs my permission for selling her own soul. This was not met with humor but with further sniffling and a muffled sob.

"We're out of tampons and you have to go to the store RIGHT NOW and get some more."

"We're not out of tampons. Did you look under my bathroom sink?" I countered.

"Yes. I took them all and there are only, like, 15."

Long pause.

"How often do you change your tampons?"

"Okay, maybe not right now but everything's crashing down right now and this is the WORST possible thing that could happen during band camp!" She wailed.

I went to Smith's Marketplace and loaded up on feminine protection. By the time I arrived home, she'd gone to bed.

This morning I picked up the band uniform at the dry cleaners. Driving through town towards the school, I passed the town bakery and stocked up on some of their specialty pastries in an effort to buy points from my 16 year old daughter. I knew she hasn't seen me for days and she must be incredibly grateful for my store run so she would not suffer further mortification so the donut was just the icing on the cake.

Pulling up by a canopy, I saw band moms who were sacrificing their days to feed all those hungry teenagers, organize uniforms and all the things that band moms do. They are exceptional women that I picture as stay-at-home-mothers with no other children to care for. I love them. They alleviate my guilt. One in particular organizes everything and sends emails to all the parents. She also has threatened to own my daughter's soul.

"Who do I give this uniform to?" I asked the two women sweating under a canopy. They looked a little befuddled. "Kathy is organizing the band uniforms but she's working today." Oh. She works. Damn. I took the uniform into the school where I found other uniforms organized by instrument in their black bags. Black bag! Hanging in the closet at home! I decided to take it back home and put it in the bag. I took it back outside where I met two more band moms who were organizing lunch with little children climbing all over the place. These women were really redefining my idea of "band mom" and taking away my own excuses.

But I still had the donut!

Walking out to the field, I waited until an appropriate break in the practice then took the pastry to my daughter, telling her she could pretend it was her trumpet while she practiced (and took bites). She looked at me like I was the stupidest woman in the world. And she was mortified.

"Mom! Not now! No food on the field! Go put it by my stuff in the school!" She hissed.

"I'll take it," her trumpet counterpart said softly. I'm considering switching teenagers.

I skulked off the football field and obediently placed the pastry on her bag in the band room. I realized that the rules have changed. With all the space on the football field, there was no room for me. I am supposed to be invisible. I am expected to enable, serve, and work in the background but I am supposed to never be seen or heard.

All those fantastic band moms who have jobs and small children and sacrifice perfect summer days while the weeds grow in their gardens are expected by their children to do what they do. There is no special respect or love for them except by their children's peers. These women are an embarrassment to their children. That said, keep the house stocked with feminine hygiene products and be prepared to drop everything at a moment's notice to take care of a non emergency.

There is no redemption for being a mother, either. No matter what you do, what you have done, what you have accomplished or your stellar I.Q. can save you. You are the stupidest, most embarrassing being to ever walk the face of the planet or onto the football field. You are not cool. You are not helpful. The best and easiest teenager in the world really does turn into a different creature altogether when in the company of other teenagers.

My pride is a little hurt, I admit. I mentioned it to the band moms and resisted the urge to proclaim my accomplishments. One mom seconded my feelings then proclaimed her own accomplishment of graduating magna cum laud from BYU and I had to physically bite my tongue so I wouldn't follow suit. Clearly, she understands my feelings.

For now I will be comforted that I am not alone and I will believe in my own intelligence and past and allow those to quietly define me. If not, I will be forced to believe I am embarrassing, stupid, and a failure for not anticipating all the possibilities of what could go wrong.

Bad mom.


June Freaking Cleaver said...

You don't remember feeling this way about at least one of your parents when you were her age?

It's a good thing that she's doing this separation from you. If she didn't think you were a complete moron, she'd never leave you, and would reside in your home (with her rescue cats) for the rest of her life.

Chalk it up to rite of passage...and count the days until she goes AWAY to college (because that's when she'll remember how good you were).

M-Cat said...

Welcome to the phase of life I like to call "Lose-Lose"

Doesn't matter what you say or do, you will always be the loser with your teenager.

Thankfully, it gets over when they grow their brain cells back and then the relationships are the best thing ever!!!

Still got the donut? 'Cause I would totally take it AND thank you!

Live From Mommyville... said...

So this must be the Armageddon you referenced yesterday. Uh-huh, I see now. This incident would just be another chapter in the book I'm writing, titled "Why in the @#!* did I have children?!?"

BTW...I lied. Don't have your email address. So...I love it. Call ME!

Tonia said...

I don't have teenagers yet. Only five young daughters. FIVE. It will be fun someday. For now I sit in the guilt of other moms who of course do everything right and make me question EVERYTHING!

Lin said...

Oh man, this post totaly made me want to call up my mom & thank her for all the running around she did for me as a teenager.

Cause boy oh boy do I remember what a pain the a** I was, haha. Even though you didnt get the recognition you deserved, you're a great mom for doing all that :)

SupaFlowaPowa said...

Hahaha.. reminds me of when my mother didn't know what was going on when I was in hs too! The only thing that made it better was when I forgot what she asked me for stuff in the future and I failed .. just have it in your bag for the future, it'll come around.

AmyOutnumbered said...

Being a Mum is a tough job! Not to mention thankless, but at least you can know you are not alone!

.:Anna:. said...

First off, I died laughing at the most recent post.

Second.. I feel so bad. I was like this to my own Mom. *sigh* Then, when I got to college and learned some more, I realized how dumb I was in high school. When she grows up and matures, she is going to tell you how much she loves you and how sorry she is.

And June Cleaver is right-she'll never move out if she thinks you're perfectly awesome!! ;)