I succumbed to new depths of misery today, in the form of the after-school ski program. I literally, no word of a lie, pulled Littlest One up three cross-country ski- hills, most of which while holding both her poles and mine. And the only music to my ears was her incessant wailing, I mean full-out howling, from start to finish. Sheer. absolute.torture. I was more stressed out after I skiied than I had been before during the work day. An afternoon of outdoor entertainment. All in the name of being a good- no! That is to say a GREAT- mother.
Makes me wonder what it takes to just be good enough. What it would take to merely be a good enough mother. An okay mother, even.
A good enough mother probably wouldn’t stress herself out piggy-backing a screaming Kindergartner around a six kilometer track, now would she? No. She is far too sensible for that. A good enough momma knows that sanity is a precious resource, needing preservation for such time as one might be close to scraping the bottom of the barrel. Thus, throwing oneself into unnecessary, tortuous after-school programs might be a bit of a drag on the old mental health bank. And we all need a wholesome reserve for a rainy day.
A good enough momma doesn’t try to kill herself doing crazy hairstyles for school winter carnivals. She knows that bed head is many a suburban wannabe/preppy kid’s worst nightmare. Thus, sending a child to school without formally brushing their hair is normal/crazy enough for her, thank you very much. Or as in my case. I did the girls hair last night after bath, when things were fresh and the hoolies were somewhat comatose, and then gave strict warnings this morning to not mess with perfection. Or else. Added a few multi-coloured pony-tail holders and a bit of sparkles (that I noticed were never washed out from the weekend, but still came in handy anyway…), and we were good to go.
A good enough momma will tune out her children’s screaming voices when they reach a certain pitch. That pitch is predetermined on an individual basis. I reach my ‘tuning-out plateau’ fairly suddenly, immediately following the first cry or wail of discontent. Believe me. After four hooligans, you get to know the difference between cries of despair and those merely of malcontent. It is not too often that something is drastically wrong. So when the incessant crying begins, I have disciplined myself to think happy thoughts about monkeys escaping from the zoo whilst the zookeeper is wistfully snoozing in the clubhouse.
It works like a charm.
Good enough mommas do many things the same as great mommas. They just don’t kill themselves and their off spring in the process. ( I realize that great mommas don’t do the latter either, which means we have more in common than we think we do…) Okay mommas who are good enough realize that life is short, time is precious and children are not as fragile as they might have their parents believe. Good enough mommas are willing to make sacrifices so as to keep their own fragile sense of self-worth intact. And maybe, just maybe that might mean flying south even when one’s brood of four is heading north to Souris for hockey provincials.
Did I just say that?
Yes, I’ve said it. I am considering taking a solo trip south for March Break, sans children and husband. I am no longer good enough, I am just plain bad. I’ve heard from the Peanut Gallery, and consensus is they don’t want Momma to go. Husband on the other hand can’t wait to have the rule of the roost all to himself. So what’s an okay momma to do?
Do what every other good enough momma does when the going gets tough.