Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Blues.

I was feeling petulant this morning - the sort of warning which if given in REAL life would cause me to thank you and scuttle away lest a prolonged discussion about feeeeelings ensue. But I had the kind of morning packing lunches, finding sweaters, brushing long tangled hair and COMPLETELY failing at being the mother of a teenager that makes me wonder exactly who licensed me to be a parent in the first place and what were they thinking? I'm terrible at this.

I made a chocolate-spice bread yesterday (actually, it was more like a cake in a loaf pan, if you want to be EXACT) and it was so good and so well-welcomed that I walked around feeling nuturingly maternal for hours and VERY pleased with myself. This morning while I was ordering my kids to get their boots on, PLEASE, and trying to talk my teenager out of her bedroom exile and fighting off frustrated tears, I sliced up what was left of the chocolate-spice bread and whatever magic it had once possessed had gone, leaving behind just a tired middle age woman and her upset daughter, leaving behind just me making lunches in a rush AGAIN.

Sometimes on Twitter, for whatever reason, I get followed by people who are under the wistful impression that I'm a nice person, like them. "You don't sound like you like your kids very much," one of them said to me a while back, which startled me, since a) I'm rather fond of my children and b) this isn't exactly a SECRET. And once I was done feeling put out by that, I thought about the image that "niceness" demands - both online and in real life - a brisk tidiness not just of one's house but also of one's SOUL, the crisp lack of admitting either failure or frustration. The opposite of this, of course, is emotional incontinence and/or a gross house so I don't know what to say, you guys. Parenthood should not be some big race to the bottom but parents who spend hours making careful craftsman lunches for their kids are weird and there's a balance between trying too damn hard and not trying hard enough and the point is that my kids had soup for lunch AGAIN today. Soup is fine! They like soup!

And they also had what was left of the chocolate cake/bread, of course. It was very tasty. I recommend it.


23 comments:

  1. Beck, yes, yes, yes. Why does it always feel like it is some sort of weird race? And sometimes that race is "let's see who the worst mom is" and other times it is "let's see who the best mom is." I just want to be REAL--sometimes I suck at this parenting gig and other times I am a downright rock star. Point is: Parents are human.

    And this is right on the money: "there's a balance between trying too damn hard and not trying hard enough "

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that sometimes we're competitive because it's so hard to actually TELL if we're doing okay as parents, to tell if our kids are turning out all right. But also because human beings are kind of jerks and one way to feel like we're suceeding is by feeling like other people are failing.
      I should maybe write a whole post about this. I obviously have a lot of feeeeeelings on this subject. - Beck.

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Hi, Joy! I haven't "seen" you in ages! - Beck

      Delete
  3. I found your blog (your first blog) over 5 years ago from Slouching Mom who wrote a post that linked to your, referring to you as one of the best moms she knew. And after about 20 seconds of reading, I was *hooked* on you, too. You're the bomb! You are totally human and relatable and your voice slices right to the meat of life every time. I love that.

    Oh, and thanks to pinterest, none of us ever has to feel like an adequate parent ever again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I both love and despise Pinterest because what I really needed in my life was yet another way to feel like I wasn't measuring up against, like, tasteful Pottery Barn standards.

      And THANK you, Hetha! That's lovely, lovely to hear. xo Beck

      Delete
  4. Life and lunch: not all spinach not all cookies, and sometimes soup is the path towards the light.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or Life Is Not All Beer and Skittles, as I sometimes say to my kids. I think "skittles" in that sentence means a type of bowling game and not a grody fruit-flavoured candy, but I'm not sure. - Beck

      Delete
  5. I get this feeling. Would it help if I told you that I feel horribly guilty that my kids almost never get anything baked by me except for refrigerated cookie dough? So to me you are a fabulous mom and also one of my favorite people on the Internet. Real is infinitely preferable to Perpetually Nice.

    Oh, and if I do manage to bake something, this seems like a great choice. I think I already have all the ingredients, even.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. More nice words for me! Thank you so much. This is very pleasing.

      The thing about my baking is that - like every other thing mothers do - once you do it often enough, it becomes invisible to your kids. So baking shows up here but it doesn't DAZZLE my kids or anything. It's just another boring thing mom does.

      I DO totally recommend that recipe. It's one of my favorites and rather impressive for little work, which is a nice combination. - Beck

      Delete
  6. I don't feel bad about lunch but I feel terrible about breakfast every single morning. My kids have cold cereal. I don't do cooked breakfasts - on Sunday mornings Michael does eggs & bacon but the other six days it's toast or Cheerios, or maybe oatmeal. I feel like a breakfast asshole, especially when I hear about other moms baking fresh muffins or waffles or pancakes.

    Which is just to say I think we all have parts of this gig that we feel we are slack on. And soup! My kids would freak out if they had soup in their lunches every day. If they knew the half of what came out of your kitchen, they would probably be pretty annoyed with me. I'm good at dinner but everything else... not so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MAYBE once a week, we do a special breakfast - homemade waffles or omlettes or something good - but every OTHER day is yogurt or oatmeal and never ever cold cereal because I'm too CHEAP. I often start out the week with Good Breakfast Intentions but they wither away quickly in the face of how horrible mornings are.

      Soup as lunches around here is a survival mechanism because 2 of my kids will NOT eat sandwiches. WHO doesn't like sandwiches? (answer: two of my kids.) - Beck

      Delete
  7. This post reminded me of why I became addicted to your writing and why I love you so and value you as a friend. You are an amazing mother, a moving writer, and an all round fabulous person.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nicole! Thank you so much, and the same back at you. xo - Beck

      Delete
  8. Since I usually drive the grandma bus, I see firsthand what a patient,creative, capable mother you are.I am proud of you Dearie and love your posts!
    Mom

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, mom! Thank you! - Beck

      Delete
  9. See -- this is what I meant in my tweet to you yesterday -- your writing is some of my favorite, because you always nail it and I can always identify with it. And this is something I identify with so much. I gave up on trying to be the perfect sweet amazing mom that all the neighborhood children want to be around (ugh - I don't want to be around them!!) a long time ago. And I spend most days worried my children will one day realize that I suck at being their mom, yet constantly amazed that they seem to think I'm awesome.

    Thanks for keeping it real.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Karla! Bill and I have long said that we want to be the household where teenagers feel free to hang out and when that was in practice this weekend, we were like WHAT WERE THINKING? THERE ARE TEENAGERS IN OUR HOUSE. - Beck

      Delete
  10. Amen. Amen. Amen. You always keep it real and for that we love you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Jenifer! It's so good to see you again! - Beck

      Delete
  11. "You don't sound like you like your kids very much," one of them said to me a while back That person was/is an asshole. One without children, I'd say because I am okay with being an awful person when situationally appropriate. I had Chef-Boy-R-Dee for lunch for years and years and now I'm remorseful because my sons have never eaten it and so maybe some random asshole on line will think I don't like them very much. HEY ASSHOLE PERSON ON THE INTERNET, STUFF IT.

    And it's so sweet that your mom commented on your post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's funny how much validation from my mom COUNTS for me - that my mom thinks I'm a good mom goes a long way towards proving it for me.

      I'm feeling guilty because my kids HAVE had Chef-Boy-R-Dee, because I occasionally (RARELY) go through phases where I must eat canned ravioli for lunch or perish or something. - Beck

      Delete
  12. By all means, let's all judge each other 140 characters at a time. Sheesh. I don't know anyone who who isn't irritated with their kids now and then.

    ReplyDelete