Mama’s drinking wine tonight because this is how we left Starbucks today. Let’s just say, my Cascara Latte didn’t cut it after this.
My glass of sauvignon blanc came to the rescue at home and is reminding me to have a gratitude attitude. Thanks to Starbucks whose amazing staff immediately made a sobbing four-year-old a new hot chocolate and mopped up our mess with a smile. Another thank you to the old men sitting across from us who didn’t even blink an eye when we made our scene. Also, a huge thank you goes out to the woman who gave me a smile and a knowing nod as I walked past her holding a pile of dripping napkins.
To the group of college students standing next to us: you’re welcome for the reminder to refill your birth control.
When I was thirteen years old, I went sledding at a local golf course with a friend. We were meeting a group from the all-girls school that I would be attending the following year. I was the outsider. Middle school girl politics being as they are, I was a bit nervous. As soon as I reached the top of the hill, a blonde girl I’d met just once before grabbed my arm and ingratiated me into the group by inviting me to ride on the back of her sled. I hopped on and went for a ride that’s still going on twenty-three years later. Whether it’s convincing me to ride a zip line, stay in a grass hut in Panama, or start a non-profit, I’m incredibly grateful to still have this blonde girl by my side, convincing me to take a plunge.
Now it’s my turn to make her take one, as I forced nominated her to be Mama Tries Blog’s very first Super(Bad)Mom!
My friend Lea is the ultimate supermom. She’s also incredibly humble, meaning she answered only three of the questions for the “super” portion of Super(Bad)Moms, and only with one to three word answers. The “bad” mom portion was much lengthier. It’s a good thing my first featured Super(Bad)Mom is a friend I can call out on her BS, because the joke’s on her — instead of writing the supermom portion in the question/answer format I planned, I am writing a narrative about how fabulous she is (which will make her cringe to no end).
A quick glimpse of Lea’s Facebook page reveals an enviable life and family. She is a gorgeous mother of three ridiculously adorable little boys, all under age 6. She and her husband not only manage to dress and feed the boys everyday, but also make sure they are all enjoying life to the fullest. On a Saturday, she’s likely to invite our family on a hike when we are still in our pajamas and trying to figure out how we can stay like that all day. Seriously, they go on hikes – a lot – with three energetic little boys, one of whom is a baby!
When she’s not taking advantage of local offerings, Lea is bringing her family on a boatload of vacations. I have low-grade anxiety for at least a month before taking my kids on a trip an hour away, but she takes her boys on incredible vacations at least four times a year. They have passports for God’s sake! I don’t even have the patience to bring my kids to get passport photos taken, let alone travel outside the country with them.
How does a full-time teacher and mother of three children continue traveling the world? In Lea’s case, it means taking on even more responsibility. Lea excels in everything she does. Determined to continue living her dream, she became a consultant for Rodan & Fields. In less than two years, her “side hustle” is not just giving her some extra spending money. She has built a thriving team, won awards, and has even created training videos for other consultants around the world – all while continuing to teach and raise an amazing family. On top of all that, she saw a need in her community and proactively filled the void, starting a local chapter of the Lady Project, a non-profit women’s social and philanthropic group.
Whether it’s work, her family, entertaining, or supporting her friends, Lea is the epitome of a supermom. Her drive and ambition are inspirational and have made me a better person. Without her encouragement and example, I never would have taken the steps to start this blog.
Because here’s the thing – Lea isn’t perfect. There are no perfect moms. Just perfect Facebook pages. Lea is just like every other mom begging her kids to eat breakfast and stop fighting each other. As I’ve written before, that’s where the inspiration lies. If we know women like Lea also struggle with day-to-day mom life, we can certainly work our mom asses off and accomplish some of the great things she does, too. When I saw her ability to juggle chaos, a full-time job AND a side gig, I was out of excuses. It was time for me to be proactive in making my writing dreams come true, too.
Now that I’ve made Lea seem like the ultimate Supermom, I’ll let her tell you about her Bad Mom moments.
What is the most embarrassing thing one of your kids has ever done or said? My five-year-old, Eamon, recently announced to a table of guests that his mom LOVES spicy foods, but sometimes it gives her diarrhea. Really I had just gotten over a stomach bug, but thanks for that Eamon.
Tell us about one of your kid’s worst meltdowns. Not really a meltdown, but when Eamon was two his eye swelled shut from a bug bite. We brought him to the ER and they gave him steroids. The doctor warned us that the steroids may make him a little hyperactive, but we poo-pooed it and went straight to a restaurant for dinner. Big mistake! Eamon became delirious at the packed restaurant and was laughing extremely loudly and then proceeded to throw his food. He nailed another table across the restaurant with his corn on the cob. We took our food and bottle of wine to go!
What is something your kids do that drive you crazy? All 3 repeatedly asking for refills of drinks at the dinner table. We keep a gallon of milk on the table now.
What is something your kids have done this week that has annoyed you to no end? I caught one sitting on my bed pillow with no underwear on. *editor’s note: I really wish there was a photo of this one.*
What is something you have allowed your kid to do this week that you know you probably shouldn’t have. Bought Pokemon cards as a reward for expected behavior.
What is an unhealthy food you feed your kids? We frequent the Dunkin’ Donuts drive thru for munchkins more than I’d like to admit. I also let my kids eat jars of salsa con queso — so I can eat it, too.
Are there any dangerous activities you let your kids participate in? The boys love to jump off the couch onto a pile of pillows, topped with a dog bed.
What is a typical morning like at your house? I pretty much have a panic attack every weekday morning trying to get all of us out of the house by 7 AM. Maybe once every two weeks it goes smoothly, but most days you would actually see me and Jerry sprinting around the house getting all the things together that we should have the night before. Add an uncooperative kid (or two or three) and I pretty much lose my mind. It takes me the entire car ride to work to calm back down. Sometimes I worry that I am creating anxious children and that they will have childhood memories of their mom yelling “Eat! Take another bite! Eat faster! We are going to be late!” As of now they do not seem concerned at all though! They could not care less if they’re late, and I think they just wonder why Mommy goes mad every morning.
“Why Mommy goes mad every morning.” We are not alone, ladies. We are not alone.
Moms so rarely get the recognition that they deserve. Moms get shit done on a daily basis, yet rarely receive any accolades. At the same time, we try to hide our faults for fear of judgment or that our facade of perfection will be shattered. This leaves moms feeling isolated, defeated, and inadequate. Not anymore!
Mama Tries Blog is thrilled to announce a new blog series: Super(Bad)Moms. Super(Bad)Moms will feature incredible, inspirational women who are perfect on paper, but beautifully flawed. These amazing women are not superhuman. They are real.
For me, that’s where the inspiration lies. Because if we can share lows, we can certainly work our mom asses off and accomplish some highs along with inspirational women whose lives we often see as unattainable.
Remember – there are no Supermoms. There are just moms who hide their “bad” side better than others… until now!
Our first Super(Bad)Mom will be featured this week! In the meantime, if you are a Super(Bad)Mom and/or know someone who is, and would like to be featured contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a picture of my friend Lea and me, taken two nights ago. As of right now, it has received over 140 likes and around 30 comments. I can’t recall if the photos announcing my children’s births got that much action. As the accolades were pouring in yesterday, a vain part of me was a little thrilled, but that bigger, empathetic mom voice in me was stronger. “You are contributing to an unfair Facebook highlight reel. This is not your real life.”
Except, it is. But it’s only a part of it. A tiny part of it.
This was taken at the end of an incredible night that we’ve worked hard for and a post to celebrate our success was warranted. We have been working for months with a team of incredible women to launch a local chapter of Lady Project, a nonprofit women’s group celebrating awesome women doing amazing things. This was the night of our sold out launch event. We’d just hosted a room full of inspirational, driven, passionate women excited to support one another and our community. We had reason to celebrate with a selfie. But, before anyone feels deflated upon seeing a glamorous snapshot in their news feed, they must know that none of this came easy.
A picture might speak a thousand words, but this one speaks a thousand lies. Let me tell you the real story.
I did not wake up like this. While my husband took my children to run errands, I spent an ungodly amount of time on my hair. We’re talking hair dryer, straightener, and two different types of product – neither of which was dry shampoo. It was excessive.
I am wearing about 13 pounds of makeup in this picture. I used foundation primer for God’s sake! This was covered in actual foundation and two different types of concealer. There were then roughly 17 other makeup items piled on top. I think Kylie Jenner would have told me to tone it down if she, you know, hung out with moms in their late 30s.
Lea and I both hate shopping, yet spent two full hours at the mall days before this picture was taken in order to find perfect ensembles. I ended up wearing a blouse I bought in desperation, and she ended up wearing an old one of mine because she’d left her brand new, steamed blouse at home in her rush to leave a house full of kids. She realized she wasn’t wearing a bra when we got to the event.
Shortly before this picture was taken, I was standing barefoot on a city street because I could not tolerate wearing my stiletto heels for one more second. I literally ripped them off my feet on a freezing, dirty sidewalk so that I could rummage through my bag to find a pair of flats I had packed for such an occasion. Sophisticated.
Two Words: Photo Tricks. I don’t really look like this! Are you kidding me? First we found a spot out of harsh light. We then worked on the angle. Several shots were deleted until we settled on this one. And then, the piece de resistance – Instagram filters. After that process, I could make a picture of my elbow look hot.
And then there’s the event itself. We bombarded our Facebook pages with event teasers and advertisements. We used words like “excited” and “thrilled” but we left out the ones like “terrified” and “freaking out.” We didn’t put up any posts bragging about letting our kids watch two straight hours of YouTube so that we could figure out how to sell tickets on Eventbrite. There were no pictures of the pile of laundry that was accumulating at the top of my basement stairs posted to Instagram. I most certainly did not tweet about the amount I sweat the day leading up to the event or the stress dreams I had about speaking in front of a crowd. Nope. To the world of social media, we seemed like two confident working moms doing it all. Ha!
So, before you go comparing yourself to pictures and posts you see floating around your social media page, it’s best to know the truth. Sure, I might have a special evening once in a while, but most of the time, I’m rocking dirty hair and jeans I’ve worn two dozen times without washing. And you better believe that those special evenings mean that I’ve dropped the ball somewhere else.
If you don’t believe me, allow me to share a video my daughter took of me literally licking wing sauce and blue cheese off of a plate – taken less than 24 hours after the aforementioned photo. Also note that I didn’t post this one to Facebook, even though it’s more “me” than a night spent in stiletto heels.