Underachieving Moms Club

I am possessed of the vague and disquieting sense of disease that comes from knowing you are incredibly behind in everything you are supposed to be doing.

Case in point: I promised my kids a month ago I would make them banana bread. I’ve tried three times, and every time I go to do it someone has eaten the bananas below the requisite number needed to make said bread. So they have been eating the Frankenberry cereal that one of the grandparents bought when we were in Africa for the past three days, a sickly, pink concoction that I keep hoping they don’t admit to anyone at school was their mom’s idea of a balanced breakfast.

I said a week ago that Brody was stinky and needed a bath. He still hasn’t gotten one. I bought the shampoo but I haven’t figured out how to get around the fact that my shower hose attachment is missing. It confounds me.

We’re behind on reading and spelling homework, behind on grocery shopping, behind on the 10 blog posts I’m supposed to be working on, and don’t even get me started on laundry.

It was in this state of mind that I arrived at the grocery store after dropping the kids off at school, when I heard a voice chirp my name from behind me at the Starbucks kiosk. It was the PTA Vice-President.

“Oh, are you volunteering this morning?” she asked. I looked around. I was indeed at the grocery store, not at school, but she asked it with such certainty that I realized that for her, you either went to work, or you volunteered at school.

“Um, no, just heading home,” I said.

“Ah, it’s so nice to have a day off,” she said. “I love being able to get the house clean.”

I nodded vaguely.

“And cook for the family.”

I covered the fishsticks in the cart with my purse. Technically that counts, right?

So it was that I took my non-volunteering butt home, walked past the piled up dishes, plunked down on the couch and motioned for my smelly mess of a dog to get up on it with me while I tried to finish a couple of things on the computer. Oh, who am I kidding. I was on Facebook. I was doing several things, none of which involved baking, cleaning, or being productive.

I say all of this because I ran into another mother this afternoon, who was having a similar crisis of conscience. “I don’t know how these women do it all,” she said. “How do you?”

I answered truthfully. “I don’t.”

I watched my kids egress their classroom, with hair in need of a trim and homework that had probably been done incorrectly, and walked back home to my wreck of a house and stinky canines. I wallowed in my mediocrity as I tried to reconcile my advanced degree with the fact that I don’t get New Math. I decided that the PTA moms are secretly popping Xanax and Adderall in the janitorial closet because it’s the only possible explanation for their overabundant energy and dedication to jazzercise at 5:30 AM.

“I’m sorry you’ve been eating pink cardboard for breakfast for three days,” I said to my kids.

“I like the marshmallows,” said my son.

“I’m sorry you are still a stinkbomb,” I said to Brody.

He licked me.

I don’t have all of anything. But I have a little of everything, and that’s enough.

Filed: Blog, Daily Life, Mother of the Year, Musings Tagged:
  • Vonny

    My good and only dog is overdue for a bath because my back hurts too badly right now to get myself into dog-washing position. Also, I’m behind in laundry since it has been raining and I don’t have a drier. I did on-line food shopping, which I consider the epitome of laziness for me, because of…life.

    Your kids and dogs still love you and will survive on Frankenberry gunk and fishsticks and lack of baths. You’ll catch up eventually, so don’t sweat the small stuff and please, don’t let any PTA person give you the guilts. Enjoy!

    Oh, did you remember to buy more bananas?

    • *sigh* The bananas were all green. I’ll have to check back in another day.

  • Cwb829

    I have three kids, one dog, and I’m one of the youngest Vice Presidents in my organization. I also haven’t put away my laundry or my husband’s laundry in about three months. Technically, my husband should be putting away his own laundry, but you understand. Last week’s library books that my preschoolers brought home weren’t actually read – I made up a story based on the pictures.

    I’m lucky that my dog, an aging Schipperke is relatively low maintenance and non-stinky. He gets a bath maybe every 4 or 5 months, but does get brushed regularly to help with shedding and seasonal blowing coat.

    You aren’t alone. I don’t do it all either.

    • Glad I’m not the only one who makes up stories! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Anonymous

    Do you think maybe Brody ate the shower attachment while you were gone because he actually likes being stinky? Hmmmm….explains why he’s not upset at all. ๐Ÿ™‚ And thank you for sharing. It helps to know I’m not the only one who lives in a state of being two days behind where I should be!

    • Probably. That would explain a lot.

  • monica

    I think you are being too hard on yourself! We are all busy busy people and life just gets away from us.

    • Thanks Monica. It sure does!

  • Robin Rankin

    I’m always behind. Always, always, always ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Me, too. Obviously. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • I don’t even have the excuse of kids in school, and I can’t keep up! (mine are all in college) and I just got a puppy…everything in my house is dirty, smelly, and has little shredded bits of paper on it.

    • Oh, puppies are almost as bad as toddlers! LOL!

  • Deanna Taylor

    I never have bananas when the mood for banana bread strikes.. So, I started freezing the brown ugly banana that’s always left over. I think I have about 10 frozen bananas.. That’ll make a lot of banana bread.

    I have two dogs (a bordie collie whose hyper activity astounds me, and an 11 year old pit bull whose the mellowest thing this side of a monk) a 3 month old, and a 14 month old. Just be glad you’re not me. As we speak I’m breastfeeding the young one, and being a jungle gym for the older one! Laundry? The only laundry that gets done is the baby’s clothes, adult clothes never make it there.. dog baths? Okay, the pitbull gets bathed.. because she’s white, and my oldest likes to place food upon her.. and randomly shows up with weird coloured stains.

    My house is a write off, my yard.. omg.. don’t get me started on my yard.. But, my kids and dogs are happy, well fed, and clothed.. Even if I’m not. I just try to ignore the vomit stains on my shirts.

    <3 I remember my mom letting us eat cereal for dinner, and at the time I thought it was the greatest thing ever. Now I realise it was because we were poor, but hey it was amazing when I was a kid. So, don't worry, your kids probably think it's awesome that they're getting SUPER HYPER SUGAR CEREAL… I gave my 14 month old some lucky charms as a snack.. She just picked out the marshmallows, and flung the rest away.. Funny how even at this age they just know the good stuff.. Okay, I'm just rambling now, someone is hitting me in the face so I think I better go..

    • Do you freeze them with the skins on, or off? My mom froze them whole but that never seems to work for me.

  • Oh wow. I can so relate. Your post reminded me of some kind of quote I heard years ago that said, “Years from now, what are your children going to remember from their childhood? Are they going to remember that their mom always kept the house clean, [the dog smelling nice] and was always organized? Or are they going to remember that you were just an awesome mom that had fun with them?

    My little girl badly needs a hair cut. And as I type this I am surrounded by laundry that I managed to clean but haven’t put away yet. But hey…I love my life. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing.

    • Great quote. I need to frame it.

  • Jeanne

    i have a husband, 2 dogs and 2 cats and i can’t keep up. i don’t know how you people with kids do it. the cooking, the cleaning the exercising.. and it’s the same way at work. you get to a point where even trying takes too much energy – if you could even figure out where to start. i got my self a neoprene sleeve for my ben and jerry’s pints (so my hand doesn’t get too cold), i crwl under my blanked it in my favorite chair, grab the remote and try to just let it go. makes me feel better..and worse…all at the same time.

    • Oooh, they make neoprene sleeves in Ben and Jerry size?

      • Jeanne

        ben & jerry’s makes them. little vermont scene with cows. you can probably get them on their website. or if you ask real nice, maybe one of your vermont fans will send you one…!

      • Jeanne

        http://www.benjerry.com click on gifts, then click on misc.

  • Karen

    Neat post (as usual!) but you are being too hard on yourself. The reality is nobody does it all. It’s impossible. The VP of PTA doesn’t do it. Angelina Jolie doesn’t do it. Nobody I know does it all. Those that can even come 1/2 way have a village of support around them — I’ve noted this is a big help. I find so much inspiration in all the lovely women I know (look in mirror) riding in the same boat and all the great things they do. I’ve been saying for 3 years that we’re re-doing our front yard…at least every Halloween it looks good. And long hair on boys is in style. And if it’s not, it is now.

    • How about bat nails? Because I can’t remember the last time I trimmed anyone’s fingernails, either.

      • Karen

        I just let them chew them off. Check. I’m not kidding. ๐Ÿ˜€

        • Ha ha ha ha Karen! Your comment made me laugh. I chew my own off when they need a trim, too. Shhhh.

  • Much like you I too have misplaced my brass bra. My wonder woman routine is woefully lacking. BUT, I have 6 happy pugs, 2 happy children, a job that leaves me feeling useful to society, and a home life I enjoy. Just stop: look around, and ask yourself if in 100 years it will really matter. That’s my philosophy and I’m stickin to it! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • So true! (And was that the deal her bra- brass? Sounds uncomfortable.)

  • I have a lifetime membership to this club. I have a Math Night PTA meeting tonight (which I have nothing prepared for) laundry is all over my bedroom (clean on top of chairs and the table, dirty on the floor) I don’t know what my kids are wearing to school today, what they had for breakfast, or what they packed themselves for lunch (they get themselves ready for school now and onto the school bus) Pretty sure both my dogs could use a bath (I’ve had one of them for a year and a half, he’s had a total of 2 baths, and one semi-bath when he went spelunking into the kitty litter and had bits of kitty poo stuck to the long tangly hair in his ears) and nail trimming, all the cats definitely need nail trimming. The carpet needs cleaning, the floor needs washing (but hey its mostly swept at least, but that’s because its my son’s chore)

    Yesterday while doing errands that I had been putting off for weeks, we ran into a park we’d never been to before, and ran around happily largely by ourselves given the chilly autumn afternoon. Came home and had a yummy dinner, which my daughter proudly helped me prepare (yeah, I asked), and spent an hour walking my adventurer cat outside on a harness, while my kids were inside avoiding their homework. I did manage to work on altering my daughter’s Halloween costume, its ALMOST finished, which sometimes turns into NEVER finished, but I am determined to not do that this time. She may not have her school assignment turned in on time, but she will be the cutest Queen of Hearts!

    • Oh, that spelunking imagery had me dying. Been there.

  • Debbie

    LOVE your blog! You clearly have the right priorities. Besides, time has been going by faster and faster than in the past and it’s hard to get much done with the hours going by so quickly.

    • Thank you Debbie!

  • Sue W.

    I firmly believe if you don’t slow down, life will slow you down. I have a reason for believing this, as I was a multi-tasker before multiple sclerosis slowed me down to a monthly tasker. Let it all go, enjoy life…before life insists on it. Don’t fret at what doesn’t get done. “The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up
    on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”
    ~Anna Quindlen~

    • That is a great quote!

  • OMG nothing is worse than when you FINALLY muster the time and energy to do something (like make banana bread) but you don’t have everything you need to do it. It’s like the universe is conspiring against you!

    • And to add insult to injury, every time it’s JUST one less than I need. I need three, and there are 2. Every time. Doesn’t matter if I bought a bunch the week before or the day before.

  • JaneK

    all I can say is that PTA moms are overrated and you rock!! You have amazing passion for the things you believe in; you use your knowledge and skill for good; you have just fufilled a life dream: seriously, I am stuck watching life pass me by b/c I can’t pull it together to even achieve some smaller dreams. There is WAY more to life than a spanky clean dog, kids homework that has been uber checked, etc etc. You are clever, smart, and pretty and it is pretty apparent you love your kids and husband. So you go girl!
    Stewart Smalley ๐Ÿ™‚

  • mybrownnewfies

    And here I thought I was the only member of this club! I am behind in just about everything that you mentioned plus 20 more things! Please do me a favor, if you ever get the New Math, let me know. We have been struggling with this for 2 years now! I mean really, who’s brilliant idea was to add from left to right and what the heck is wrong with carrying and borrowing?

  • Cathey

    That’s the great thing about dogs & kids – they get it! They get that you can’t do it all, but as long as you love them, the world is right! Lots of good quotes ahead of me, but the Anna Quindlen quote rocks! Thanks for everything, Dr. V!

  • Abby’s Mom

    Glad to hear you’re seeing the good side. No one can do everything all the time. A tip on the banana bread: when I’m short a banana I just substitute in an extra egg. It turns out just fine.