When I was growing up, we all jammed into the back of a station wagon, seatbelts-be-damned, and we were lucky if our parents actually came to a complete stop in front of the school at drop off. One of my best friend’s moms was always still in her dressing gown, hair in curlers, windows cracked just enough to let the cigarette smoke out, even in the dead of winter.
Cut to 2017. First of all, now parents walk our kids right into the classroom, we sign them in and practically give a DNA sample each morning. Oh ya, and we get dressed. But not just dressed, some of these moms are decked out like they’re off to their CEO jobs on Wall Street. Except that they’re not. They’re meeting the rest of their mom squad for coffee. So why the ensemble? Most mornings I’m lucky if my kids both make it out of the house in shoes, how do these women show up looking like their next stop is the front row of Milan Fashion Week, not the Starbucks down the street? And even when they’re dressed down… did you know they made $600 high tops? Well they’re a thing. As are ripped jeans that cost more than my first car. (I know this because I once had a few too many cocktails at a Nordstrom shopping party and decided that my mom uniform of jeans and high tops needed a major upgrade). Clearly I was succumbing to the pressure I feel surrounded by these moms who have way too much time and money on their hands…
And I’m not the only one. One of my friends with a kid in private school gets anxiety about school drop off. As if moms don’t already have enough on our plates, she gets up an extra hour early to do her hair and plan her outfit. She even once begged her husband to be late for work so he could do drop off and save her the humiliation of having to show up with pimple on her chin. The horror!
Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves and each other? We’re all just doing the best we can, why is it that the one mom with her perfect lob and buttery highlights, or the handbag we’ve been saving up for or a fancy new SUV can send us into a tailspin of envy or not feeling good enough? The highlight reels of filtered Instagram feeds and professional family photo shoots can make even the most confident mom suddenly feel like a total loser. Not only are my profiteroles not Pinterest-worthy. What the hell are profiteroles? I know this is a first world problem and that the fact that I can whine about my inability to perfect the messy bun or crustless quiche puts me at the tippy top of the lucky scale, but that’s just it. Why do we always find something to complain about, someone to compare ourselves to and a reason to feel shitty about even the most trivial thing?
I think it’s time we all gave ourselves a break. Being a mom is about so much more than the pressures of keeping up with the Joneses (let alone the Kardashians). When was the last time you just sat in the quiet and cuddled with one of your kids for no reason? Not to comfort them after a fall or rock them to sleep so you could get back downstairs to finally watch the last episode of Big Little Lies or to try to coax them to let you stay in bed a little longer with an early morning group hug in your California King, but just because? When was the last time you left your dishes overnight or the laundry in the dryer so that you could spend the last few minutes of your kids’ day with them? Or better yet, the last few minutes of your day doing something for you? The dishes will still be there in the morning, Laundry baskets get emptied eventually and messes always get cleaned up. Your kids are only this age once. Have you ever heard anyone on their death bed say “I wish I’d done more laundry?” Exactly.