I’ve used the term ‘scatter brain’ a lot lately. The truth is, this is how my brain feels with all the things I have going on while parenting three kids.
Last week I rushed from picking up my preschooler from one of her classes to my daughter’s elementary school to help another parent count popcorn money. My role on the parent PAC is to coordinate the popcorn and lemonade volunteers, help with set-up and cleanup, and count the funds raised. I had to bring (drag) my preschooler with me to count the money from our sale last week. The other mom and I gave my preschooler a job sorting out quarters and then we began our chit-chat while counting the coins.
During our conversation, I found out this mom’s daughter shares the same birthday as my middle daughter and they’re in the same class! Perhaps my daughter did mention this to me, and I simply forgot. Anyways, while we were counting money, the other mom asked me what day I was going to bring my birthday treats to the class. Since the girls share the same birthday it didn’t make sense to bring them on the same day. When she asked me this question, however, I kind of laughed saying, “Oh my god, I didn’t even think about baking birthday treats.” In all honesty, I probably would have been at the drive-thru at Tim Hortons the morning before dropping her off, grabbing a box of Tim Bits. I told her I would bring my birthday treats Monday, and she could bring her treats Friday.
After I left I started thinking about the birthday treat conversation. I was a little embarrassed that bringing birthday treats didn’t even cross my mind, but I knew this mom wasn’t judging me. She was simply asking, so we didn’t overlap. This mom was going to bake her daughter’s class cupcakes from scratch-impressive! The thought of baking cupcakes from scratch with the busy weekend full of birthdays and parties, and redecorating my daughter’s bedroom, stressed me out, and I kind of chuckled at myself for even considering it.
This conversation about the birthday treats also reminded me how forgetful I can be. More importantly, it reminded me not to take things personally. In the past, I might have taken this conversation to a whole other level. “Oh my god, she was totally judging me for forgetting.” My dad always says, “different strokes for different folks.” In this case, I was reminded of the silly tone he uses when he says this and how silly it would be to feel offended.
I’m the mom, that doesn’t bake birthday treats for my daughters class from scratch. Instead of decorating cupcakes, I like to decorate bedrooms. I’m the mom that forgets things (a lot). I’m the mom in the drive thru grabbing Tim Bits the morning of, with five minutes left until the bell rings. I’m the mom that helps out at the school when I can, dragging my preschooler with me. I’m the mom that chooses to spend time writing instead of baking. I’m the mom attending events, giving back to the community, and networking instead of crafting. I’m the mom that throws birthday parties outside of the home for convenience. I’m the ‘scatter brain’ mom who often wonders if I will ever fully have my shit together.
And you know what? The mom that bakes the cupcakes from scratch, she is probably wondering the same thing.
To the moms up at 7am baking cupcakes from scratch and the moms at Tim Hortons grabbing Tim Bits and to the mom who doesn’t even bother bringing a birthday treat at all; this is a reminder that you’re doing a good job. You’re doing the best you can, and we’re all in this mom thing together. We may have different approaches to doing this mom thing, but at the end of the day, our children all want the same thing; our love and attention ( and a birthday treat is nice, but kids don’t care whether you bake it or not).
So, if another mom asks you what kind of birthday treats you’re going to bring to class. Don’t take it personally. Don’t rush out and start baking a three-tiered cake because the guilt’s eating you up (unless you really want to). Just remind yourself of the things you love to spend your time doing. In my case, it’s usually things that don’t stress me out the way baking does!