I was at Saorise's MyGym class today feeling a little frazzled. We're all getting over a hurricane-force cold, and now that I can move my head about without weeping from the pressure, I'm realizing that Easter is in a few days, and spiritual readiness aside, I've got cleaning to do. And shopping. And cooking. And...you get the idea. Especially if you've ever hosted a major holiday get-together for your family when you have teeny tiny children running about (or scooting, or nursing, or napping when you need to be shopping...), you know that even if you're the most laid-back of individuals (secret, please?), there's some work to be done.
Unless you're this very nice woman I know--I'll call her Nancy. She's the mom of one of the boys in SK's class, and I know her from the gym (my gym, not MyGym). Nancy was telling me today that she's all ready for Easter, though there "are some last-minute things" that will need to be done. But she has the children's gifts bought and wrapped (how many gifts are they getting,I wondered? Eek). Food's ready, house is ready (she has four children, count 'em--four. I quake in awe in the presence of her peace of mind). Then we got to talking about our gym (again, our gym, not MyGym. This can get confusing, especially when our gym is only two doors down from MyGym.). And Nancy just happened to joke about how she takes a morning class, zips home in enough time to take a quick shower at 10, then hurries to dry her hair and get ready before her son's 10:30 class. My mouth may have dropped open when she said this. You don't understand. I've always admired how well Nancy is always so put-together. Make-up done. Hair blown out and styled. All in a matter of sheer minutes. Did I mention that she has four children? I realize that I will never be of the cool-calm-and-collected type (did you ever watch Popeye? Can't fight your personality, man), but I have to admit I felt a little uncoordinated and unorganized by comparison.
See, I had managed to shower this morning, but that was a minor victory. No gym (my gym, not MyGym)--that'll be tonight, if I'm not dragging with exhaustion after the kids go to bed. I spent the morning getting breakfast for the kids and preparing food for our sick elderly neighbor, which took way more time than it should and involved enlisting David's help to clean and season a dead chicken, and shuttling the largest spider ever seen in the mid-Atlantic region out our door (that was after the cooking part, don't worry). And as I stood there, with Quinn strapped to my back in her carrier (not convenient when the dear baby weighs 23 pounds), watching SK throw herself into the ball pit, I was very conscious of my appearance: jeans (I won't tell you that this is the 3rd time I've worn them). Notre Dame football t-shirt from 2008. Damp hair that I yanked into a bun right before we stepped out of the house. I did manage a little make-up and some earrings, but let's be serious--it wasn't my best look. Oh, well, I thought. Some days are better than others.
About 10 minutes later, someone new to this particular class approached me. "Hi," new person said. "Are you these girls' nanny?" Oh, gosh, no, I replied. I'm their mom. "You're kidding me!," she exclaimed. "You look so young to be their mom! I never would have guessed you were their mother." I smiled, uncomfortable, and patted my hair self-consciously. The lady was very nice, mind you. But I did not take this as a compliment. How can I not look like a mom? Do the dark circles under my eyes not give me away? Oh, dear, I thought. It's because I look like a college student who barely made it to her 8 a.m. class. So now I'm thinking that the next time I leave the house, I may try to spend a little more time in front of the mirror. But if not, what can you do? Some days are better than others.