I fail at Mom.

16 Sep

I suck at Mom.

I realized, half way to school this morning, that I had forgotten to brush Vivian’s hair. Because I refuse to unveil her winter coat before October, she was wearing a swacket (it’s not a sweater, not a jacket, it’s a swacket) over a shirtdress, with a Batman toque on her head.

All the other little girls had pretty hair, neat coats, and pretty much ignore her, with the exception of the sweet child who once lived across the street from us. The boys though, apparently they love her.

I’m doing it wrong. She looks like a bag lady dressed her half the time, and I don’t want her to suffer for my inability to remember things early in the morning. Shit, I even feel bad because I didn’t pack a sandwich for her, knowing that she prefers to nibble anyway. Worried that this will make me “the bad mother.” Worried that the other little girls won’t want to play with her because she’s “weird”-and not in that fun way, but in that Glass Castle way…

I’m not set up for this.

It’s a lot to worry over, a lot to remember, stuff I could barely remember for myself in school, stuff I still have trouble remembering now, not always grasping the importance-I never cared what I looked like, not really, and now I have to care for her and it’s hard…

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17 Responses to “I fail at Mom.”

  1. outburst September 16, 2008 at 10:57 am #

    Despite how it might look, it’s not easy for anyone.

  2. Netter September 16, 2008 at 11:26 am #

    Nope. Mom is hard. I suck at it, too. I’m so glad it’s acceptable for boys to have really short hair. I can’t be bothered to brush his. I’m lucky I can wear mine in a style that doesn’t need to be brushed everyday! The most stressful parts of my day are getting us out of the house in the morning (dressing and packing lunches and making breakfast) and getting him to bed at night. My kid wears the wackiest colors, but I’m not going to fight him to get him to match. These things are definitely tougher with girls. Really, we’re all just doing the best we can. Hopefully, your girls won’t have so much of their minds eaten up by focusing on the frou, you know?

  3. bromac September 16, 2008 at 11:58 am #

    Try doing as many of the chores as you can in the evening. Routine is key for me. Lunches, coffee, clothes…..all done in the evening. In the morning we just get up, walk to the bathroom, get dressed, get some milk, and she is left to watch half an hour of TV while I get ready. Grab lunch from the fridge and we’re on our way.

    The other suggestion I would make is to start off with a list that you can refer to every day. Once your evening/morning child chores become routine, you can ditch the list.

    As far as others not liking her. I worry about this very much with my crass, hyper, and aggressive child. I think it is going to happen to most in one way or another. I think most adults can say they experienced this at least once in their life (if they haven’t, they’re lying). I think the brainpower is better spent preparing yourself for the words of comfort she will need, than to worry over it happening.

  4. Jen September 16, 2008 at 12:05 pm #

    Aw, hell. Half the time this could be me too. Lucy takes munches for lunch every day. Her hair is always falling in her face because I keep forgetting to take her to get bangs cut. She has friends but at least half of that is her dogged refusal to take no for an answer.
    Being a mom is tough, and having a smart, creative kid is double-tough. If it makes you feel better, I was always sent to school perfectly matched and coiffed and with uber-balanced lunches replete with notes tucked in and I had very few friends (thank goddess for military families.)

  5. thordora September 16, 2008 at 12:26 pm #

    I’m taking my worry to the nth because I’m sick. But it was HORRIBLE watching this wretched little girl, whoch Vivian already said won’t let her on the swings, shove in front of her and drop her bag on hers while the teacher just did whatever. Because I didn’t know the right thing to say.

    The list this is a VERY good idea, and I’m doing that Bromac!

  6. cinnamon gurl September 16, 2008 at 12:45 pm #

    Oh I am SO not looking forward to school. We don’t own a hairbrush or a comb. I shit you not. So far Swee’pea doesn’t have enough hair to brush, and mine and my husband’s is too curly. I’m so screwed if the need arises… there’s no way I’ll remember.

    I’m with the commenter who suggested figuring out how to talk to Vivian about this stuff rather than trying to prevent it. I don’t know the answer to THAT one but let me know when you figure it out, ‘kay?

  7. dayatthebeach September 16, 2008 at 2:57 pm #

    I worry about this too with my boys. I always stressed over not having any kids come to their birthday parties or wanting to come over and play. Boys don’t have slumber parties or I’d worry about that, too. But it evens out. My oldest will be 15 tomorrow (gasp!) and yeah, he’s a quirky kid. Wears a lot of black, listens to weird music. But he’s smart. Funny. Creative as hell. And well liked. Because kids figure this out eventually. That those little snobbish girls grow up to be big, snobbish, high-maintenance girls. And the cool ones are those that are different and comfortable in their different-ness. So longer as she’s comfortable with who she is, she’ll attract friends. Boys are drawn to her because they don’t care about all that exterior crap. I say this as I send my little boy to school with camoflauge pants, black dress socks and a Power Rangers shirt. Hmm. I think I forgot to comb his hair. He’ll live.

  8. Jennifer September 16, 2008 at 3:12 pm #

    Don’t beat yourself up about it.

    Seriously, it’s no wonder you’re nuts when you beat yourself up about the little shit. :p (insert, sarcasm here….eh!)

    I can brush my kids hair 12 times before school and the moment she walks out the door she has bed head again. Not sure why.

    She has no girly ways. She is the favorite of the boys because she can beat the tar out of them and dig in the dirt better than ANY of them. Even though she adores dresses she always looks like she’s been working in a coal mine (with bed head) since birth. I’m afraid of meet the teacher night because I just *know* that I’ll meet all the other perfect moms who kick back with their scrip of prozac and a bottle of booze every night killing themselves to be perfect. Then I’ll feel inadequate. Fuck that.

    And my kid more often than not won’t eat her sandwiches, so I just send her “a la melange” and let her graze, much like she does at home. I gave up trying to get her to eat sandwiches.

  9. Jennifer September 16, 2008 at 3:14 pm #

    Oh, and as for the little girl. We’ve had this issue in daycamp. I told Morgan that she needs to stand up for herself. There was an incident with older kids not letting her on the slides. First I told her to tell on the kids, and she said that one of the boys pushed her and yelled in her face. I told her to kick him in the shin, or higher if she could.

    Yeah. Schoolyard violence works. He backed off after she kicked him.

  10. thordora September 16, 2008 at 5:06 pm #

    I’m just having a good case of “fucks up everything she touches” pity party lately, and a smidgen of “wish my Mom was here to ask.”

    I want her to be different. When she told me last week that no one would play with her, I told her, fiercly, that being different was GOOD. But seeing it up close, happening to my vibrant intelligent FUN kid-I was rendered speechless. I know how to defend against boys, but girls, and their evil little ways? Hard.

    And because secretly, I HATED never fitting in, and so there’s that part of me that doesn’t know what to say because I always wanted to just be part of the crowd without question. And I never was.

    I should stop worrying about crap like this, and focus more on the FUCKING PLAGUE that will not leave my head. Stupid school.

  11. March September 16, 2008 at 5:34 pm #

    your post has got me thinking… do kids already discriminate by the other’s appearances?
    my mother was a walking OCD, even more than I am, and we would never leave the house without a ironed shirt, perfectly shined shoes and pain-inducing-pulled-back hair. she simply would not have been able to stand it otherwise. I do remember other girls in my class had not so neatly ironed clothes, but it never really mattered to me (we had a school uniform though, so maybe this is not a good reference).
    I do Morgan’s hair cause I’m my mother’s child and I obsess about things like that, and my mother would raise from the grave if I sent her to school with hair unbrushed (seriously, I could almost hear my mother’s words).

    but do I think that will make her look better to other kids? will that help her in making friends?

    I’m not sure about that.

    I don’t discriminate on appearances, never really have. I’ve had friends that are very poor, very rich, lazy enough to get out of the house just out of bed and “princess” that have a full make-over before stepping out of their bathrooms. in the end, that did not draw me away or closer to them. just like it does not now.
    I follow personalities.

    so you have me thinking about this.

    the list thing suggested here is a great idea… and if you can stand it, I’d say get up a half hour earlier so that you have time for yourself and can gather your thoughts without interruptions…

    can we shield them from being rejected? can we push them into being accepted more cause they have a certain print on their shirts or not?

    a few weeks ago Morgan had her first rejection (that I was there to witness). a couple of girls were playing in the playground behind our apt, and she wanted to join them, she went up to them with her little dolls in hand and started talking to them, they simply were not interested in Morgan, and told her to go and leave them alone. She came to me, and having heard everything taht was said I did feel sad for her but not too much, I told her that it’s ok if not everyone wants to play with her, and that she can play by herself when that happens. I told her she did not need them, and she went out and played by herself although I did see her looking at the girls from time to time. I don’t know if she was scarred by this incident. but coming back to the topic, I don’t think her being dressed differently or having her hair differently would have made a difference, these two little girls would have still told her to leave them alone.

    we cannot control it.
    we cannot make anyone be friendly or kind… but we can teach them to dust it off if someone is not nice and to defend themselves when someone is not nice.

    it’s a hard one.

    I’d say the most important thing is how she feels at school, is she comfortable or she feels self-conscious?

  12. alimum September 16, 2008 at 9:32 pm #

    I suck at mom too.

    I rarely brush Julian’s hair and oftentimes am wiping off the food from his chin as he is walking into his classroom.

    FWIW, I think Vivian’s outfit sounds cool and cutting edge–very harajukiu girl…the other girls snub her because they are jealous (they just don’t know it yet)

  13. flutter September 17, 2008 at 12:39 am #

    The hell you do.

  14. Gwen September 17, 2008 at 3:36 pm #

    I could say all sorts of things that might be comforting or adviceful (that’s not a word?), but instead, I will just say, T, that you are not alone in feeling this way. And I’m sorry you’re struggling right now. (And you should see the things my children have worn to school, with very little long term repercussion, I promise.)

  15. Helen September 17, 2008 at 3:51 pm #

    Advice for both you and your daughter, Thordora:

    You should tell Vivian (and you should realize yourself) that the other kids don’t care THAT much about her. They care more about themselves, and are only really thinking of themselves. “Do I fit in?” “Will I be accepted?” So neither you nor Vivian should worry so much about what other kids think. They, AND their moms, are more concerned about how everyone else is perceiving them!

    Always has been, always will be. We keep thinking that others are thinking of us, when really they’re thinking of themselves (as are we).

  16. Marcy September 17, 2008 at 8:55 pm #

    Oh, Helen! Thank you for saying that. Wow, how hard that is to remember.

    I so dread school. Sometimes even playgroup and church is hard.

    A kindergartner, son of our pastor, stopped eating for three days — and finally confessed that it was because a classmate called him fat. Yeesh!

  17. Diane September 19, 2008 at 4:11 am #

    Forgotten games kit, lunch money, homework, forms that needed to be filled in … everyone does it.

    Get up ten minutes earlier and gives yourself a fighting chance of getting everything done rather than run round like a looney with no time to think.

    And don’t forget to pick her up from school at the end of the day!

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