Am I the only mom who feels I need an assistant? Someone who can help me differentiate between Monday and Tuesday? Sometimes I get things so mixed up that I show up at school having forgotten which of my kids' class field trips I'm about to go on. On Halloween, I was the only mom to show up for one of their class Halloween parties. You know why? Because parents weren't invited.
Usually, besides some minor embarrassment, there are no consequences. But today I really screwed up. I planned to register my son for house league baseball the day registration opened, on November 15. I arranged my day so I could be at the computer with my credit card for precisely at 9 a.m. I had everything in order.
Except I didn't.
It turns out, today was November 16, and by the time I registered him at 9 a.m. the league was already full. FULL.
Anyone who knows my oldest son knows that baseball is his life. He has loved it since before he could walk. He knows every single player in the MLB and what teams they were on before they ended up on whatever team they're on now. We read a baseball book every night before bed and he memorizes their statistics, "fun facts" and "interesting tidbits."
When I realized my mistake on at 9 a.m on November 16 I broke down into tears. Not just a few tears, but big blubbering it's-the-end-of-the-world tears. I know in the grand scheme of things this really isn't the end of the world. Not even close. My kids are healthy and happy, there are other baseball leagues, other registration days. I'll just mark it on my calendar and add a big loud bing of a reminder so I don't miss those.
Yet my reaction, or overreaction, may be about more than just being put on a baseball waitlist. Maybe it's bigger. If you want the truth, sometimes it feels like I try so hard to stay on top of things and be a good mother, but no matter what I do I seem to come up short. I'm always one step behind. One day late. This time, it cost my kid the chance to play in the league he loves most.
I'm not making excuses, but between two active kids and their play dates, field trips, and activities I often feel like I'm struggling to keep it all straight. On top of that, I've got my own schedule: I'm in school, writing a book and trying to freelance. My activities come with deadlines of their own. My head is spinning all the time. I'm lucky to know the day of the week.
Don't get me wrong. Everyone is busy, and yet everyone else knew yesterday was the day to register their kids for baseball house league. (Did I mention it's full?) I certainly don't feel sorry for myself. I do, however, feel sorry when it impacts my kids negatively, as it did today.
Maybe there's a lesson in all of this. Maybe it's just a matter of being more organized or taking the time to be more mindful, to slow down rather than rush ahead at breakneck speed. Maybe that's what I'll try going forward, since an assistant isn't really in my budget.
If you're reading this, you can probably empathize with my feelings. You're probably also too hard on yourself. You definitely aren't alone.
Perhaps if my goal is to be a good mother, I shouldn't be focussing on getting every single date right, or signing up for the right leagues on the right day. If I want my kids to know I love them, it's about greeting them with a smile, being happy to see them, and giving them the attention they need at the end of the day. I'm doing them a disservice by moping around all day, giving myself a self-induced migraine, even if it's on their account.
As I leave to pick them up at school, I'm going to cheer up. I'm going to put the waitlist behind me and smile. More than anything, that's what kids need: a happy mother, even if she's a little disorganized.
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