The mask of professional parenting

Last week I became the Room Parent for my daughter’s kindergarten class. I also went to my first PTA meeting. WHO AM I.

I seriously feel like I have graduated into some sort of Professional Parenting League. Life these days consists of packing lunches, attending soccer practice and games, taking snacks to school (x2), taking snacks to soccer, recruiting parent volunteers for the classroom, creating spreadsheets to track those volunteers. Sweet mother how I despise spreadsheets. 

Is this what life is now? Snacks and Spreadsheets? Do I need to rename my blog to this? That would be such a tragedy, given the wild success and global brand recognition that Banana Wheels has achieved.

Then again, it’s really only a matter of time until the wheels fall off this banana-fueled operation anyway. I can only pretend to be a Professional for so long before someone comes along and discovers that I am just an Amateur…an Imposter  …a Clueless Child masquerading as a Responsible Adult.

Me and my Mask.

Me and my parenting mask. I don’t actually wear it every day. Just on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And yes, that’s a tiger behind me. Like I said, Responsible Adult.

Case in point: Last Friday I volunteered in my daughter’s class during math. How hard can kindergarten math be anyway? 1 + 2 = 3. BOOM. When I showed up the teacher pulled out a counting game. Oooh. There were baggies full of rocks, gems, shells – and the kids had to count how many items were in each bag.

“But you must have an adult check your work,” explained the teacher to the class. “We will know if you are correct because there is a special clue on each baggie that only adults can read.”

Awesome, I love secret clues!

She held up the first baggie, and loudly asked me and the math tutor, “Can you each read the clue?”

I immediately started to sweat. On the baggie in large black marker it read, “XLVII.”

“Yes,” we replied in unison. One of us was lying.

I haven’t used Roman numerals since NEVER BECAUSE I DO NOT LIVE IN ANCIENT ROME. Sure, I can handle some simple X and V action, but throw in the L’s and C’s and the nonsensical rule that you can put some numerals in front of other numerals to subtract them and THIS DOES NOT MAKE SENSE THERE IS A REASON HUMANS STOPPED USING IT PLEASE GIVE ME MODERN NUMBERS UNLESS WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE SUPER BOWL THANK YOU.

Needless to say, I had to sneak out into the hallway and ask Teacher Google for a quick refresher on that old timey counting system. I was so tired and sweaty after those 15 minutes of math class you would’ve thought I had run a marathon. Next time I want to help out at school, I will just stick to my strengths and volunteer for lunch duty.

Show me the way, Kenny Rogers

Things are still a little chaotic here at the farm. I don’t live on a farm. Lots of emotions all up in my face every day from both of my kids. When life gets hairy, I seek guidance in the immortal words of Kenny Rogers.

You gotta know when to hold ’em.

I’ve been holding both of my children a lot lately. When all else fails with the new kindergartener, who is experiencing a mild case of Jekyll and Hyde, we hug it out. Because Lord knows if someone took away all my friends and shoved me into a foreign building with a bunch of strangers and said, “Go learn something,” I would not only wet my pants in class, but I’d probably shit them once or twice too.

The toddler gets held because she is a Stage 5 Clinger, and also it is often the only way I can get her to move in the direction I need her to go. Also, p.s. toddler hugs are magically rejuvenating.

Know when to fold ’em.

Lately around 4:00 pm, both of my children explode. The tears are inexplicable and inconsolable. The screams are unending. And the dinner does not get made. The other day after several failed attempts at comforting and reasoning with them, I threw in the towel. I dragged their mattresses onto the living room floor (somehow this simple act brings my children immense pleasure), turned on Caillou, and let them zone out in peace. This is what it looks like when Mommy Gives Up at my house.


Confession: I never let my oldest child watch TV before she was two, for fear it would melt her brain. My youngest is 20 months, and I have intentionally placed her in front of the TV and encouraged her to watch the magic box when I need to distract her. Ahh perspective.

Know when to walk away.

As per the aforementioned kindergarten krazies, lately my 5-year-old has been exhibiting some behavior that is…how shall we say it……..f*cking terrible. Generally speaking we try to discuss and address these incidences as they happen. But the frequency has been so high that I honestly cannot keep up. And my words of reason and consequence are falling on deaf ears anyway.

So, in an attempt to preserve my sanity, I am picking my battles and lowering my expectations. I am giving my kid a Kindergarten Grace Period while she works out her demons. But those demons better get to steppin before Mommy calls an exorcist.

Know when to run.

Amen. Sing it, Kenny. I believe parenthood requires unparalleled commitment, perseverance and patience. I also believe it requires time away and space to breathe. We are terrible at getting babysitters, but I am putting it on the top of my to-do list for this year so I don’t pull a Run, Forrest, Run at 4:02 pm next Tuesday.

Smell ya later, Week 2.

Long time no see

And then I never wrote another blog post again. The End.

Or at least that’s what I was starting to think. Life has been kicking my ass over the last month. Something had to give. So I abandoned the blog and all related forms of social media to focus on the here and now. It’s been aaaalllll real, baby.

Like the day I woke up and found ants in my marshmallow bag. That’s not a euphemism. My favorite ants mounted a retaliation attack, and this time they invaded my kitchen cupboards. I hate those little bastards so much. On the upside, it forced us to finally buy some extra shelves from IKEA to serve as a pantry. I don’t want to exaggerate, but these shelves are the single greatest invention of all time. I had no idea how much better life could be with adequate kitchen cabinet space. WHY DIDN’T SOMEONE TELL ME THIS. Amazing.

We also had fruit flies, which led to me getting my head stuck in fly paper, which led to dead flies and glue stuck in my hair for a week. So that was neat. And there are enormous spiders in our house. So I pretty much hate nature right now.

Blah blah but the main thing that has left me reeling is that my daughter started kindergarten on Monday. This? This just may be my demise. I can’t tell who is more exhausted – me or her.

There are a few areas of parenthood that come naturally to me. Like loving them. But there are a few areas of parenthood that are so challenging for me. Like feeding them. I have to dig deep – I mean reeaaallly deep – to plan and prepare meals. Packing a healthy lunch for her every day requires serious thought on my end. Not to mention the need to feed her a good breakfast AND dinner. And the wild card that I had totally forgotten about – AFTER SCHOOL SNACKS. She is starving every day when she gets home, probably because she eats lunch at 10:55. I was woefully underprepared for this (due in part to the fact that we threw out 95% of our food with the antpocalypse).

So this week has felt like all I have done is plan or prepare a meal. Why is that? It’s not like I wasn’t feeding my children before this. Or was I? I don’t know. I just hope this part gets easier.

I’m also really enjoying the boatloads of paperwork that the school sends home. I have  paperwork aversion issues. Somehow signing a simple form is really taxing for me. “Oh NO – do I need to write my phone number AND look up my insurance number? Me so tired. I’ll just set it aside and do it never later never.” I’ve already lost four forms I was supposed to return.

But the real humdinger came Wednesday – Day 3 – when my daughter peed her pants in the middle of class. She was holding it in, which is sort of her thing – wait until it’s an all out 911 emergency – and the dam broke in the middle of story time and she peed all over herself and the carpet. Of course I hadn’t sent any extra clothes, so she had to borrow clothes from the nurse. It was 90 degrees out, and they put her in a pair of thick boys’ sweatpants that were 3 sizes too big, and big black boy tennis shoes.

So help me, the look on her face when I picked her up was enough to shatter my heart into a million pieces. She walked right into my arms and gave me the saddest hug I’ve ever gotten. It was all I could do not to cry on the spot. Apparently other kids laughed at her when it happened, which is the worst thing to hear when your kid is adjusting to a whole new world. And I felt like a piece of shit mom for not thinking to put a change of clothes in her locker. Girlfriend was so sweaty and miserable in those big ugly boy clothes.

Gah the whole thing still bums me out hard, but fortunately I think she is recovering well. Unfortunately she told me exactly which four girls were being mean and laughing at her, so now they will forever be devil children in my eyes. Just kidding. Mostly.

I am exhausted and hoping next week is a tad easier. I do feel sort of studly now that I have a kid in ‘real’ school. It’s like moving up from the JV team to the Varsity squad (not that I would know). No more gallivanting off on spontaneous family getaways mid-week (not that we ever did this anyway). No more dropping her off or picking her up from preschool whenever I please. Now we have a legit commitment. A schedule to adhere to. Academic shackles that bind us. Lil homey haz to learn, yo!

So I guess what I’m wondering is, do I get some sort of letterman jacket for this accomplishment? A secret password to an exclusive parenting club? At least a participation ribbon??? Because I need something to keep me motivated. I’m not sure I have the chops for the big leagues. And I can only rely on my mom hair to fool people for so long. Peace out, Week 1.