Friday, October 21, 2011

Birthday Panties and a Three Dollar Latte-- Trying Not to Come in Last Around Here

Yesterday morning I was tickled pink to open a birthday card from my sister to myself. This sister writes the kind of cards that tell you some of the good things about yourself that you like to hear. This was a truly appreciated and much-needed ego-booster shot. Thanks, sis.

Enclosed was a check. "I'm sending you the gift of $ for new underwear...remember that chat? Every mama should have wonderful, whole panties!"

Amen, sister!

In case you're wondering, "that chat" took place via email back in August and looked like this:

Sis, on shopping for her kids: "Somehow we have 3002 pr of underwear for them.  Not me.  I have old, ugly underwear. Not that you were wondering."

Me: "Nothing to say but "ditto on the underwear". Not that you were wondering either. Amazing, though, how I feel that a $21 3-pack of quality training pants is fine, but then I cheap out and sneer at the $10 3pack of Hanes Her Way bikini panties.....Obviously, our brains are overcooked.:)"

Not that anyone out there was wondering, but I am trying to make a point, which is this: When one is down to three pairs of decent underpants and one feels more justified in buying panties because one's sister has sent a birthday check specifically for that purpose, it must be presumed that one's priorities might not entirely be in the right places.

Or, the short version is this: Often, as moms, we take better care of our families than we do our selves.

I think I just heard a chorus of "Amen, sister!" on that one.

I do remember a time in my life when I had cute, girly underpants. Loads of them. I was also in my twenties and had time to shop for cute, silky things hung on individual hangers. Now I'm more of a "find a pack in my size and go" sort of gal. I'm a mom, and I do not have the lifestyle that allows me to go shopping leisurely for frilly things. Nor do I run those sorts of loads of laundry. If it can't live being washed on "Regular, Cold/Cold" with zippered sweatshirts and jeans, it doesn't come into the house. So, Yeay! for sensible Birthday Panties. I might even buy something with a printed pattern on them, just to show my husband that I do know how to live a little.

Still, there's that other part of the equation: the wonky priorities regarding one's personal time and space. I have sent out the memo several times, but as Kiddo can't read and has the short-term memory of a rabbit, this is of no use and sometimes the content of those memos has to be yelled at him. Like, for example, this morning. I personally believe that one's time in the shower--all ten minutes of it-- should be free of conflict and need. As in, "unless the house is burning down or your bottom needs to be wiped, it can wait". Not today.

Sent to husband, earlier today: "This morning was AWFUL. No time for tea, so picked up a latte (also b/c we needed to leave the house a little early to pull Kiddo 'out of it'. ). Let's have a meeting tonight regarding morning routines, because ours needs to be tweaked. I was getting hit through the shower curtain this morning. You are lucky I just bought a latte instead of running away to join the Occupy group downtown. While there may be some contentious downers in that group, I'm pretty sure none of them would scream at me during my morning ablutions."

That Three Dollar Latte (short, soy, tepid) was what saved my bacon and helped me to keep my head on straight. In the traumatic forty minutes it took Kiddo to get dressed this morning, I didn't have the time or space to make a cup of tea and relax. Swinging by the Huge Corporate Ubiquitous Coffee Place and spending three dollars so that I could have my head screwed on straight before dropping Kiddo off to preschool was a good call, but I still felt a little guilty about it. Leaving ten minutes early, though, did the trick; Kiddo perked up and put on his happy face, collecting autumn leaves and fallen fuchsia blossoms to give to his teachers. We even had a conversation during our walk that was not related to either electric guitars or dinosaurs. Despite the coffee, I felt more relaxed than I had since I'd woken up. We were out, we were walking to school, life was good.

I'm learning that the things I need are not going to be anyone else's priority around here but my own. My husband is pretty good in this regard, but here, I'm not really talking about him. Sometimes, on some days, I'm going to have to shout to get what I need, because Kiddo's too busy listening to his own noise. There's a method to the mad-sounding advice of "put on your own oxygen mask first, and then assist your child". Let's face it, today, if Kiddo had had his way, he'd still be in his pajamas, playing his Tinkertoy guitar, and I would be right there, rapt with attention for him and nothing else. He's four, and that's what he wants. And when I think about it, like it or not, it kind of makes sense~ four year old sense, mind you, but it does make sense.

So, I'll set my bar at a reasonable height and just say this: I don't want to come in last, nor do I need to be first. I'll be satisfied with being tied for first with Kiddo and the good husband. If we can all take turns winning, and being the one who is second or third, that's probably the best I really hope for. And a quiet shower. Every mama deserves that. Along with wonderful, whole panties, that is.

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