Monday, September 29, 2014

Be Amazing

At the gym today, I saw a guy wearing a t-shirt that said something like "To do: Get up. Be amazing. Go to bed." I laughed at it, but later I got to thinking. Since it was a guy wearing the shirt, it might have been an ironic commentary on men with a tendency to think all too well of themselves. Or it might have been a straight-forward declaration of his opinion of himself. It doesn't matter.

What I realized as I was biking away from the gym (because I have to be fit, and save the world from automobile exhaust at the same time), is that we women, maybe especially us moms, long since internalized that command. We feel like it is our job. Get up, probably earlier than we want, and hit the floor running. Breakfasts, lunches, get the kids off to school (for far too many this means driving them. I figure I'm doing something right, because I shove my teens out the door to get themselves to school), all while trying to ingest that all-important first cup of coffee.

Then hit your "day job," whatever it might be. You'd better be amazing there, because whatever you do you'll be judged by a tough standard. Then home again (or in my case, stagger up from the computer) and be sure all the chores are done. That people have clean clothes. That the floor's been swept sometime this decade. And make dinner.

Dinner's the worst. If it's healthy, someone's bound to snoot it. If it's not, they may eat it up, but you'll feel awful for feeding your family something that's not good for them. If your spouse or kid gets sick somewhere down the line, with anything from the sniffles to cancer, you'll know it's your fault for getting them take-out that night instead of cooking veggies and teaching them from infancy to eat them.

Many of my fellow bloggers participate in the IWSG, the Insecure Writer's Support Group. I realize that I am more secure about my writing than most of my life. I may not be brilliant, but I can write.* I'm a great deal less convinced that I can parent. Motherhood offers so many opportunities to realize that you have completely, totally and utterly failed your children, maybe with the best intentions in the world. Or maybe because you know, deep down, that you are too lazy to ever be a good parent.

The teen years are especially good for this. My oldest is a high school Senior. That means that this fall we are not only having to push him into thinking about picking (and applying to) a few colleges, but every time I read a list of what a kid should have done or be ready for at this age, I realize again that I failed to do that.

On a good day, I can remember that I've done my best, and we were working with some challenges here, as Eldest Son is on the autism spectrum, being mildly Aspergers. Sometimes I don't believe it; sometimes it's so obvious. But on a bad day (and at my age, honey, you get a fair number of bad brain days), I'm pretty sure that a REAL mom would have made sure he knew how to do all those things. Would have gotten him involved in clubs and sports and probably directed him how to save the world before age 12.

On a really good day, I remember that he is loving and creative and brilliant, and very little I can do will change anything anyway.

Then I can go write. Because every day that I even sort of meet my responsibilities as mother, wife, writer, and schools advocate, and even sneak in a workout, I've been freaking amazing.

Goal accomplished.

*On the other hand, I don't know squat about marketing and am surely doing it all wrong. That's another post for another day.



  1. Rebecca, there was no way I wasn't going to read and comment on a post like this! The first thing I'm saying is that pic is absolutely adorable, assuming it's your eldest son :)

    OK, that said, I'm going to say this, regardless of whether or not you know it: NO parent is perfect in ANY way. We are human, and certainly in this world we live in, makes being "perfect" impossible. I think most of us, as parents, have good intentions AND certainly would like to do EVERYthing as a parent "perfectly." Sorry, but---NOT going to happen. Even the mom/wife who ONLY does "mom/wife" stuff is going to have bad days, forget things, or do things that are ultimately not the "best" thing for her family. You are doing YOUR best, and even if your best means you're doing a lot of things in spite of your laziness, etc., then that's your best. Your family will have the life they're going to have just as every human being on this planet does. The fact that you love your family and care is what matters most. They know that, too :) So yes, you (and I and most of us out here) are "amazing" in our own ways :)

    Btw, the fact that you mentioned applying for college. Yesterday I realized I wanted to put up the post that includes tools I created to help with the whole college thing, especially as far as filling out applications. I spent the whole day sick with food poisoning and am just now bouncing back a bit, so I doubt the post will be ready by tomorrow, but hopefully by the next day. There will be downloads you'll probably find useful, so you may want to check them out. Actually, they'll be on my blog, not the one.

    Meanwhile, I'm glad you ended this post on a very "up" note :D

    1. Thanks! Of course I know that no one is perfect, and that all parents mess up in many ways (though I really do sometimes compare myself to how my parents did, and I don't come out so well). Being an "old mom" doesn't always help. We are dealing with an interesting mix of hormones in the house these days!

      And yes, that's Eldest Son, at about 9 months, learning to walk on a pack trip by cruising along logs over really rough ground!

  2. I did it again...I wrote this long comment about how sometimes I feel like an impostor both in life and in my creative pursuits, and then deleted it accidentally.
    technology is not my friend, but I loved this post, nonetheless. :o\

    1. Well, that's a form of amazing, right? :D I'm not sure it's good news, but it seems like just about everyone feels like an imposter at least part of the time. I wonder if that was true back before we were bombarded with images of the ideal all the time? I guess that's what books of saints and martyrs were for--to remind people that they are pathetic fakes at best.

  3. I have a friend who laughingly calls herself a "Super-Mom" but I never felt that way. Sometimes I feel like a success then something happens and I feel like I failed and then . . . it is a roller coaster ride but mostly one I have enjoyed and never regret. And Yes, you are a good writer, and Marketing ?!? Yikes. We will probably be posthumously discovered and only Disney will make money

    1. Thanks! I refuse to let Disney get rich off the Ninja Librarian :D

      I worry a great deal more about my boys' futures than they do, but that's natural, I suspect.


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