People often think that us SAHM's (stay-at-home-moms) have it easy. Here's the perception many people have of us:
We get out of bed and start the coffee pot. We gently wake our sleeping babes because we have all the patience in the world since we don't have to be at an office with big bad boss every morning at 8 AM, work clothes ironed, hair perfectly done, and make up applied to perfection.
We pour our coffee into a ceramic coffee mug and check on the kids. They are getting dressed in their ironed pants, crisp clean shirts, and matching socks. We gently move them along to eat their freshly-made chocolate chip pancakes, fresh squeezed orange juice, and perfectly toasted toast. Then it's off to the bathroom to brush and floss. After making their balanced lunch while finishing our coffee we usher them into the car, drive to school, and drop them off with lingering hugs and kisses.
Here's the reality- We grudgingly get out of bed in our rumpled pj's, hair in last night's pony tail, and yesterday's make up smeared across our faces. We make something that looks like coffee and dump it into a to-go cup. We run down the hall yelling, "Wake up! You're gonna be late!" Our kids grab clothes from under the pile that's been accumulating for the last several days, find two socks that don't even remotely match, and spend the next 10 minutes searching for a shoe. We put on ratty slippers from ten Christmas's ago, grab our cup of caffeine, a box of Poptarts, and a cup of milk for everyone to take one sip of (we don't have time to pull over for the Heimlich after all). We pull out of the driveway with kids pulling on shoes, buckling seat belts, and scarfing down Poptarts. We yell at at every idiot who dares to pull in front of us because we will NOT be that parent whose kids are late for school...no matter what stains are on their shirts and how many crumbs are on their faces. We pull into the car loop shove them out the door, tell them to run, then park to share our morning horror stories with the other moms standing their in their pj's with last night's pony tails, helping to unsmear yesterday's make up, drinking our much needed coffee, and scowling at all the perfectly made up working moms who are scowling at us for being in our pj's.
Then we come home, look at the incredible mess our wonderful children have made that resembles the aftermath of the hurricanes of 2004. We clean for about thirty minutes then quit because we've developed that "I'll do it later" attitude since we know how much extra time we have since we don't have to work in an office. We're grumbly and bitchy because our houses are a mess and we have no excuse since we're home all day. We chat with our internet friends, read a book, and watch exercise shows on TV (notice I said "watch" not "do") until it's time to pick the kids up and fill out the masses of paperwork each school thinks it's necessary to send home- so much for the country going green.
This brings me to the inspiration for this post. I love teachers....well most of them but man do I hate the beginning of school. As if we don't have enough to do trying to get the kids back on their school bedtime schedules and getting the house in somewhat of an order so homework assignments don't get lost in the first week- then we get hit with school supply lists. I think teachers work all summer on these to get us back for sending our kids for them to deal with for nine months. This year I had three very long, specific lists of school supplies since my son is a big kindergartner. Fighting other parents who crowded the aisles while dragging four grumpy kids to two different stores was not my idea of fun. And curse the companies who thought it would be fun to put designs and characters on the front of notebooks then quadrupling the price. Apparently, plain fifty cent spiral notebooks are no longer acceptable.
Apparently for this mom it wasn't fun either:
Dear Mrs. X:
In just over a week, you will be my son’s Grade 1 teacher. He is ever so excited to be under your tutelage. Why, since the last day of kindergarten, entering your class was all he could talk about. He gleefully thrust a piece of paper into my hand on that June afternoon, and said, “Here’s a list of the stuff I need for school next September!”
And I have to admit, I, too, was excited. I’m a school supplies geek from way back. And so, in early August, I set out to buy the items you’d listed.
It was on my fourth store that the realization began to sink in.
You’re a crafty b#tch, aren’t you?
This list was a thinly disguised test. Could I find the items, exactly as you’d prescribed? Because if not, my son would be That Kid, the one with the Problem Mother, Who Can’t Follow Directions.
For example, the glue sticks you requested. In the 40 gram size. Three of the little buggers. (What kind of massive, sticky project you’ve got planned for the first day of school that would require the students to bring all this glue, I cannot imagine.) But the 40 gram size doesn’t come in a convenient 3-pack. The /30 /gram size does. But clearly, those would be wildly inappropriate. So I got the individually priced 40’s, as per your instructions.
Another bit of fun was your request for 2 packs of 8 Crayola crayons (basic colors). The 24 packs, with their 24 /different /colors, sat there, on sale. I could have purchased /three/ of the 24 packs for the price I had to pay for the 8 packs. (Clearly, you’ll not be teaching the youngsters any sort of economics lessons this year.) Even the cashier looked at me, as if to say, “Pardon me, ma’am, but are you slow?” as I purchased these non-bargain crayons. But that’s what the list said. And I was committed to following the list.
But the last item, well, now, you saved your malice up for that one, didn’t you? “8 mm ruled notebooks”, you asked for. Simple enough. Except the standard size is /seven /millimetres. One. Millimetre. Difference. Do you realize, Mrs. X., exactly how infinitesimal the difference between 7 mm ruling and 8 mm ruling is? Pretty small, I assure you. The thickness of a fingernail, approximately. But that millimetre, that small bit of nothingness, made me drive to four different stores, over the course of three sweaty August hours. And when I finally, finally found the last remaining 8 mm notebooks, I took no pleasure in my victory. I merely shifted my focus. To you, Mrs. X.
You wanna dance, lady? Let’s dance.
Because I am just batsh#t crazy enough to play your games. And, in turn, come up with some of my own.
On show and share day, my son will be bringing the video of his birth. It will be labelled, “Ben’s First Puppy.” Enjoy.
He will be given a list of words, and daily, he will ask you what they mean. Words such as, “pedophile”, “anti-semite”, and “skank”. Good luck with those.
At some point, you will attempt to teach him mathematics. And I’m quite sure that, like most of your ilk, you will require my son to “show his work”. And he will.
Through interpretive dance.
Because that is who you’ve chosen to tangle with, toots. A stay at home mom who is not entirely balanced, and has altogether too much time on her hands. But is, most certainly, A Mother Who Can Follow Directions.
The above letter was passed on by a friend who got it from another website. I'd love to give this mom credit if I could. That's one bad-ass SAHM.