In defence of exhausted mothers everywhere

I do not consider myself a vain woman.  I have wash and wear hair, could never be described as a fashion diva, nor do I have a lot of time, energy or – heck, I’ll admit it – money for fancy makeup, nails and the like.  With that said, I occasionally walk by a mirror, glance into it, and wonder “who is that poor exhausted middle aged woman?”

Then I sigh, and realize it’s me.

I remember a famous quote by my favourite columnist, the late Erma Bombeck.  She once wrote “Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.”  I live more by that motto, than the “it’s better to look good than to feel good” motto, and I can prove it!

I have provided, following, a list of what our family did/accomplished/completed in one typical, insanely busy week last year:

Celebrated The Rational One’s birthday; finished fifth in the hurdles; ‘swam up’ to Cubs; ate dinner with 80 of our closest Scouts Canada friends and family; voluntarily served barbecued burgers to 300 public school kids and their families at a school event; re-sodded the grass; hit a homerun; passed level six swimming; bough tickets to see R.E.M. in concert; got the car repaired; walked the dog 21 times; worked 40 hours (each parent); met a Russian mobster when he jumped the line at Starbucks; helped a little old lady onto the streetcar; got environmentally friendly and switched to the TTC; and gave up environmentally friendly transportation when I loaded my kids into the minivan to drive across town to play three on three hockey.

We set up the spare bedroom for my mom’s (“grandma’s coming!”) visit; washed eight loads of laundry so my mother wouldn’t think my life was out of control; picked up Mom from the airport in rush hour; watched my youngest son score eight goals at three on three hockey; picked up a pound of coffee at the new Starbucks at 9:59 pm (whew!); watched my eldest play three on three with kids who were old enough to be shaving, and he did great; got the tire on the minivan replaced; set an appointment with the allergist; delivered my son to a birthday party; and took the other son shopping for ‘skinny jeans’ – what are they?

We picked up groceries, drove to the cottage, cut up a tree that had landed on the cabin in a thunderstorm.  We went swimming; went tubing; went tubing again; had a campfire; went fishing (unsuccessfully); tried to teach the kids to water ski; had a barbecue; cleared stumps; cleaned up the beach; raked paths and taught our kids to drive a fishing boat.  Watched a movie; played a board game; lost in poker; completed a project on Mesopotamia that I didn’t even know he had to complete; attended a hockey “parents party”; dropped off Mom with my sister; donated time to the community centre; coached a game of baseball; went to the R.E.M. concert; tidied up the house; looked at the calendar for next week; hugged my kids (a bunch of times), kissed my husband (a bunch of times) and went to bed.

After learning she had a terminal illness, Erma Bombeck wrote a great column titled If I Had My Life to Live Over.  Most poignant on the list was “I would have sat on the grass with my kids and worried less about grass stains.”  I don’t want to wish for a ‘do-over’.  I’ve earned every dark circle and wrinkle, but that’s not old age, that’s living; and I’m loving nearly every minute of it.


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