I will tell you again and again that I just wasn't built for motherhood. I have about a baseline education in what I think it takes to be a good mother, but sometimes I think that those natural maternal feelings were lost during my creation. I'm impatient. I yell. I lose my temper way too fast. Yet as the years go by, I start to feel like I have a foothold in motherhood. I'll feel like I've learned enough from my on the job training as a mother to handle all situations well. Not perfectly, but well. I'll go along like this for awhile until something knocks me off my feet.
Today, that something was Picture Day.
I promise you friends, I thought I was prepared. My little Mac who hates dresses, found one she liked at Walmart of all places. My darling Caitlin had decided to wear what she wore on the first day of school, which was perfect. A week ago, we had it all planned and settled. Then yesterday it all went to shit. Mac decided at eight o'clock last night that she didn't want to wear that Walmart dress or any dress for that matter. Mac is famous around here for not liking dresses or ruffles or sparkles. You can say she is a no nonsense kind of gal. If Mac had her way she would wear screen printed tees and shorts everyday with her favorite pair of tennis shoes. I should start the hash tag What Mac Wore on Instagram so you all could marvel in how far I've come as a mother. These days I let that kid wear whatever she wants. Of course Mac decided that the Walmart dress wouldn't do when I had hair dye on my head, and two kids to throw in the tub. I started going through her closet and through some hand me downs from Big Sister and realized that Mac really doesn't have much of a wardrobe. I was able to find two fairly new dresses that Caitlin wore in kindergarten, but those were not even remotely acceptable.
I was sitting in my closet floor, hair covered in black hair dye, close to losing my shit. I called the Hubbs from the other room and said, "Do we just go to Target or what?". And because I'm crazy and easily fly off the handle or have panic attacks about such things he just said "Sure why not". I showered, threw the girls in too, and was able, with his help, make it to Target by nine o'clock. I know. On a school night. Shopping for clothes for the next day. I'm telling you this blog literally writes itself some days.
Here is where my story starts to get sticky. Mackenzie picked out two pairs of pants and one shirt. She also found a pair of sparkly Mary Janes that we just couldn't pass up. We had discussed with Caitlin on our way over in the car that sister really needed new clothes, especially for picture day. Of course as soon as we walked in, Caitlin started pulling things off racks like she was on Super Market Sweep. When it was all said and done, Caitlin walked away with new unicorn printed leggings (because, duh), a Shopkins shirt (if you don't know what Shopkins are, I want your life), and new boots (because the Cartwheel made them 25% off, so duh). At the time, I really thought we were walking away happy and content.
Then I woke up this morning.
I woke up this morning at six. Six. Once I got my eyes to adjust to my iPhone screen, I woke up Caitlin who asked me to curl her hair. All of her hair. It took me forty minutes, and by the time I set the last curl, the first curl was already out. Awesome. Then I sent her to get dressed, while I tried to wake up Mackenzie, and wash my own face because it was probably the only chance I'd get to do so today. I'm telling you I live a glamorous life.
Mac got dressed in her new leggings and shirt. Happy with her new sparkly Mary Janes. I combed her hair and was just about to congratulate myself when I heard the crying. The sobbing. The sounds of discontent that are so familiar to me.
Caitlin was losing it.
The short story is, "Sister has a better outfit than me". Add to that, the fact that we had less than thirty minutes before we had to leave the house. Then add on the fact that she refused to wear the same thing she wore on the first day of school, because she couldn't wear it twice. Good Lawd Child, are you a Kardashian? Then her shoes were dumb and her life was over and so on and so on, and I was losing my shit in tandem. It was beautiful and my husband was most likely drawing up divorce papers. At seven forty five I did my best to hold it together, I yelled a few times, but was able to reel myself in. With minutes to spare, I helped her pick out a nice shirt to go with her new unicorn leggings and new boots. Tears were shed, nerves were rattled, and we were late to school by our own personal standards.
All this for picture day.
Here's a thought. Why don't we take pictures on the first day of school when we are excited and chipper. Don't we always wear our best on the first day anyway? My kids look amazing every day that first week. Even their hair looks great. But now? One month in? Fatigue has set in. Homework has replaced playing in the yard until the street lights come on. No one wants to get up in the morning. No one knows what to wear and God forbid we wear anything twice.
Picture Day had me exhausted by eight twenty this morning. I'm sure my kids were too. There is so much pressure on them and us as parents to make sure those pictures are perfect. To make sure we get our moneys worth for every sixty dollar packet (that is not an exaggeration). Picture day is just another "something" in a long list of "somethings" that derail me. Mostly because I don't think they are a big deal. It's picture day, right? How does that compare to those three in the morning feedings, or that time we tried to sleep train Caitlin? I'll tell you how, that baby wasn't telling me how awful her life was because she had to wear the same dress twice at three in the morning. I thought things were tough then. Now that my kids can talk, things get very real, very quick.
Tonight, as I get ready to watch my favorite shows that are only on Thursday nights, I'm going to say a prayer. A prayer that my girls kept their eyes open in those pictures. A prayer that they smiled their real smiles. A prayer that their hair isn't a disaster.
Because surviving today is just the beginning. I'm smart enough to know Picture Day still has the potential to kill me.