This morning, after dropping my daughter off at kindergarten, I baked these:
Yes those are Valentines Day cupcakes for Maya's class, twenty four of them. (Yes, I know, there are only 22 in this photo but I promise you I made 24 and no, I did not eat the other two.). A few weeks ago our class moms (the two woman who volunteered to contact all the parents when the teacher needs something) sent out an email asking for volunteers to make cupcakes for the class party tomorrow. Hence, these. Yes, I made them from scratch, including two kinds of frosting, and even took the time to decorate them with little candy hearts. I did all this because I have the time and I like baking. And then I posted this pic on Facebook because I like bragging. I mean really, why else does anyone use Facebook? Here is my kid's trophy. Here is my beautiful new haircut. Here is me on the beach in Jamaica. Suck it! You never see a Facebook photo of one of your buddies curled up on the bathroom floor, desperately clutching a glass of Merlot and sobbing uncontrollably because it was just one of those days. No, we keep that s**t to ourselves and just post the cupcakes.
One of my buddies commented on my photo by calling me the "Best. Mom. Ever." I love her for it. It was a nice contrast to Maya's screaming tantrum from last year where according to her I was the "Worst Mommy EVER!" (http://mamommyarchives.blogspot.com/2012/08/worst-mommy-ever.html)
I am very proud of my cupcakes. I was also proud of myself yesterday, when I spent two hours in a kindergarten classroom at Maya's school (not her own), helping kids with their writing. For free. Yes, I do that too. I bake and I volunteer. I am THAT mom.
Actually, I was disappointed this morning because after piping the very last red heart and sticking on the very last sugary candy, I looked up at the clock and it was 11:45. No time to make it to jiu-jitsu.
In my mind, I am not the best mom ever unless I bake 24 cupcakes (done), clean the powdered sugar off the kitchen counter (done), run the dishwasher (done), do a load of laundry (done), and spend an hour working on half guard escapes and triangle chokes. And then maybe teach some karate later. That, friends, is the best mommy ever!
I am in a strange and wonderful place in my life right now, where I can have one foot in the housewife world and the other in the working mom one. My child goes to school from 9-3. I mostly write in the mornings, with a cup of coffee perched precariously on the arm of my comfy Ikea chair. I teach karate in the afternoons. I get to do jiu-jitsu at 12:00, while most people are eating a sandwich at their desk, trying to make the most of every working moment. (Or chatting online with my husband. Or watching videos of kittens. Or reading my blog. Or whatever else you people do at your jobs.) Some days, like today, I get to pick up my own child from school and spend the entire afternoon and evening with her at playgrounds and on playdates and on the floor of our living room painting Valentine pictures.
We hung them on doors.
|This is Maya's. Look how free and creative it is.|
Of course, my life is not always easy. Sometimes Maya is a little brat. I often get stomach issues. Running a business in NYC can be stressful. Bow and arrow chokes hurt like a bitch. So yes, I have my own bathroom floor moments. But overall, when I look at my life, what I feel mostly is gratitude. I am lucky that I am able to make cupcakes on a Wednesday morning. I am lucky that my job also happens to be something I love to do. I am lucky that I am healthy enough to train. I am lucky to have a smart, sweet five year old whose main vice is that she talks like a snotty sixteen year old when she's had too much ice cream.
I appreciate, every day, with all my heart, how lucky I am. But also, I have made choices. We have made choices. My family lives on very little money, at least compared to most of the people we know. My clothes come from Old Navy. (I LOVE Old Navy. Even if I were rich I would probably still shop there.) Most of our furniture comes from some random thrift store, Matthew's best friend's parents, or the odd collection of items his dad had stockpiled in the basement. We do not go on many vacations. We do not eat at fancy restaurants. We do not own a house and the car we drive is a 1999 Camry that belonged to my mother. And four years ago I took the very scary risk to quit teaching full time preschool and attempt to live off of running a dojo. Thankfully, it worked out. We worked really damn hard to make it so. We work really damn hard every day for the privilege of our 12:00pm jiu-jitsu.
I swear, this is not a Facebook bragging moment, nor am I judging. There is nothing wrong with doing any of those things. There is nothing wrong with working long hours, with taking Carribean cruises, with buying a house in the suburbs. There is nothing wrong with any choice you make in your life, as long as it makes you happy.
But if you're not happy? If it turns out you made the wrong choices? Then change your life, now, today. You can do it. Go. I support you. I'll bake you cupcakes. We can drink wine on the bathroom floor together. Just do it. I promise, it will be ok. (Alright, I don't actually know if it will be ok but it has to be better than this, right? And I love you. And I meant it about the cupcakes. And the wine.)
So yes, I am that mom. The one who bakes things from scratch and volunteers at her child's school. And runs her own business. And keeps her house presentable. (Most of the time.) And I can choke you out. So there!
Well, not all of you. In fact, there are quite a few people out there reading this who also have arranged their lives to be able to put on a gi at noon. And most of you can completely kick my ass.
But can you draw a heart on a cupcake with frosting?