Sunday, July 27, 2008

Being a Supermom

There has been so much activity going on that I have to question whether I can keep up with the expectations that people have of me. Everything is going great, and then sometimes all these self-doubts creep up and I feel like I can't do it anymore. Maybe it's because my whole life has changed. Maybe I am not feeling as confident as my family needs me to show. Maybe I'm PMSing. Maybe it's a combination. This week, though was a real roller coaster.

The 21st was our 17th wedding anniversary. We went to the park for the Monday night Family Fun night hosted by the city and it turned out to be someone selling some MLM juice product. Gymstars was there to entertain the kids outside while the parents were watching this live infomercial inside. As Ashley put it, it was a train wreck. So, we left, walked around the park for awhile, discovered some bunnies (like the kind living in the bushes )in grandma and grandpa's backyard) along the way, and went home. Okay, so it wasn't the greatest thing we've ever done on our anniversary, but it wasn't the worst either.

That's when the self-doubts started to surface. Did my family expect more from me that day than I delivered? I mean, we didn't plan anything special. It was a typical day. Ashley and I went to the gym in the morning, home schooled the rest of the day, then we all went to the park. And, oh yeah, it was our anniversary. I think Ashley and Derek were disappointed that we didn't make a special day of it, but I really didn't make any plans.

On the 23rd, we took Ashley to her dental appointment in Corona. This was a biggie. She was going to have her four-part kiddie partial removed from her smile because her adult teeth are budding through. We prepared her by encouraging her about how wonderful it is that she's growing up and getting her new adult teeth in. She got really excited and couldn't wait to get into that chair! When the hygeniest was removing it, she was very gentle and talked to Ashley the whole time, letting her know everything that she was doing. Ashley was a little nervous, but also brave and anxious to make the transition. After it was removed, the hygenist showed her a mirror and Ashley smiled and actually squealed. Then, she asked to see her x-rays so that she can see the pictures of her adult teeth. In a kind of surprising way, she asked pointed questions like, "What am I looking at? Which ones are my six-year-old molars? Which ones are the front ones that are coming in? Will I need braces when I get older?" At this point, I'm feeling that self-doubt again. I should be asking those questions! Where the hell is my head? So, I stood up from my seat, looked at the x-rays and let Ashley show me everything. Ashley is an amazing little girl, and I am so proud of her for being so brave, so inquisitive, and so positive. I just hope that I can deliver all the things that a supermom can. Here's a picture of Ashley holding her bridge:

Friday night we went to Summertime Movies in the Park. We brought a blanket, a Taco Bell picnic dinner and parked ourselves on the grass. There must have been a couple hundred people there! They had crafts for the kids, activities and games for the families, music, prizes, etc. After making a couple of craft projects, Ashley played "red light, green light" with about a hundred other kids, we helped lead a huge conga line around the park, got up in front of this crowd and made fools of ourselves by leading the "Hokey Pokey" before finally settling down when the movie began. Derek bought Ashley a glow necklace that she used as a belt. She's so cute! It was really cool to lay there on the blanket under the stars watching Madagascar. Derek said, "hey, there's stars up there!" I looked up, held his hand, and we kind of slipped into our own world for awhile. Ashley laid back down between us and we went back to watching the movie again. That was really nice to spend some time like that together.

Yesterday was the opposite, unfortunately. Maybe it's my PMS, but it was not a good day. I was not in a good mood and I don't have any good reason. Last night was so wonderful! I wasn't very nice to Ashley and Derek and they didn't deserve it. Needless to say, I feel very guilty about it. Supermom wasn't available, that's for sure! This whole week I questioned my capabilities of living up to high expectations came to a head. After Ashley and I got home from the gym, we were working on a math workbook and we hit a mental block. She got intimidated with adding bigger numbers and couldn't remember how to add 1 + 1 all of a sudden. I said, "What is going on, Ashley? Did you turn the switch to 'off' in your brain?" She got defensive, I got mad, she refused to do anymore work, the whole thing collapsed. Derek intervened and then we started sniping at each other, which made me more defensive. I finally said that maybe I'm doing more harm than good here and maybe Ashley should go to a real school that has real teachers. I obviously can't do this. Then Ashley started crying and said that I'm a good teacher and she wants to be home schooled. I just said that I don't think that I can live up to everyone's expectations of being the one who is confident, fun, a good mom, a good wife, etc. I got my socks and shoes on and wanted to go for a walk. Ashley grabbed me by the legs like she was drowning or something and said "don't go, mommy, don't go!" So, in a huff, I took off my shoes and layed down in the fetal position on the bed and said that I'm done. I said told them to deal with the workbooks and everything else in this place themselves. For the next 15 minutes or so, it was quite. Ashley started humming a song quietly, which annoyed me at first, but then relaxed me. She gave me her doll and a kiss and told me she loved me. Derek asked me what was wrong and what he could do to make things better. I said that I didn't know, but that I felt like a failure. Derek said, "Are you kidding!? You are doing 98% of everything and you're doing great!" Then, Ashley said, "Yeah mom, you're doing great. I love you." Then she gave me a hug. Ok, so the meltdown was over at that point. Now I'm feeling guilty for torturing them. What the hell is going on with me?

That night, we went to the Promenade Mall for a free disco concert. We've never been to that mall before, so we walked around a bit. Since Ashley's birthday is coming up on August 19th, I thought that maybe we could go find some stores that she likes and she could make a birthday wish list. So we found a Disney store, a KB Toys, a Libby Lu, a Build-A-Bear, a lots of other stuff that Ashley got excited about. I took notes on the things that she wanted for her birthday and I figured that she wants about five grand worth of stuff! We promised her that we would do the best we could and that she'll have a fun birthday no matter what. So, then we decided to check out the concert. When we got there, the band was still setting up, so we decided to go back inside the mall for awhile and get Ashley an ice cream cone. Then, we got distracted exploring more of this huge mall and never made it back to the concert. We had a good time, so missing the concert wasn't a very big deal.

At the end of the day, everything ended up all right. We played some games in our room that Ashley set up with Dixie cups, unloaded the groceries that we picked up on the way home from the mall, and went to bed. As Ashley went to sleep, I was looking at her and thinking about what a wonderful person she is and how lucky I am to have her and Derek. I was feeling guilty about how I behaved earlier, but I know that they understood and they amazed me by showing me so much love and kindness through my meltdown. I fell asleep with happy thoughts and feelings knowing that, no matter what, these two are really there for me when I can't be there for them.

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