I had a fun exchange of comments with an anonymous commenter on my last post- my to-do list for the fall. Apparently I’ve fooled some of you people who read this blog into thinking that I have it all together. As Comrade Physioprof would say Hahahahahahhhhaaaaaa!!!
Anonymous commenter offered this:
Your life is nuts? You certainly conceal it in your posts!
I am giving myself an hour to finish my teaching statement, and then I am going home to back 25 cupcakes. And then I will spend the evening shopping for “goody bags.” Now *that* is nuts.
You all know that I have two children, who are now 7 and 11, so I’ve had a little time to adjust to my double life as a mom and an academic researcher on the tenure track. But Anonymous’ comment.. gave me a flashback to a time when I was attempting to be super-duper junior faculty, Martha Stewart, the perfect parent, the ideal wife, and social worker to the universe, all at the same time. Let me first say- I don’t recommend trying this.
I am thinking back to a day in December some years ago, when I was to attend the female faculty cookie baking event and exchange. This is a lovely tradition of a group that I belong to, that occurs every year. That particular day we had three events scheduled on the same day- the cookie baking thing- to which I was supposed to bring a couple of batches of cookie dough, a school charity event that the kids love to go to and they meet Santa there, and the violin teacher had booked a photographer to take pictures of all her students and a family shot for each family as requested. The holidays with kids, the end of school/semester etc, aren’t a particularly easy time for working moms. Talk about over-scheduled, overextended, and STRESSED OUT…, but I was competing for the prize of perfect mom-dom, faculty-dom, and Martha Stewart-dom.
I had no time the evenings before this day to make the cookie dough- so I started to make the cookie dough first thing in the morning before the school event, from two different recipes simultaneously… because it just wouldn’t be baking goddess enough to bring two batches of a single kind of cookie dough. I realized when I was doing the first round in the oven (that was 4 loaves of biscotti) that something wasn’t right. … and that indeed, I had left out at least two sticks of butter… inedible… the whole thing was. FAIL. I was beside myself, no time to correct the problem before the cookie-baking party, events #2 and #3 had to be attended. People were depending on me. But it was now confirmed- my domestic goddess title had been revoked – and I just melted down (did any if you see the new movie Julie & Julia? Well, my melt-down looked JUST like that one). Anyway- the goodness just kept coming- at the time my younger daughter was in a very difficult stage, behaviorally speaking. She refused to go to the school event, and she wouldn’t even get near the clothes I had put together for her to wear to the photographer. A huge family fight ensued about whether or not we would get our first family portrait taken that day.
It all seems so silly now writing it out like this, but at the time the whole day felt like an incredible crisis. What happened in the end? I didn’t go to the party, we didn’t get pictures taken (and we ended up using a snap-shot of the girls taken in the back of my car for a Christmas card), and only two of us went to see Santa. I got over myself, and we ended up watching a B movie on television that afternoon all together on the bedroom floor. I learned on that day that it doesn’t matter whether or not I’m Martha Stewart, the perfect mom, the ideal wife, or super-duper jr. faculty all at the same time. What really matters is that we have fun doing whatever we are doing together.
And it is OK to be Martha Stewart, a perfect mom, the ideal wife and super-duper jr. faculty- but try these on one at a time… for short stretches. 😉