Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Do you know the Muffin Man...

Wednesday May 12, 2010

Do you know the Muffin Man...

...The Muffin Man, the Muffin Man
Do you know the Muffin Man
Who lives on Drury Lane?
Muffin Man, traditional folk song

I publicly confess this story because it will show you just one of the many million moments that I struggle to balance my roles as mom and working professional. For all you who think I've got it together, this will prove that I'm a wreck, though I occasionally fake sanity convincingly.

So, this morning, I woke up almost an hour late. Now that I'm back at work, I try to get up at 5:30 a.m. so that I can nurse, pump, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, scan the headlines, feed Jay, get both boys dressed, pack up lunch & pumping parts for the day. (Good Lord! I'm tired just reading that list!) But today I didn't wake up until 6:15, so I was in a big fat hurry from the moment I woke up until 8:10 when I rolled into the office. Only 10 mins late - not too shabby. Derek, being the wonderful hubs that he is, offered to take both boys to their respective schools so I wouldn't be any later than necessary.

What I had forgotten was that today was Muffins with Mom at Jay's daycare. (Stretching out Mother's Day for a week - just one of the myriad reasons I love that place!) I'd gotten the email last week, but I completely forgot about it after it slipped out of the top 10 most recent emails. Derek called me at 8:18 to remind me about this big event. He reminded me what a great time he had last year after Father's Day at Doughnuts with Dad. I don't really want to turn around and leave work only 8 minutes after I arrived. I'm only in the office 3 days/week, so I really need to make the most of the time that I'm there. But there's this picture in my mind...

At at table in one of the Sunday School rooms down the hall, I imagine the happy moms sitting beside their happy kids munching on blueberry muffins and sipping OJ. The kids are all swinging their feet, happy to be at the "big table" instead of the usual kid-size one in their classroom. (It's those swinging feet that really got me!) Over in the corner of the room, I see a table with one poor, pitiful, lonely child - the only one whose mom couldn't come to Muffins with Mom. He eats his one little mini-muffin in silence while all the other moms laugh and smile with their perfectly behaved children. OH THE GUILT!

Not my baby! Jay won't be at the lonely kid table! I pick my purse back up and drive like a lunatic back downtown to the daycare. I make it there right at 8:30, the designated start time for this special event. I walk in, kid-less, while all the other moms who remembered this big party bring in their kids. I walk back to Jay's classroom; he sees me and immediately runs up to hug me. (He *never* does that when I pick him up!) I can see the joy in his face and the surprise at seeing me in the morning. His teacher comes up to me and says (I couldn't make this up) "Y'all are down the hall - it's just for moms. Jay - come on back in to have breakfast with your class."

WHAT? You've got to be kidding me!

Jay's little chin begins to quiver - he's fighting tears, big time. His mommy is here at school, and now Miss W is sending her away? Way to break my heart-and his!- into a million pieces. I pick him up and we have a nice snuggle in the hallway. I want to cry, too. But he heads on into his classroom and I'm left standing in the hall thinking "How the bleepety bleep did I get here?! But while I'm here, I might as well get my free muffins, dammit!!"

So, I trudge down the hall to eat breakfast. I sit down at the table with a bunch of moms whose names I have never heard. I know them only as The Pregnant One, or Suzie's Mom, or That Lady who Drives the Lexus. They are all downtown lawyer types, the kind who wear heels and perfectly pressed suits to work every day. I'm wearing my stretched out cardigan that I bought on clearance at Target 6 years ago. Sigh. They talk about the schools they will send their kids to when they age out of this center, and how they have had to suck up to the program directors to get their kids in. I haven't felt so excluded since sixth grade.

I sip my OJ, nibble my muffin and grapes, and make some small talk. When I can't take it anymore, I finally make some excuse about having to get to work, and I leave. On the way out, I notice that the sign says "Muffins FOR Mom." Not WITH ... For. Big difference. Note to self - read invitation a bit more carefully next time.

Posted at 10:07PM May 12, 2010 by Jen Foster in General | Comments[7]

Okay - I have to say - that's just weird. Why would the daycare assume that all the mothers just want to sit with each other? Why do dads get to eat donuts WITH their kids, and moms have to eat muffins with other mothers they don't even know?

Posted by Ginger on May 13, 2010 at 10:14 AM EDT #

Ginger - I totally agree! I had to call Derek on the way back to work and ask "Um, y'all really did eat WITH the kids, right?" And they did.

Bizzare. I was pretty peeved yesterday, but I'm laughing over it now.

Posted by Jen on May 13, 2010 at 11:53 AM EDT #

My only guess is that their thinking was that the stereotypical dad probably needs encouragement to spend some time with his kid and would loathe being forced to make small talk with the other dads, while the stereotypical mom would love a break from childcare and have some adult conversation?

Posted by Derek on May 13, 2010 at 12:15 PM EDT #

I totally agree that it should have been "with child"- at least you can go back to work with no guilt for having left your kid there dangling his feet from the big table and sniffling back tears while downing his mini-muffin ALONE!! Another point added for "Mother of the Year" award!! LYTB, AJ

Posted by jeannette johnson on May 13, 2010 at 01:32 PM EDT #

Jen, I'm so sorry, but I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face -- laughing. Only because I KNOW that frustration. Seems like the more I try to do the right thing -- the best thing -- the more I get it so wrong.

I do have to say that I had those same images in my head last week when I was invited to Riley's school for a special "Mother's Day Snack." I couldn't figure how I could go. I worried and worried about my poor child -- only one without a mommy. But I also couldn't figure who was going to teach that precious little class of autistic boys that I have on Friday afternoons. And, don't forget, I had promised to learn Miley Cyrus's Hoedown Throwdown dance to perform for that afternoon's EOG pep rally! My problem worked out better, though. I was so relieved when I realized that Jaunffrey was taking Riley out of school around noon that day to head to Virginia. (Yes, I'm the mom who wasn't even with her child on Mother's Day because I was supposed to be studying for my assessment.) So Riley wasn't there for the special snack. Whew!

I do think you should write this down as one thing to hold over his head when he's an ungrateful teenager. You DID care enough to rush out to be with him. (Never mind about the writing down -- That's what you've done here. Duh! But you get the idea.)

Posted by Amy G. on May 15, 2010 at 09:49 PM EDT #

That made me cry.

Posted by Lisa on May 20, 2010 at 12:28 PM EDT #

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