I am writing this at the end of a very intense week of over-scheduling myself and the Babe, with moderate success. If you are reading this on Monday when it posts (or thereafter) it is entirely possible that I will not have learned my lesson and will either be at a library story time or a funeral. In either event, the entire month of May has been one grand experiment at trying to be that perfect, always-have-a-plan Mommy.
Let me rewind to the beginning of the month when I was having one of my self-pitiful panic attacks about being a bad mother. This was how I comforted myself after the Babe's birthday fiasco and how I chose to address some of the conflicting emotions I was experiencing at the approach of Mother's Day (still writing that piece) and well, whenever I convince myself that I am under-doing it...
I began plotting and researching ways to enhance the Babe's social development. I investigated home schooling; purchased tickets to child-centered performances; populated my calendar with free cultural events for us to attend; finished her passport application; am taking an eight-week class on baby language development; am also learning some American Sign Language to teach her so that we can communicate; and plotted every library story time within a 15 minute drive from our home. And I still have another full week left in this month!
Mind you, no one has suggested that I am over-doing it, yet.
And no one will because I have learned that motherhood is a competitive contact sport (like roller derby without the skates and the skimpy outfits, but in heels/sneakers and classy sweater sets/yoga pants). The goal may be to raise a decent, honest kid, but there are so many, many ways that simple plan can be derailed. No one expects half of this effort from fathers, but we all recognize that the success of one's child(ren) is wholly dependent on how intensely the mother pursues every possible opportunity to gain an advantage. Do not be fooled into thinking otherwise.
For example, the husband and I took the Babe for her 9-month checkup and let's just say, we left that appointment feeling like illiterate teenage parents. The doctor suggested that there might be some language delays and it immediately tripped the Hub's inner defensiveness switch, which led us to investigate a variety of services and programs for which we were ultimately deemed ineligible. And that might have been the end of that line of inquiry, except by chance we took advantage of another opportunity that convinced me that we have been seriously slacking!
Of course which is not true, but clearly my job as a stay-at-home-parent is not merely to keep the Babe from killing herself. It is to expose her to any and everything she is missing by not being in day care, which in addition to communicable germs, is pretty much everything. So she goes to play group once a week to see and play with other children. And upon that foundation I began formulating a master plan which is what led to the creation of a massive color-coded wall calendar in my kitchen filled with daily Babe-centric activities and events.
The fact that I am exhausted is irrelevant. The fact that she might be overwhelmed is too bad since she cannot protest, yet. The fact that this is only the beginning and that things will become much more complicated and involved as she gets older is well, LIFE.