Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Busy Mama Mantra

I'm sorry!

About a week after I left a message on a good friend and busy working mother's answering machine, she called me back with this: "I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you! I've been so busy it feels like I'm always saying I'm sorry. I'm sick of saying, I'm sorry. Sorry I forgot the lunch, sorry I was late for the meeting, sorry I didn't get it done. Sorry."


That resonated with this busy working mama (thanks again for Tuesday 12-1 CST you energy-sending intelligentsia, you) who thought the comment precisely captured the chaos and guilt that is contemporary maternity.

Today's List

I'm sorry I haven't been commenting on your blog. I miss you! Once the grades and interview are history, I will be back.

I'm sorry, Scarlett, that you wanted to play at Madison's house but I called Ellie. I wasn't listening very closely because Merrick was naked on the floor screaming and I was trying to find that new Stephen King book Stryker lost.

Stryker, I'm sorry that you're reading adult books without parental screening: your Mama doesn't have time to read each one first. She understands you will one day stumble across a wholly inappropriate and potentially damaging scene of sex, violence, despair or degradation and be duly altered (as she was).

I'm sorry I went to bed before the movie was over last night, sweetie.

I'm sorry! That sweatshirt is in the laundry and I haven't gathered the courage to walk into the basement this week.

I'm sorry, but you can't have a cell phone. I know everyone else in the play has one, even the little kids. Think of yourself as a trend setter. Rebel?

I'm sorry this hurts your feelings but I can't help it. He is Satan's Familiar and I hate him.

Oh no! Merrick, I am so sorry! I didn't even see you there. Is it bleeding?

I'm sorry I haven't called in a few days, Mom.

I'm sorry! I forgot to call you back about that grant proposal.

I'm sorry, I can't be President of Parkway Little League because I actually know nothing about baseball - on top of all the other reasons.

Sorry it took me so long to return your book -- and about the new coffee stains on the cover.

I'm sorry that I can't sew a costume for your presentation at school. We have a needle and spool of thread somewhere in the house but these are power tools and they scare me.

I'm sorry I forgot to thaw the meat, forgot Scott's birthday, forgot to pick up the library book on reserve.

Sorry, but I can't get to that revision until Wednesday.

I'm sorry I came to the appointment without the paperwork already filled out.

I'm sorry that we missed the first class! I wrote down the wrong date.

I'm sorry, but no, there will be no locking the bedroom door for some afternoon delight to the soundtrack of "MOM WHERE ARE YOU?" Not today. Probably not this semester. Or year. Or ever.

I'm sorry, but I cannot read that book out loud again. Not ever.

I'm very sorry I experimented with my remaining Xanax as part of preparation for Tuesday's job interview. My deep desire for a nap leads me to believe that 2 pills is overkill. On the other hand, I am pleasantly unconcerned about that recent sound of glass breaking.

I'm sorry I can't continue the list, but it's back to work because I'm already feeling sorry about the slim commentary my students may receive on their papers this week!

Now that I've shaken that out of my system, I am going to focus on apologizing less and telling all my dear Mama friends in the real world and this one, that there is no need to say: I'm sorry.

We're doing the best we can!


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I'd be careful with the Xanax--I don't think "pleasantly unconcerned" is the best job interview attitude!

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

I'm sorry you are so overwhelmed, but glad that there is someone out there dropping as many balls as I am.

Jennifer H said...

Hey, we have that soundtrack!

I agree, we should all say it less.

JCK said...

Thanks for letting me feel better about all the apologies owed. Too many. Too often.

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Far out. You are making me tired. You need a holiday.

dkuroiwa said...

Strangely enough, reading this made me feel sooo much better about my own schedule...funny how our definition of "busy" changes over the be the "busy" I was 20 years ago...that would be like a vacation!!
Great post....hang in there...go easy on the Xanax, luv!!
Margaritas are my choice!!

MamaBird said...

Nuff said. No sorries to the sympatico mamas online. And so sending you good karma for Tues!

Cheri said...

At the risk of sounding like someone who has heard the High School Musical soundtrack one too many times, we're all in this together.

Mrs. G. said...

I will be sending you your good energy mojo (I did the math), but I must tell you that this post came close to giving me chills-I spent much of the day mentally apologizing to half of the people in my life who currently need something from me-none of it unreasonable.

Sweet Irene said...

I think I need to give you little bits of my life which is surprisingly full of empty spaces.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

"I am pleasantly unconcerned about that recent sound of glass breaking" ~ this made me laugh right out loud!

Don't take too many chill pills.

Jocelyn said...

So WHAT is the book you won't read out loud again? Anything Berenstain Bears, I trust?

Keep in mind, as you grade, that studies (nebulous ones I refuse to name) have shown students take in the first three suggestions, if we're lucky, and after that, we've wasted our time. In truth, I think they just go to the grade and never look at even the first three.

Melissa said...

Oh my. I'm exhausted. All that saying sorry, but is it all really your fault? Chin up, Matron. You're a contender and we're in your corner!!

Anonymous said...

"Love means never having to say you're sorry." Recognize that, anyone?

Optimist said...

We have that soundtrack as well! Funny how it doesn't faze my husband AT ALL!!
(What is up with that?)

xoxo Optimist

peter hoh said...

Here's what you need for Satan's Familiar: