My nanny called in sick a few days ago (worst possible start of my day is to find this on the news on my answering machine at 7:30 am) and so I got stuck – okay, stuck is maybe a harsh word but that’s how I felt at 7:30 in the morning – having to skip work to take care of my kids all day. Thankfully, my daughter was in preschool for most of the day, but my son, who is nineteen months old and ALL BOY (read: favorite activity is climbing up onto the bathroom sink and then dropping various items into the toilet) was mine for another twelve hours. My answer was to leave the house and drag him around to as many activities as possible in the hope of exhausting him to the point of a three hour nap, so our first stop was a toddler class that I signed up for in November out of pure I-do-nothing-with-my-second-child guilt and have since been to exactly twice.
Anyway, I walk into the class - which is really less of a class than sort of a free play with some guitar singing at the end – and the other moms, who clearly attend this class on a regular basis because they all know each other – are sitting around talking and totally ignoring their children. As an outsider, I’m kind of sitting on the periphery of their little group, keeping one eye on my son and one ear on their conversation, both because I’m nosy and because the only other listening option was a Wiggles CD, and this is what I hear:
"Oh, a little flaxseed oil and some wheat germ is so good for them. When you bake muffins or cookies, just sprinkle in a few teaspoons. They won’t be able to taste it and it’ll give them all the fiber and vitamins they need.”
Okay. So the first thing I’m thinking is, excuse me, but did she just say WHEN YOU BAKE MUFFINS? And then, as so often happens when I am confronted head-on with my horrible-motherness, I start having a total panic attack right there, complete with light-headedness, pounding heart, and crushing feelings of guilt.
Now, maybe another mom would not have been freaked out by this piece of information. Maybe another mom would have appreciated the tip, and thought, hey, the next time I bake muffins, I’ll have to try that. But I don’t bake muffins. I don’t bake at all. One time I bought that perforated chocolate chip cookie dough and I let my daughter put the squares onto a baking sheet, and then I somehow managed not to burn them, and let me tell you, I felt like the World’s Greatest Mom. I felt downright domestic. But the muffin-induced anxiety attack was not really about my baking inadequacies. The muffin-induced anxiety attack was about something much bigger. It was about what I think is my biggest failure as a mother, which is, namely, the chaos that passes itself off as dinner time in my house. More on the dinner chaos next time . . .