AT RANDOM: Happy Mother’s Day

I give thanks...for the women in my life who have taken on the role of surrogate auntie and grandmother to my daughter

This time of year tends to bring out a lot of crankiness in me because it’s the time of year when everything seems to kick into high gear.

Yesterday’s school track meet is followed by today’s cupcake-making, for which I was informed on the way out the door Thursday morning that “I need to bring icing sugar and sprinkles.” I’m happy to help, but with no time to get to the grocery store this week, I opened the cupboard, grabbed a half-opened bag of sugar, some Easter-themed sprinkles and threw it all in a bag.

Then there are back-to-back rehearsals for this year’s Lights of Broadway show, Shrek the Musical, (shameless plug: tickets available at Ticket Seller and it will be an amazing show) and racing back and forth to the theatre, making sure the makeup case is packed, hair accessories are in order and there are plenty of snacks on hand.

Throughout all of this I’m trying to maintain some semblance of getting things accomplished at work.

When I was in kindergarten, I played a Christmas tree in our class play. My costume was a white pillow case on which my mother had helped me draw a picture of a Christmas tree, with ornaments.

I don’t remember my mother running around like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off over this performance, selling tickets, baking cakes for the intermission or doing my hair and make up.

She had three children and was a stay-at-home mom and somehow made it all look easy, although I have no doubt she was exhausted a lot of the time. My dad was a big help when he could be, but he worked long hours and so a lot of the day-to-day stuff fell to my mom.

Of course, when you’re a kid, you have no idea what your parents do, how hard they work, how there are times they want to drop from sheer fatigue, and that money doesn’t actually grow on trees.

Other mothers I know find that this is the time of year where they want to curl up into a fetal position and just retreat from the world, such are the constant activities that involve driving kids from one activity to the next.

As parents, particularly if we also hold down a full-time job outside of the home (because being an at-home mom is without a doubt a full-time job, without the perks of  coffee and lunch breaks), we are pulled in so many directions.

I have only one child, who wants to take part in every activity there is. She would do organized, extra-curricular activities seven days a week if I let her. I don’t let her of course because she needs down time to just be a kid, to play with her friends, to relax, to play in her room, and for that matter, so do I.

One of the great joys of parenthood is seeing your child enjoying their activities and I wouldn’t miss any of this for the world.

But I do sometimes wonder about the pace parents are expected to keep these days. As I watch Mad Men, I’m grateful we’ve come a long way from the days when it was a novelty to have a woman in a position of power and when women didn’t have a lot of choice as to whether or not they wanted to work. And frankly, Betty Draper looks miserable most of the time.

At the same time, women can’t have it all, at least not all at the same time. Something has to give.

That’s why for Mother’s Day this year, I give thanks not only for the great gift of motherhood, for my own mother and mother-in-law, but also for the women in my life who have taken on the role of surrogate auntie and grandmother to my daughter, who love and care for her and make sure she gets to and from activities when I can’t be in two places at once. Happy Mother’s Day, Cara and Treya — you are a blessing in our lives.