Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Offering It Up

I am not a religious person. I never have been, and I did not have a religious upbringing. I do have some very religious friends and family, though. I assume that one of them is the source of a phrase that has seemed very useful to me lately. Honestly, it has seemed useful to me since the fog of early parenthood cleared enough for me to remember things like useful phrases.

The phrase is "offer it up." It is used to refer to something that can't really be avoided and has to be endured, so the speaker is going to offer it up to the Lord. Or at least that is my understanding of the usage. As I said, I'm not religious, so I may not have that completely right, and if so, I apologize.

Anyway, when the phrase comes to me it is in that sense, except I don't believe in a God to which I can offer anything, so I'm not entirely clear to whom I am offering it  up. I just gloss over that part and say it anyway.

Since having kids my life is full of these moments that aren't all that great, and can't be avoided... so you just endure them. Don't get me wrong. My life is also full of moments that are delightful and wonderful beyond anything I imagined before I had kids, mostly because it would never have occurred to me that watching your kid do a puzzle could be that awesome.

Then there are the other moments. The poopsplosions. The "Mommy, I threw up in my bed" moments. The "the kid has a fever so one of us is going to reschedule our big meeting" moments.

This week, I am adding the Mother's Day Tea Party at school to my offerings. I suspect that for some moms, this is on the list of awesome moments. I am sure it won't be terrible. But for me, this week, I think about it and hear a voice in my head say "just offer it up."

The tea party is on Friday. I already have a doctor's appointment scheduled on that day, and it took me literally 6 months to get that scheduled so I won't be rescheduling it. However, this means that the entire day is essentially a write off as far as work is concerned. Unfortunately for me, I have a huge list of things to get done before I leave on vacation exactly one week from Friday. I have a conference at which I am a volunteer organizer all day on Saturday, so there will be no making up the work time on Saturday. I guess I could try to do some work on Sunday, but that is actually Mother's Day, and while we don't make a big deal out of it, we do try to spend it mostly as family time.

I could probably get past the lost work time. I think the real problem I have with this event is that fathers never get asked to do this sort of thing. There is no "Daddy day at school" event. There are some fathers who volunteer at our school, but there is no event that essentially guilts them all into showing up in the middle of the work day. Probably, if they'd scheduled this day just a little bit differently and called it "Parents Day" I'd be roughly 90% less grumpy about it.

And don't even get me started on what this sort of event does to kids whose mothers can't get time off work or are just absent from the child's life.

But Pumpkin is excited about the event. The kids have been asked to dress up, and she has picked out a dress and asked for (and received) permission to wear the fancy high heel shoes she mostly only gets to wear for dress up games. (I have insisted that she take a more comfortable pair of shoes in her backpack, just in case she is not too stubborn to wear them when her toes start to hurt from the heels. I am secretly hoping this will be the end of the begging to wear high heels.) I'm supposed to dress up, too, and tomorrow night she wants to help me decide what to wear.

So I will go. I will smile and do my best to be gracious and not worry about the work I should be doing, and to enjoy the chance to spend some time with Pumpkin and her classmates.

I will offer it up.

20 comments:

  1. I know exactly what you mean. I just had to offer up yesterday as a parenting learning experience. Because otherwise it was only an exercise in frustration and annoyance!

    A constant battle with kids not listening.

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  2. I checked no. At least the other two kids whose mommies checked no won't be the only ones. I don't like the way the list is public this time so everyone can see who the "bad" mommies are. But I can't go and I don't think other moms should feel guilted into attending either. We use full time daycare partly because we have to work.

    Last year at the other daycare the list wasn't public and the pictures after showed lots of moms not attending. Public shame sucks, so I'm happy to check the no box without explanation, though sorry that my kid will be one of the few singled out. Still, better two or three kids without mommies there than just one.

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    Replies
    1. Our day care never did anything like this. They had a picnic lunch once, but since that was on the lunch hour, that worked OK. But mostly, if there is an event, it is at the end of the work day, so you just have to leave a little early. And most importantly, they were always branded in a neutral way so that either parent could go, or you could even send a friend if needed.

      Pumpkin's school is usually better about this- this is the first year I've had a Mother's Day Tea to contend with. I think the reason is that there is a new teacher who hasn't thought this sort of thing through yet.

      Pumpkin says that there will be a couple of kids whose Moms can't come. All of the kids in her class live with their mothers, so at least that issue isn't a problem for this particular class. There are at least two kids whose mothers can't get time off work, though.

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    2. It seems to be an "in" thing with daycares right now. Personally I'd rather have toddler yoga (which was the "in" thing back when DC1 was DC2's age). Bet fewer daddies show up for doughnuts than mommies for muffins (that's how it was from the pictures for the last daycare).

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    3. And I guess we'll get the report about how DC2 felt not having mommy there when almost all the other mommies were there at pick-up. Hopefully she was strong. Poor DC2.

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    4. Me: Did you have a good day at school today?
      DC2: NO!
      Me: Why not?
      DC2: [P] and [A] took my rocks that were for my baby when we were playing outside and they were for my baby.

      So apparently me missing from Muffins for Mom didn't make a big impression on her. And she's used to not being able to have muffins (wheat)...

      Also she was really excited to give me the mother's day gift... cooking spoons that the teachers had painted and glued bows to so they can't be used for cooking. Wonder if they will give cooking-related paraphernalia to dads in a month.

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    5. It came out that she was not happy having grapes when everyone else got muffins.

      In other news, DH just pulled a felt triangle very much like the triangles pasted on my Mother's Day card out of her nose. Ok, that is enough me as bad mother and it not really mattering update. Yay for not having to go to the emergency room like when dc1 did the pony bead in his nose.

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    6. And a final update: One of the daycare teachers asked me why I wasn't there, let me know I was the only mom not to be there, and DC2 was sad, but she stepped in to be a surrogate mom and eventually took her to the other classroom. I did not tell her that DC2 told me that she was sad she didn't get to have muffins, but I probably should have. Thanks daycare teacher! Now I am mildly irritated at you.

      So: this is what happens when you don't go to the damn muffins with mom thing. (Even when you have a P&T meeting you have to be there for that was scheduled a month and a half ago and this was the only slot everybody could make.) Hopefully the teachers treat poor little motherless DC2 better because they know her mother is so terrible. I'm pretty sure I can take the judging.

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    7. I don't get this. Isn't the point of having daycare so parents can work full-time (or part-time or work from home, etc..)? With these type of events, they're making working parents take time extra time OFF!

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    8. I miss toddler yoga. Baguette loved it, and then they stopped having it at her school, and I haven't been able to find a good and convenient class for her since.

      Delete
  3. Anonymous6:32 AM

    I usually send my husband to these things (whether they're labelled for moms or dads). He works from home and his schedule is usually more flexible than mine. Also, I hate these things and he likes them.

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  4. In my native language, there is the equivalent (but secular) saying, which can loosely be translated as:

    "If you have to do it, then it isn't hard to do."

    Or we could do it more formally/archaically, if you will:

    "What must be done is not a heavy burden."

    It's meant to say that if you cannot avoid something you might as well make peace with the fact that you have to do it, and making peace actually removes some or much of the mental hardship. I use it often to talk myself into doing mundane stuff that cannot be avoided.

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    Replies
    1. I like that! It is sort of how I use the "offer it up" thing- it has to happen, so just accept it and try to let it go.

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    2. Anonymous10:50 PM

      What cannot be cured has to be endured :)

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  5. Baguette's day care has, in years past, had "Muffins with Mommy" and "Donuts with Daddy." Neither one of us has gone to either, due to work and commuting schedules, although possibly Mr. Sandwich went last year when they moved the daddies' event to the late afternoon (it only took them several years to notice that too many of the kids got upset when Daddy left). On the muffin day, Bestie's mom would bring Baguette along so that she wouldn't be left out.

    This year, they seem to have canceled the muffin event and declared the already annual Spring Performance to be the mommies' event. That's fine by me, except that tomorrow it's supposed to rain.

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  6. JennG8:24 AM

    We have a Mother's Day Tea today too and I am working from home. In my case this year it's a win but other years it has been a source of scheduling stress...and I have to say that while all the kids are cute and seeing the school community is always a nice thing, I really do not love the content that much. However, my child's daycare also does a Father's Day Breakfast so at least it's evenly awful...

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  7. Anonymous6:59 PM

    I did not send my kid to preschool today because I had an important meeting at work I could not get out of. Our babysitter was horrified,

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  8. Read your post yesterday, and saw this today. Made me think of you.

    https://www.facebook.com/humansofnewyork/photos/a.102107073196735.4429.102099916530784/967830456624388/?type=1&theater

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  9. I'll never understand why it makes sense to these places to do things that "require" parents to attend during the work day. Not. Helpful.

    I'm lucky in that my current step up seems to be working OK but at some point we will be doing daycare and I'm absolutely making it PiC's job to attend these things :)

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  10. Oops submitted too soon. Anyway. Makes sense to accept that which you cannot change since it may as well not weigh on you twice, once for the doing and once for the annoyance.

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