For your information, Jessica from the cover is actually named Amri. And her kid is named River. I like Persimmon better, but I guess they didn't wish to consult me when she was born. Amri looks great in yellow. This is irrelevant; I'm just in awe of people who look good in yellow. I look like a zombie ghost clown.
Speaking of Manufactured Problems!
I immediately went to "Smoother Mornings, Easier Lunches, Fewer Hassles." Why? Because Facebook has been trying to guilt me into making my children's daily school experience just as magical as Christmas morning. I don't understand this. Certain cultural expectations leave me feeling like I'm missing something really obvious that everyone else gets. Why do their lunches need to look like I hired a Japanese animation team?
"Have a Better Morning" is pretty sensible and boring. But the sub-section on getting dressed (for Mom) makes me laaaaugh ("Have a few outfits ready to go that you know you look great in!").
My morning motto: do only the absolute necessities. I squint at my kids' faces, teeth, and hair to make sure I won't be arrested for neglect. I get a giant mug of coffee and a bowl of yogurt (which I usually eat in the car). My hair usually looks like a discontinued muppet that fell off a Big Lots truck, only to be discovered in a wind-blown shrub. Most days, I do manage put on my gym clothes and make sure I have what I need in my bag. This is not exactly dedication; if I don't do this, I come back home to change and oops how did this very comfortable bed get here?
By the time I get to the gym, I'll have been awake for almost an hour. THEN I can go into the locker room and make myself presentable. I definitely won't be planning out outfits that look great on me. If it covers all the important parts, my job is done. I'm not even visible from the waist down at drop-off, so I wouldn't really have to do that much (I only do because that would be the day the best-looking police officer of all time would pull me over).
"Master the Drop-off." What? Why? I pull up, the kids get out, we scream I love yous and blow kisses, I drive away. My friend who works at the school sometimes sees me with my muppet hair. That's it. The author, on the other hand, walks her child in every day. This I do not understand. Is it a school rule? Does your child have special needs? Does the neighborhood have roaming sidewalk gremlins? If the answer to these is "no," then drop them off a block away and let them walk. My kids would walk all the way if it weren't three miles. That year where Grace walked to kindergarten was fantastic. Statistically, she was safer than if I'd driven her, and the confidence she gained in that year was phenomenal.
Your kid will be okay. It's one thing if you want to walk your kid into school, but the woman writing this hates everything about it. I want to shake her and yell, "Why are you doing this to yourself?"
And now my favorite. Lunch!
There's another page of this, but I'm too lazy to upload another photo.
How is "simplify" the very first word on this page? I'll give you THREE ingredients: carrots, apple, sandwich. Bam. Done. It's not simple if your kindergartner can't do it herself.
Actually, some of this looks pretty good for a lunch. FOR ME. You cannot beat a lunch that your kid makes herself. Do you know what happened yesterday? Grace put together her own plate of leftovers for dinner and microwaved it herself, unprompted. Kids that make their own lunches are learning independence and initiative. This is no small thing if you know Grace. Lazy parenting has its upsides.
STOP THIS MADNESS
This is a bunch of solutions to imaginary problems. Ladies, why is this a thing? Do men do this? Maybe they do, but it's not something I ever see.
If you love making cute lunches for you kids, that's really cool. And I don't mean that in a patronizing way. It is super cool. If you love to look your best first thing in the morning, I totally understand (it's how I feel around... noon). If you like the special time walking your kid into school, that's sweet.
But if you hate these things, stop. Your kid will be okay. In fact, not doing some of these things can sometimes have great results. Doing them can also have great results. Guess what. Either one works out pretty well.
Save you energy for the stuff you actually like to do with your kid (and the stuff that you hate but is necessary). I ran the jog-a-thon with both my kids because it was fun. I love reading to them and doing the voices. Guess what I hate. *Mornings. Crafts. Mornings. Adorable lunches. Effort of any kind in the morning. Also, crafts.
By many standards, I'm a lousy mother, but I don't care. I've developed a radar other moms who feel the same way, and it's really fun. Why? Because none of us expect the others to pretend we love things we hate. And most of us hate mornings, too, so we have a good time waiting for our kids at pickup.
*Yes, they're much better with my new drugs, but they're still awful. Like how Sauron is the evilest evil, but Saruman is still bad.