Tag Archives: fake it til you make it

One fish, two fish, dumb confused fish

I am often out of my element. Just a perpetual fish out of water, even when technically still in the water. So when my friend Melissa asked me to help out at our kids’ school fundraiser, I couldn’t think of a place where I’d fit in less. 

For one, I am less a parent than I am just three bewildered 12-year-olds standing on each others’ shoulders in a trench coat. 

Two, I am new to the school parent game. My oldest just started kindergarten. I’m still shocked I managed to fill out the 167 pages of paperwork it took to enroll him. 

And three, school parents who have it together enough to help at a school fundraiser are on a whole other level. A somewhat intimidating level. A level that usually involves packing a snack for their kid that isn’t leftover french fries. 

So when she asked me, it was essentially like asking a fish to climb a tree with a bicycle. Or worse, asking a fish to put on pants without ketchup stains and to not curse for two hours straight. Absolutely not, I immediately thought.

She then casually yet cruelly mentioned that there would be beer at the event. 

So I said yes.   

You know, come to think of it, maybe fish out of water is the wrong terminology. Have you ever heard of imposter syndrome? Where a person constantly feels like they’re faking it? It’s like I have that. Or like I’m a confused fish with that. Five-and-half years in, and I’m still faking being a parent. Every single time I drop off and pick up my kid, I’m convinced I’ll be found out.

Any Other Parent: “Hello. How are you?”

Me: “Good. Great. Mostly because I have kids. I’m totally a parent. The hospital just handed them over to me. I didn’t have to take a test or anything.”

Any Other Parent: “OK then. Nice meeting you.”

*awkward edging away by all parties involved* 

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But there’s strength in numbers (and in craft beer alcohol content), so I bravely put on my last unstained pair of pants and walked directly behind and slightly crouched behind Melissa into that bake sale like a boss. 

Unfortunately that slinking courage lasted for all of two minutes before they put a money box in front of me.

“So, everything on the table is a dollar, except for the bracelets, which are five dollars,” the beautiful school mom without undereye bags and tangled hair affably told me. 

“Awesome. Perfect. Could you repeat that?” I replied because I am always too busy thinking about what an idiot I am to actually listen to people. 

“Absolutely. All the baked goods are a dollar. All the raffle tickets are a dollar. And the bracelets are five dollars.” 

“Yup. Got it. Thank you.”

I then turned to Melissa. 

“Did you catch any of that?”

Melissa, however, was busy being rudely competent by already tending to our first customers and figuring out the mobile credit card swiper on an iPad. 

I was about to feel super sorry for myself and steal a brownie to sad-eat in the bathroom when another impeccably put-together mom appeared and started asking me about my kids. I made a few awkward jokes at first (“my oldest is five and my back-up auxiliary kid is three”) but she seemed genuinely interested. So I kept talking. And as I kept talking, something magical happened. I relaxed. And as I relaxed, I started asking her questions about her kids. Soon we were having a full blown conversation about our kids. And then other people joined in.

And BOOM. Suddenly I was humaning with the best of them.

As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about. Not because I abruptly became a fully functioning adult. But because I was surrounded by them. People who were good at making conversation. People who were warm and approachable. People who were really good at ignoring the yawns of the new school mom who suffers from insomnia and include her despite her overall vibe of “they think I’m a people, just like them!” 

But most importantly, people who love to talk about their children as much as I do. Because the one thing I never have to fake is how much I love my kids. 

And how much I want to murder them when they ask for spaghetti for dinner and then throw a tantrum at dinner because they just remembered that they hate spaghetti. 

 

 

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Just call me Adulty McAdultface

You guys, I gotta be honest. I never thought I’d live to see this day. I was mentally prepared for World War III breaking out, or a zombie apocalypse, or Kim Kardashian becoming Vice President.

But not this.

Never this.

There I was sitting at the table, filling out Mother’s Day cards, when I realized that not only was I filling out holiday cards on time for the first time in history, but that I also, for the first time in history, had stamps on hand. Not only that, but I had enough stamps on hand to even cover the extra postage required for the extra weight the two tons of glitter that covers every Mother’s Day card added.

This foreign and unnatural act was then followed by paying our bills online. And by paying our bills, I mean just that. Going to each website, seeing how much was owed, typing in that amount, and hitting the “submit payment” button. There wasn’t one single instance of juggling, or robbing Peter to pay Paul, or digging for spare change in the gross crevices of our ancient couch, or awkward text messages to my husband asking “hey, would you rather go three days without electricity or five days without cell phone service?” followed by a gun emoji.

And in perhaps the most convincing sign of the End Times, I sent out the rent check. On time. Early even. With an actual check in the envelope. A check filled out properly instead of “accidentally” putting the date where the amount should go in a desperate bid to buy myself another week and a half.

But it was when I glanced over my To-Do (Hopefully-But-Probably-Not-Before-I-Die) List and realized it was almost empty that the full impact of what was happening hit me. I can’t believe I’m about to say this, and please excuse my language, but I think my husband and I might actually have our shit together.

Yeah. I think that’s what this strange feeling is. It’s having your shit together. I mean, just look at the evidence.

Everyone in my family has had their doctor appointment and are up-to-date on their shots. Even the dog. Speaking of which, the dog has tick repellent on him at a seasonably appropriate time and my husband trimmed his puppy nails before he even got close to the Edward Scissorhands phase.

Our car has been inspected BEFORE the expiration sticker expired. Our driver’s licenses currently coincide with the actual U.S. state we are living in. There was an error with our taxes and my husband called immediately and dealt with it calmly and efficiently. There was an error with our insurance and I called immediately and dealt with it while hollering over a screaming toddler and a barking dog. But still, efficiently nonetheless.

We took our vitamins this morning, we have a surplus of toilet paper in the bathroom, we have fresh fruit and at least one vegetable in the fridge. We have an actual friggin’ savings account. We bought sturdy wood bookshelves from a grown-up furniture store to replace our cheap death trap bookshelves made mostly of dust and cobwebs. And on any given day our house is clean-ish enough that I don’t have to hide in the bathroom every time the doorbell rings because it’s too embarrassing to even let the UPS dude glimpse at the unholy mess awaiting inside.

I mean, sure, I’ve been adulting for a long time, but this is the first time I’ve adulted so adulty-like. For instance, let’s compare today with a similar day seven years ago.

My mom wouldn’t get her Mother’s Day card until Halloween and only then because I delivered it in person because I never did get around to buying stamps. And mostly I never got around to buying stamps because I really needed the $8 to go instead toward the overdraft fee our bank charged us because I made a student loan payment and bought a Big Mac with super-sized fries that week. Naturally, all the financial stress would wreak havoc with my health but instead of going to a human doctor, I would just Google “weird rash on shoulder that looks like Abe Lincoln” and put some expired yogurt on it because hey, homeopathy is cheap and also I haven’t cleaned out the fridge in three years.

The only time we ever did get our vehicle inspected or make sure our driver’s licenses were up-to-date or that literally anything about our mode of transportation was legal was when we got a friendly reminder in ticket form from our helpful neighborhood policeman. And even then, it took no less than a minimum of five tickets to get our asses in gear. Taxes were attempted at 11:30 p.m. on April 14 and any letters dealing with any kind of insurance or other scary adult stuff were put in the ever-growing “don’t throw away but don’t open” mail pile. Which wasn’t a problem because the pile could never be found because we never cleaned unless someone who had better adult credentials than we did was coming over for a visit. In which case, most of our possessions were just thrown into the tub and we frantically dusted with an old T-shirt while tripping over our dog who looked like a scary homeless mutt on stilts because we never seemed to have time to groom him.

I gotta admit, it’s a great feeling. This shit-having-togetherness. And I look forward to sailing this sea of grown-up tranquility for the next two months. All the way up until my second child is born and everything falls apart again in the savage vortex that is newborn baby caretaking.

Ah, but it was nice while it lasted.

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