The three big kids were taken to school today by an adequate mother. Their lunches? Adequate fuel for the final three hours of school. Their clothing? Reasonably seasonal. Hair? Charmingly out of place, rascally ragamuffinesque and Huck Finnish. They were on time, arriving smartly between Bell #1 and Bell #2.
The three little kids at home are being cared for by an adequate mother. Their socks match. Diapers are frequently changed. Hot dogs cooked in the microwave and a can of peaches mean tummies are topped-off for a couple of hours. They don’t notice lunch is served on paper plates, again. It’s downright luxurious, considering their waffles were served on paper towels this morning. Adequate mommy is thinking about serving tonight’s soup-dinner in paper Darth Vader bowls found at SuperDuperTarget for 75% off.
Everything stops when baby taps mommy’s adequate milk supply. The satelite beams adequately educational shows into an adequately clean living room. The La-Z-Boy in the corner rocks mommy and newborn. Two little boys tussle on the carpet, stopping to declare all the toys seen in commercials as worthy of Christmas list inclusion, except for Barbie and Baby Alive. They suggest the baby girl in mommy’s arms may want a Barbie for Christmas.
Someday the kids will arrive at school before Bell #1. Their sack lunches will feature freshly cut carrot sticks and peanut butter spread with mellow love, not the frantic spackling of a half-baked Vegas stucco contractor. Their hair will be styled as if every day were Picture Day. The homework in their backpacks will cycle back home with gold stars and big smiley faces—the effort will be apparent to their incredibly patient teachers.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be served on Pfatzgraff Mountain Shadow plates. Cleaning the kitchen will require more than a 13 gallon white kitchen trash bag.
We’ll go to story time at the library and we’ll romp in the park. The kids will be clueless about the latest toys and breakfast cereals and new animated movies featuring potty-mouthed gophers/bears/deer/raccoons/rainbow trout/lions who are on the loose in New York City/national forests/exotic islands/Wisconsin/your backyard trying to tip over outhouses/exact revenge on evil furriers/foil real estate developers/find their inner cub.
I am living on the line where adequate and ambitious meet, eye each other suspicously, and finally shake hands (but not firmly).
Sometimes, with a newborn in the house, being adequate is the most ambitious thing a mommy can be.