I Heart Overachieving Moms

It’s funny to think it was just four short years ago that I brought my oldest son to his very first preschool Valentine’s Day celebration. We had made a special trip to the store where he browsed for quite awhile, before carefully choosing Lightning McQueen cards to share with his 3-year-old classmates. He was so excited and I was just an emotional mama watching him reach yet another milestone.

But when we got there, I was shocked and saddened to find that we were the only ones who brought valentines. That’s because all of the other moms had gone above and beyond (see: overachievers) and put together little goodie bags for the kids.

What the WHAT?

How did I not see this coming? Had I missed a note that came home? Was there a motherhood club meeting that I had blown off? “Come on, Moms,” I thought. “Help a girl out, already!” I had two kids a year apart, a job and a skill set that did not include crafting at the kitchen table. What the heck do you do all day that you have time to assemble goodies, pencils, stickers and whatever other unnecessary Valentine’s Day-related items into a cellophane bag adorned with a bow and personalized tag? Do you hate other moms? Are you trying to make us look bad?

I couldn’t help but look at those sad, pathetic Lightning McQueen cards and see them as a symbol of yet another failure. My son was cursed with an ordinary mom whose idea of homemade cookies were those she broke apart before baking. Couldn’t I at least step up and provide him with Valentine’s Day goodies that would make a preschooler proud?

About ten minutes later, I realized my kid didn’t care. In fact, none of the kids cared. The valentine exchange was so chaotic, they barely even knew from whom each valentine came and it didn’t seem to be something that even crossed their tiny heart-shaped minds.

Waaaaaait a minute. You mean if I skip the ridiculous guilt and own the fact that the bare minimum for made-up Hallmark holidays is enough, my kid and his classmates will still be pumped up with sugar and arrive home with enough red and white pencils to last through college?


I’m sorry, moms. I’m sorry for the judgement… the resentment… the dirty looks in the preschool parking lot. Because you’ve taught me so much about myself, my kids and why doing things half-assed truly is the way to go.

But more than that, thank you. Thank you for the endless supply of sugary goodness you send home for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, your child’s birthday or just because you’re that good of a mom. My taste buds and ever-growing behind truly appreciate your thoughtfulness.

You really didn’t think I let my kids eat all that crap, did you?


Valentine’s Day Massacre

With the upcoming Hallmark holiday on the horizon, it’s fun to see how people view the day — there’s such a wide variety of attitudes about it.

I think for years, I have secretly envied couples who get dolled up and head out among the masses, just to show off that they, indeed, are in love (or like or lust). For the first time in years, Jeff made a reservation at a local hot spot and booked us a sitter. Strangely enough, I’m torn about that — enjoying that my husband still wants to make such a gesture after all these years, but compelled to cancel it because it’s just not practical, I mean come on, it’s a school night!

But no matter what we do, I know it will not go down in the record books as my worst Valentine’s Day ever. Somewhat because I have no expectations of romantic excellence, just because the calendar says it’s February 14th, ┬ábut mostly because my worst Valentine’s Day ever happened already — in 2002.

It was going to be a big deal.

My then-boyfriend and I were going out to a new place with great reviews, in the heart of an artsy district in Los Angeles. I had received a sizable gift certificate to Macy’s the Christmas before and was going to use it all to buy myself a dress that would live up to the rest of the occasion. My boyfriend picked me up and we stopped off at a little place for a pre-dinner cocktail.

The night was going perfectly. Dinner was exquisite. The mood was romantic and flirtatious. As we sipped champagne and shared a dessert, he leaned over and whispered. “Let’s finish up. I have a gift for you back at the house.”

“Oh. My. God.” I thought. This is IT.

As we drive back to my place, I can’t help but let my wind wander… were my parents still awake on the east coast, I can’t wait to tell them… when would we be married? My palms were sweating with excitement over what was to come — this night would be unforgettable!

We arrive at my house and he opens the door for me. He leads me toward my bedroom and I am barely breathing. As he opens the door, I see it sitting on my bed, displayed like it’s as precious as the Hope Diamond — and pretty much the same size.

It was a boom box.

Huh? Was it there to play romantic music as he dropped to one knee?

Nope. It was the gift. That’s right, the boom box WAS. THE. GIFT.

I couldn’t help but admit to my disappointment, I mean I was weeping openly — it wasn’t like I was hiding it well. As I wiped the tears from my embarrassed, yet devastated eyes, he softly said.

“I’m sorry, I thought you would like it. It plays MP3 CDs.”

That’s right, ladies. It plays MP3 CDs.

That CD player still remains in this house, lulling the boys to sleep every night. What also remains in this house, is that story… shared every Valentine’s Day as we laugh at how much life has changed since then.

What was your most memorable Valentine’s Day?