Am I a good mom? I could ask my kids but they tend to give me the company line. "You are the best mommy in the whole world. Can we have candy?"
Or I could ask my husband. But as he works for the same company he follows a similar corporate policy. "You are the most amazing mom in the whole world. Can we have sex?"
I could also ask the dog since he bears witness to the majority of my mothering moments. But he only barks and whines and I hear enough of that as a mom.
So I will evaluate my performance based upon anecdotal data. This will give me an unbiased and surely favorable report on my undoubtedly life-changing role as a mom.
Fourteen years ago this phrase had a dramatically different meaning for me. Think post-exam week, friends, maybe a beach or some other exotic location, a road trip of more than 12 hours, Coors Light, late nights and slow mornings.
Today, Spring Break means a welcomed break from all things scheduled. No racing to the bus, finding lost socks, forcing children to bathe, homework, after-school activities, yada, yada, yada. This past Spring Break, Sean did not have to travel so for the first time in a long time, our family was going to be home and together, and we had no plans.
I felt sure that this week would be filled with parent/child bonding moments, the likes of which our household had not seen. I envisioned crafts that needed glitter and hot glue guns, games played with laughter and healthy competition, hikes where we would discover the promising signs of spring, and peaceful bedtimes.
But then we decided to stain our deck, and after that, paint the bathroom, and after that hang new lights in our hallway...and, well, you get the picture. We kinda forgot about bonding opportunities in pursuit of home improvement.
One afternoon I walked into the house to find that Ella had made oatmeal for the other two kids. But the oatmeal looked off somehow. "What's wrong with the oatmeal?" I asked. "We used orange juice. Mom, we haven't had milk in days." Fail.
This was terrible. But I could fix it. It was just Wednesday and there were still amazing bonding moments to be had.
"Children! Let's go swimming!"
"Hooray!" they whooped.
So we gathered our things and drove down to our pool singing and laughing the entire way (at least to the end of the driveway). It was open swim time and we had all afternoon to frolic in the pool. As we walked in, swim gear in tow, we were quietly told that today was not open swim day. That was yesterday. But, if we'd like, the pool was open for 10 more minutes and we could go ahead and swim until close. We got into the frigid indoor pool, splashed around for a few minutes then headed back home, very cold. Fail.
Back at home my friend joined me with her kids and we turned the rest of the afternoon into a play date. Happy to see their friends the kids ran off to play. We strolled outside, each of us claiming an adirondack chair, poured a glass of chilled white wine and toasted to a fine afternoon. Success.
Now this was Spring Break.
"Keira called 911!" Keira, crying hysterically, "I did not. It only rang once and then I hung up."
In the distance I hear sirens blaring. In minutes, a cop car comes screeching up our road and into our driveway. There I sit sprawled on the adirondack chair with a glass of wine in hand, kids crying, toys strewn about the yard.
Hmmm...police, alcohol, crying...sounds like Spring Break 1997. Or an episode of Cops. Fail.
So, let's rephrase the question. Am I a good Spring Break mom? No. But there's always summer.