When I was a kid, my family was notorious for being late to everything. We all blamed my mom. All four of us kids would be dressed and ready to go, but then we had to sit and wait for my mom to finish putting on her makeup, find some matching earrings, and then finally march us all out the door. My siblings and I would tease her about being so slow. We couldn’t imagine why it took her so long to get ready.
It’s been many years since those days, but now I am that mom who keeps the whole family waiting while I’m rushing around looking for a clean shirt and yelling out promises like, “Five more minutes—I’m almost ready!” There is more to this scenario, that I was blind to as a kid. Now I’ve found out her secret for always being the last one ready.
Let’s rewind from that moment mommy is “late” to a few hours earlier:
I’m sneaking out of bed before everyone else. I’m cooking breakfast while they sleep, taking the dog out, feeding the fish, starting a load of laundry. I’m setting out outfits for the day, planning our activities, packing lunches, and loading the car. Then everyone is awake. It’s time to make sure everyone eats, clean up, braid hair, kiss boo-boos, and find missing toys. Now everything else is ready, but I’m still in my pajamas. Mommy gets ready last of all.
Now it’s officially summer, and I am at my most super mom self! Awhile before my family had even started getting excited about summer vacation, I was already shopping for the best bug repellent, water shoes, swimsuits, and water toys. I had an ever-growing shopping list and a meal plan. The day before our trip, I spent a whole afternoon in the kitchen preparing meals. I felt like Wonder Woman! I had thought of every detail of our trip and prepped all of our meals. I patted myself on the back for being such a pro-level mom, and imagined my daughter saying things like how cool I am and how happy she was that I’d found sunscreen that’s both SPF 45 AND water repellent. Then vacation came and went, and somehow, nobody else noticed my awesome preparedness. There was no applause when it only took me 10 minutes to put together awesome tacos…at the beach. (The trick is to chop your onions, lettuce, and tomatoes and cook your meat ahead of time.)
Pro tip: Meal prep and save room in your bags by mixing oats, raisins, cinnamon, salt, and brown sugar together in a plastic bag ahead of time.
All my time spent planning and preparing was invisible to my daughter, who just wanted to know when Mommy would finally be ready to bury her in the sand and why it always takes me so long to get ready.
So in case no one else has acknowledged it, I want to tell you that you’re my superhero. I see you, moms (not like in a creepy way, just in my heart). I see the long hours you put in before the fun can start and the cleanup you do after the fun has ended. I see you saving your pennies months before school is even out. I see you making your lists and checking them twice.
Possibly one day our kids will have their own munchkins to take care of, and they will realize why their mom was always the last one out the door. In the meantime, I can promise you that even if they don’t see it all happening, they’re thankful for all that goes on behind the scenes to make those special summertime memories. Thank you, invisible mom!