Bear with me.
Today is Scout’s birthday. And for those who don’t follow me on every channel I obnoxiously post on, Scout is my dog. And yes, she is just a dog. A dog who does not understand the difference between a birth-day and a normal-day and a whatever-15 minutes. But I painstakingly planned out her birthday anyway. We got up and went to Starbucks, because my dog is a basic white girl who can’t get enough of the cups filled with whipped cream that baristas ply her with. Then I took her to daycare because my dog loves, LOVES, LOVES Indy Downtown Doggie. It’s like Disney World and Vegas and New York City rolled into one. With fewer strippers. That I know of. And then I planned to get her some new raw hides and doggie pies from Three Dog Bakery at lunch and some ice cream on my way home tonight because—birthday girls get ice cream. DUH.
But then I got to daycare. I pulled in, and I remembered. Other weeks when I’ve dropped Scout off and it was another dog’s birthday, the “dog moms” will bring treats for the dogs to have a “party” with during the day, or include little bags with goodies for each dog to pass out at the end of the day (I shit you not).
And I was empty handed.
So I go in and apologize to Jodi and Erin (the lovely and talented owners of Downtown Doggie) who tell me they have plenty of treats and it’s just fine, all while I am ferociously explaining all the OTHER things I have planned for Scout, as if they will judge me for not having the foresight to bring anything in. Like. A. Lunatic.
And I got back in the car and immediately thought: I am going to be such a terrible “real” mom someday. With no sense of irony, or perhaps the feeling that these are different standards, I just began badgering myself: Who doesn’t send their “child” to “school” with treats on their birthday?? I know better. I’ve seen the adorable doggie treat bags Scout comes home with. And I was at Target this weekend. Why didn’t I do something?? I could have managed SOMETHING, couldn’t I?
Luckily, by the time I was pulling into my parking lot, I had begun to calm the hell down, but in the worst way possible: telling myself, not that a dog was different than a child (which it is) or that the people who deliver treat bags for their doggy children probably have more time on their hands than I do (which, I feel they probably do) but that I have time to figure it out. In a few years, in several years, when I am sending my child off to school, I’ll be more on top of it. I CAN BE SUPER MOMMY ONE DAY.
And all of this, every part of this, is nuts. I know that. And I had NO intention of admitting to another living soul how much insane guilt I felt when I left Doggie Daycare today.
But then tonight, I met up with some former coworkers for dinner. And somehow we started talking about kids and relationships and juggling work and being women and I was struck by how similar our concerns were: what we could have, what we’d have to sacrifice, what we needed from relationships, what we needed to be mothers.
And of course I didn’t mention my earlier meltdown or that I was genuinely worried about what my inadequacies as a dog mom meant for my future less-furry kids. I didn’t need them to think I was any more of a nut job than they already do. But I walked away and felt myself breathe a little sigh of relief: You’re not alone. These things you’re feeling? They’re scary for a lot of young women. And suddenly, it was all ok.
So whatever is going on in your life, if you just need to hear it, here it is: you’re not alone. Others feel the same stress and worry about the same crazy life inadequacies you do. it’s all going to be ok. I promise.
Oh. And spicy margaritas don’t hurt either.