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I've finally figured it out. It's the "fraud syndrome" that drives me to uber-OCD levels of domesticity.

Let me explain. When we were in business school, my dearest friends and I discovered the reason why many of us work ourselves to the bone and still worry that one day we will be fired, lose our homes and die broke and lonely (ok...maybe I was the only one who took it that far). As smart, fabulous, accredited and accomplished as we all were and are, there was a constant fear that someone, somewhere would realize that we weren't all that we were cracked up to be. That despite all the diplomas, degrees and high-fangled titles we were really just simple but smart women trying to make it by. In essence, we were frauds. And as soon as that was discovered, we would be booted from b-school or whatever fancy schmancy job we found ourselves in after graduation.

I am now at point in my career that I finally believe (OK, ALMOST believe) that I deserve to be in my position. I am not a fraud - I worked my ASS off for every degree, title, award, accomplishment and accolade that I've received, and I deserve every bit of recognition, compensation, flexibility and perk that I get. I am BadAss when it comes to my career. Humble, but confident that I do truly rock. Fifteen years later, I am comfortable in my own "work skin".

On the plane back to California for my 10 year business school reunion on Thursday, it hit me. I am obsessed with setting up food, clothes, planning activities, cleaning the house, keeping to the schedule, blah, blah, blah with my kids because I'm afraid that they will realize that I'm a fraud. When it comes to being a mom, I am COMPLETELY and utterly under-qualified for the job. I don't have all the right answers. I have the patience of a gnat. I hate arts and crafts. Most days, my kids prefer daddy to mommy. And, when faced with discipline problems I either completely wimp out or over-react.

Organizing, I can do. Sticking to a schedule - brilliant. Cleaning - it's how I regain my sense of control. Long-term planning and strategy I can do with my eyes closed. These are some of the skills that have made me a success and chipped away and my sense of fraud-i-ness in my career.

I realized that I focus so much on the cleaning/organizing/planning part of being a mom because that's my comfort zone. I KNOW that I do these things well. They make me feel confident and when they are done, I have a distinct sense of accomplishment. But recently, I've realized that they also leave me feeling even MORE like a fraud because these aren't the things that my kids will remember when they're grown up. They are critical to keeping a house in order and providing structure and opportunity for your kids, but being a mom is so much more.

Kids want to play - endless, pointless games. They want to catch rain on their tongues, and spin around in circles until they fall down. They want to know the name, reason for being and color of everything on the first floor of Macy's. They want to spend big chunks of unstructured time just hanging out with you. And sometimes, they just want to freak out.

Now that Angel is gaining an AMAZING command of his vocabulary, more and more he comes up to me and says, "Mommy, I want to play with you." And, more times than I care to recall, my response has been, "Just one minute, baby, Mommy just has to finish this or that."

NO MORE. Today, I declare that while I may not know what the hell I am doing half the time I AM A GREAT MOM BECAUSE I LOVE MY CHILDREN. MADLY. RECKLESSLY. INCONCEIVABLY LOVE MY CHILDREN. And that's all that matters. I don't have to prove to my kids or anyone else that I am qualified for this job through my daily list of "accomplishments". My mommy resume will be built through memories - times together, both grand and mundane, that they will remember as they grow. I want them to think that mommy's role is to play, and listen, and snuggle, and read and BE with them. Not to run around the house frantically cleaning, and organizing and yelling that we're running late.

Yes, I may not be the perfect mom, but I am perfectly in love with my children and I can honestly say that EVERYTHING I do for them is to try to make their lives (and futures) a little better.

So, my name is Sherice and I am a mother. I am far from perfect, but I am no fraud. I was made for this job. I love my kids, they love me and damn it....that's enough.

Rock on, BadAssMama. Rock on....
Andrea said...

Congrats Sherice. I'm really happy for you and I think you're a wonderful mother. :)

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