The plight of a mother

7:52 AM

As you all know Queenie is in school. What in the States would be considered pre-preschool. (School here starts the year that the child turn three. Queenie started four months before her third birthday.) As any parent with children in school know with school comes the responsibility of parent association type club things. I am not sure if it is the same as the Parent Teacher Association, I just know that there is some club/association type thing at this school that we haven't really helped out with very much this year. Or at all. Come on! I had a new baby, I barely speak French and I have a husband that comes home at 8pm! So I wasn't a model mom this year...I have LOTS of time to catch up, right?
Well, okay, the guilt of not helping at all during the school year caught up to me when I saw a flyer in Queenie's backpack that asked for help for the end of the year party that the association always throw to raise money. I signed us up to help set up, maybe work the thing or bake a cake.
So, last week, they called Principe and asked if we were still able to help. They asked for a cake and for him to come help set up. On Saturday they asked for another cake and if he would be willing to stay through the thing to help with the Robin Hood both. As we planned to go anyway, he said he would. We figured I could take a few turns volunteering when he wanted to take the girls around or needed a break.
Except that apparently the parent club didn't have enough volunteers so they stuck me at another booth. (Funnily enough it took me a few minutes to realize that the woman was talking to me as she jabbered.) I was taken to the Blow the Fish booth. (That is a translation. A direct translation. They had to blow on this paper fish all the way to the end of the fihing line to see who won.) Problem was: I had two children with me.
The only good point was that we (the girls and I) were up on an elevated patio that was directly next to Principe. The girls could see and talk to him through the fence. The bad thing was that we were on an elevated patio whose entrance/exit was concrete stairs. I can't remember the number of times I was saying, "Allez! Allez!" (I don't know many encouraging fish blowing words. I just repeated what the other mother's or children were saying.) as I rushed to grab Firecracker before she reached the head-splittingly hard steps. By the third hour into watching two girls with one eye and taking tokens with another eye my head was splitting.
During one break in the play (thankfully my booth wasn't the busy. Can you image why? By the end I had quite a few "customers" but they were repeats who figured out I was giving away prizes like candy to anyone who even dared to try the stupid game) as I tried to feed a very hungry Firecracker I wondered about motherhood. Isn't it interesting that no one ever thought twice about sticking a mother at a booth by herself with two children under the age of three? And what about the cake booth with two, sometimes three people at it? Or the booth that was selling over priced trinkets with three sometimes, FOUR people at it. Or Principe's booth, while being the busiest booth still didn't need its THREE people to run it. Now, my booth was not busy, but isn't it interesting that no one thought twice about a mother being able to entertain her two children while taking care of the booth?    
And then I wondered about Principe. Isn't it interesting that he thought it perfectly normal that I would be able to do two things at once? He later said that at one point he looked up and saw me encouraging kids in my terrible accent while holding Firecracker on one hip and said he felt selfish. Well, at least it is an admission, right?
Do you find this happens to you? Do we mothers do it to ourselves? There are so many times during the day and week that we take on more than we should or that we refuse help because we think it is our responsibility to be able to do five hundred things at a time. Needless to say, My left leg was swollen, my knee, calf and ankle were throbbing and felt my obligation to the parent club was done by the time the day was over. At least for this year.

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