This happened today. I tried to tell myself I looked like my cool Swedish friend Catrin, walking with my four kids and my gigantic buggy of a stroller in the freezing cold to drop off library books but the more people that drove by the more obvious it became that really I just looked like the homeschooling, broken down car, stir crazy, have to get out of the house and get some exercise mother of four that I am. It was when I was at the library that I really took stock of what we looked like. Gigi's hair was a wreak. It was hard for me to decide if it was just the coat or if she hadn't actually brushed her hair today at all. She was wearing jeans under an orange skirt. Peach was wearing one of my t-shirts that I'd very sloppily turned into a pajama shirt...when I say sloppily I mean I couldn't even be bothered to change out the thread so all my alterations where as glaringly obvious as white thread standing out on black fabric...oh wait that's actually what it looked like. Cheetah was wearing a coat four sizes too big because as I walked out the door I realized I couldn't find any of her stuff and just grabbed what was on hand. She also had fleece pants to go with her dress. Captain E looked fairly normal until he took off his coat and then you could see we haven't brushed his hair in days. There were two other homeschooling families there. I could just tell, the mismatched clothing, the crazy hair, the humongous stack of non-fiction children's books the mother was slumping around. The fact that they too were at the library during the middle of school hours with their 4+ healthy looking school age kids. I'm ashamed to say the very uncharitable thought of 'oh my we've really turned into a homeschooling family now and everyone can tell," did cross my mind.
Our walk was pretty uneventful, with the exception of a dead frozen rat we saw and the still partially frozen sidewalks in the neighborhood. We made it to the library without incident, we got new books without incident, we made it home without incident. There was no fighting, no temper tantrums, no complaints, there was minimal loud screaming. There is a tractor in the middle of the children's section and I'm yet to convince Cheetah that you aren't suppose to scream when you are on that thing, but really it was one of the best library trips I've had in a long while.
While I was walking home I pondered on that thought. What the heck was wrong with me? My children were happy, they were getting exercise (I kicked Peach and Aylin out of the stroller on the way home so that they could get a good walk), they were warm and healthy, dressed in clean clothing that for the most part was their choice and they felt comfortable in. These homeschooling mom's actually have something. They don't worry about how the world sees them. They are comfortable in their quirkiness. They didn't fight with any kids about what is appropriate attire or spend a half hour trashing around the house looking for a missing item. They came as they were when they were ready to come and if their children's faces were any indication they were better for it. I am definitely a type A personality. I don't have to write a to do list because I always have a mental one running and sometimes I want to run my life like that, but this year has given me some flexibility and I need to embrace that. I have the opportunity to let go of time, to let go of fashion, and to let go of my overly my ridiculously competitive mommy drama. I can just enjoy a walk to the library in the freezing cold. It was sunny out and frankly my family will probably be better for the exercise, so what if I can't capture that hip European vibe.