I am that mom who bakes cupcakes, from scratch, for the entire class.
I am that mom who brings candy for every holiday party, and stays to walk the class through the holiday craft.
I am that mom who volunteers on every field trip. The one who volunteers at the school library two or three days a week. The one who goes to every school assembly. The one who shows up, early, to every parent-teacher conference meeting.
I am that mom that students greet as if she were a teacher. I am that mom who knows the name of every other parent. I am that mom who knows the name of every last staff member at the school.
I am that mom who goes along with my son to every single classmate's or neighbor kids's or friend's birthday party, and offers to help set up beforehand, and offers to bring food.
I am that mom who almost never takes her kid to fast-food restaurants, or orders takeout.
I am that mom who regularly cooks meals from scratch.
I am that mom who goes to every single doctor's appointment, asks questions, and takes notes.
I am that mom who brings to said appointments a binder full of medical records in color-coded archival sheaths.
I am that mom who plans elaborate playdates at my house.
that mom who never just drops my kid off at your house for a playdate, but sticks around,
just at the margins, to keep an eye on things.
I am that mom who almost never uses a babysitter, and if I do leave my son in someone else's care, I am that mom who offers that person a printed list of phone numbers and instructions.
I am that mom who can count on one hand the times she has left her child with someone else overnight.
I am that mom and at least three times a day I find myself wishing I weren't.
I am that mom and it is exhausting.
I am that mom and I do work, actually -- I have three part-time jobs that I juggle, poorly, around school volunteer gigs and field trips and parties and doctors' visits and cooking. I am that mom and there are plenty of days when I stay up until 1 a.m. working and then get up at 6 a.m. to volunteer again for eight hours at my child's school.
I am that mom and I have a college degree I finished in four years while working two jobs. I have that degree, and some pleasant, fleeting memories of feeling just on the cusp of serious success as a writer, and some fading dreams of graduate school, and a thousands unfinished work projects and ambitions of a novel or five growing dusty together on a high shelf.
I am sick of seven years of strangers assuming, when I tell them I'm a work-from-home mother, that I must not be an educated or ambitious person.
My mother often worked full-time outside the home when I was a kid and I thought that once my kid was in school I would, too. I think it's good for kids to have time away from their parents, and good for parents to have time away from their kids. I swore when I was pregnant that I would go back to work after one year. I swore that I'd raise an self-sufficient adventurer. I swore I wouldn't hover.
But I am the mother of a child with a sensory disorder, a motor skills delay and an anaphylactic peanut allergy.
I am that mom of a seven-year-old who understands beginning algebra and reads college biology textbooks for fun and can add four digit numbers in his head but can barely zip a jacket or tie his own shoes and sometimes hums and mutters to himself strangely in public to drown out the world's constant noise.
I am that mom who tells her son to face the world proudly, anyway.
I am THAT mom of a child with a food allergy -- a mom who knows that every time her son walks out the door to go to school or to a birthday party or to a holiday dinner, he's risking his life.
I am that mom who lets him walk out the door anyway.
But I'm not the mom who is ready to stop following him (at a distance) just yet.
I'm just not.