toddler kissing pregnant bellyI’ve always kind of felt like the Holly Golightly of motherhood. You know that famous first scene of Breakfast at Tiffany’s – where she is on the outside of the store, longingly peering in? Yup. That’s me. Except replace Tiffany’s with all-things-motherhood and exchange her fabulous outfit for a pair of yoga pants. For some reason, I’ve just never been totally convinced that I know what the hell I’m doing. I’ve always kind of felt like I was on the outside looking in when it comes to motherhood.

Number two is on the way – soon. I’m due in less than a week. Lately I’ve been wondering – will I automatically be a pro this time around because I have done it all before? Yeah – I don’t think so. I’ve often wondered why I have such an inferiority complex about motherhood, and I think I’ve finally figured it out. Everyone else is just doing waaaaay too well. Stop showing off ladies – give the rest of us a break.

It’s become less evident since I left New York because I am just not around as many moms anymore. But hanging out in the mom zone of Brooklyn definitely made me feel like my parenting arsenal needed some serious attention.

We were in the park one day when I looked up to see a toddler swoosh down the slide, fall off and somehow slam his face at the base. It freaked me out because his face immediately began to bruise, swell and bleed. His father turned white, picked him up and tried to console his screaming child. Before I could even react, another mother came running from around the slide – backpack in hand.

Oh my! That was scary. Do you want my ice-pak? Here’s some Neosporin and some Band-Aids, too. Here sweetheart! Do you want Kermit or Big Bird?

My attention immediately shifted from wounded, bleeding child to Supermom. Who was this woman? Why was she carrying an ice-pack? I don’t even think I have an ice-pack at home. I know I have Neosporin somewhere – but I’d be hard pressed to find it in an emergency. I started looking around. Did everyone else have a first-aid pack with them on their afternoon walk to the park?

I glanced to one corner of the park. Three children were making the most exquisite chalk-mural I had ever seen. I didn’t even know they made sidewalk chalk in those colors. And mom was gathering flowers and other greenery to accent the piece. It was amazing.

Next to them was a family that appeared to be constructing sandcastles in sand that I swear hadn’t been there the day before. Did they bring their own? As her children giggled, mom composed little cheese and celery towers for each of them – with items she pulled out of a real-live picnic basket. You know, one of the wicker ones with the red and white checked linen emerging from it? I never knew they actually sold those to real people. I always thought they were just props.

I glanced down at my empty-handed child. He looked up at me as if to say, what the hell mom? Where’s my fine art kit? Where’s my friggin picnic basket? I opened up the only thing I had on me – my purse – and looked inside. A couple wet naps, a lipstick, my wallet, and a broken crayon.

Ooh! Look what I found!

I handed him the broken crayon. He threw it on the ground and walked away.

I guess I just always thought that motherhood would automatically make me that person that is constantly prepared for every situation. I don’t know why I thought that – I’ve never been that person. I’m more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl. I was never one of those women who carried a make-up bag around or had anything besides keys and my credit cards in my purse. One application – that’s all this face gets. Whatever stays on throughout the day is good enough for me. Is it wrong that I approach motherhood that way?

I was always confused by the parents I would see walking around my old neighborhood. I knew they lived a stones-throw away from the parks and coffee shops where we all converged, but they always had enormous diaper bags, toys, and other assorted goodies spilling out of the baskets of their gigantic strollers. I liked to call them the I Leave My House With Everything I Would Possibly Need to Care For This Baby For Three Weeks in Case Armageddon Happens on the Way Home From the Park group. I always thought they were a little ridiculous – until that day in the park.

I just figured, well, that we were going to a park. Why bring a bunch of extra shit? Could I ever bring anything that would outdo a jungle gym or a slide? No. So what’s the point? But looking around at all of those well prepared moms and back down to my empty-handed child that day just made me feel like I was doing something wrong.

Will I be more prepared the second time around because I have to be? Having a toddler and an infant in tow is a whole different ballgame. Maybe motherhood take-two will force me to become more organized. We’ll see.

For now, baby steps. There’s a Ziploc bag full of goldfish in my purse and a soccer ball in the trunk of my car. I’m trying, people. I’m trying.

(photo: arek_malang / Shutterstock)