The other day I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror while giving my kids a bath and I thought, “Wow. I look like such a mom today.” Not sure if it was the outfit, the hair, or what, but for some unexplainable reason, my maternal persona jumped out and grabbed me by the puffy vest thing.

Sometimes when we pull up to our house (in our minivan of course) I find myself pondering, “This is MY house!” As in, I pay the mortgage, and I don’t live here with my Mommy and Daddy. That’s some crazy sh*t!

Does anyone else ever have moments like this, where it feels like maybe you’re still just playing house and then it hits you- BAM! You’re the real grownup now.

I keep waiting for the time when I genuinely feel like I deserve that title of Actualized Grown-up. Because most of the time, I feel unworthy of the responsibility and street cred that comes along with parenthood.

I am constantly questioning my ability to make sound judgments. A while ago, my ambitious daughter invited a few neighbors over for a “special party.” She had written out an agenda for the girls, which read as follows:

· Sparkly drinks

· Treats

· Watch movie

· Pedicures

· Get Ready!

What the hell? I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to consult your parents before constructing such elaborate plans, but that’s my inventive offspring for you. Then came the real problem: Were these activities acceptable? Who am I to say if it’s okay that they make sparkly drinks? And what the hell is supposed to go in these drinks anyway?

I guess it boils down to this: Who’s in charge here? Because I really don’t think it should be me. I often doubt my skills when thinking on my feet, resorting to past childhood feelings of inadequacy and a distinct lack of good ideas.

At times I wish I could subscribe to the outdated patriarchal philosophies of the 1950s and just parrot, “Go ask your father,” when confronted with an inquiry about whether or not it was okay to paint each other’s nails.

I tried to rise above these negative thoughts on the day of the party, and I astounded myself by developing an ingenius and seemingly acceptable sparkly drink! I poured the Pedialyte we had leftover from a stomach bug and mixed it with some Club Soda. Voila!

Here is another reason why I feel that it is simply not possible that I am a real grown-up: whenever my parents visit, I feel flooded with relief that help has arrived. This makes me question our competence as the adults of the house. Oftentimes I am self-conscious and chagrined as we continue to demonstrate our disorganization with a lack of meal planning, an embarrassing number of misplaced items we then scramble to locate, and the nearly illegible to-do list that lies crumpled up on my desk, betraying its impotence.

I am quite certain they were not inept when they were raising us in their 30s and 40s.

Ever feel like you’re still just playing pretend?
Sometimes the surreal awareness creeps in at the strangest times. I will be sitting at Sunday breakfastwith my family, the steam from our plates and my coffee mug rising over the newspaper spread out on the dining room table, and it will flood in. I am an adult. This is my house. These are my children. Surely there must be some childhood memory of a Sunday morning scene similar to this one that is buried my subconscious, climbing to the surface and magnifying the parallels.

I wonder if I will ever truly feel that I have arrived as a parent, that I really belong in this club of so-called experts, authorities, and sages.

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