When I trained for a marathon, the most important thing I was told was to PACE myself, so that I didn’t pull a “fly and die,” which is where you start out strong and then crash somewhere before mile 26. There are official race pacers who run the entire marathon with little flags or bright t-shirts so you can follow them and keep a steady pace.
On my own, I wanted to run too fast (mostly because I wanted the race to end so I could eat and lay down). So, I found the pacers and followed them like my race depended on them. Because it did.
Now, I need to find a Preschool Mom Pacer. Same idea as above, but I need it for my brave new role as preschool mom. With all these new people and social occasions and volunteer opportunities, I need someone to keep me from saying too much too soon, or letting my crazy hang out too far, because we are only on day 7 of what is likely to be a long-ass year.
For example, today I attended a luncheon for moms. The women were bright, funny, compassionate, and kind. We may not have that much in common, but we have our kids and that’s enough for a Wednesday afternoon.
WHAT I DIDN’T SAY
Because we are virtually strangers, the conversation centered on biographical details. I know that’s how polite society works, and I certainly didn’t want to violate any social codes. However, about 5 times during the lunch I wanted to lay my head on the table and sob into my bread plate about the attack in Libya. “The ambassador’s name was Chris Stevens. We could all know a Chris Stevens. I went to a prom with a guy who was practically named Chris Stevens.” (His name was Chris McCullom, but still.)
I wanted to say, “I am scared of everything, ya’ll. Pier 1 scares me. You all scare me. The fact that my kid no longer needs a nap scares me. My heavy flow days scare me. Is anyone else terrified?”
Of course I didn’t say any of that. I pictured a pacing flag ahead of me warning me to dole out my neurosis in small doses.
I gulped my sparking water. I reminded myself that I am here to be a mother among mothers. “Stop thinking about international tragedies for at least 2 hours. Eat.”
So, I did.
I held back, because that’s what I know I should do. I trusted that at some point I will have intimates at the table — those who know I go to therapy on Fridays and love Andrew Garfield more than Ryan Gosling. But we have to build up to that kind of friendship.
WHAT I DID SAY
I did make one disclosure that I hope was not too much of a pacing violation. I mentioned that during the parent interview we had before getting accepted into the school, Jeff and I were asked about our greatest fear about Sadie starting school. My answer: I was scared of Sadie ending up in a school with a “bunch of rich bitches.” (Or something to that effect.) (It was an honest answer, but I recognize it may have sounded hostile in this context.)
There was some nervous laughter. I looked for my imaginary pacer ahead of me, but she wasn’t there. Now, I am wondering if it was too soon to reveal my fears about affluence. Was my pacer actually behind me, wishing I would shut up and not tell stories that reveal too much about me too soon?
I think I need a pacer.
Any volunteers? It is not a paid position, but I will say “thank you” a lot.