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Overachiever Mom. Underachieving Every Day.

19 March 2013, 16:38



It’s not often (or even at all) that you’ll see me jump into the Mommy Wars here, because, quite frankly, it eats up too much positive energy and is not worth the crankiness that ensues from it. Arguing about how you decide to do something, ANYTHING, for your own family is about as productive as peeing with the toilet seat cover down.

Which I found out the hard way. Circa 1997.

With that being said, and now that you know something more about my life as a top-notch college student, I need to get something off my 12 year-old chest.

You can talk about breastfeeding vs. formula feeding or crib sleeping vs co-sleeping or vaccination vs non-vaccination and I won’t even blink twice, because, to me, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of the parenting paths I have chosen.

But when you start bashing the moms who like to give their kids fun holidays, it slaps me in the ass. And not in a husbandly way.

I love holidays. I’ve always loved holidays. My parents have always loved holidays. I grew up in a home where we decorated, celebrated and anticipated the next fun calendar day. Because it was something we did as a family, together, in a silly, nonsensical, over-the-top, absolutely fun way. Holidays were amazing and magical and have lent way to some of my greatest childhood memories.

Because of this, I’ve passed the traditions down to my own kids.

Because of this, I’ve been labeled an Overachiever Mom.

And, apparently, I’m ruining other moms’ lives.

I am not sure why this is even a topic of discussion. It just seems so ludicrous that any mom would actually be upset with another mom who decides to imbibe in holiday spirit. Why any mom would care what type of craft or hunt or elf-stunt or Santa story another mom entertains her family with is beyond my comprehension. (And I comprehend almost everything from Monday through Friday.)


I am an overachiever. But I am an overachiever who doesn’t get out of pajamas on most days and sends their child’s lunch into the fridge instead of into the car for school drop-off. I am an overachiever who refuses to enroll any of her kids in sports so that MY schedule doesn’t get messed up. I am an overachiever who forgot to bring her daughter to art class not one, but three times.


If I had to live my life worrying about what the mom down the street did with her version of the largest, best, most colorful mother effin’ rockstar of an Easter bunny who handed out iPads and $100 bills, then someone needs to just lay me down to pasture and throw corn at me. Who purposely allows that kind of worry in?


Yes, we have the Internet now. It shows us all the lovely hand-crafted Valentine’s tutorials or the perfect way to blow out an egg shell or even the rules of the leprechaun hunt. It floods our feeds with accomplishment and craftiness and family traditions. We also have Pinterest which makes it all look pretty and easy and attainable (even if it’s not). Guess what? That’s what Pinterest is for. That’s what the Internet does.

Guess what else?

I just forgot that I never fed Charlotte lunch.


I mean,  imagine if a mom cures cancer?  The Internet, as we know it, might just shut down forever.

St. Patrick’s Day was Sunday and, like years past, I take a piece of copy paper, I grab green tempura paint, I stick my hand in it, and I make footprints. And then throw them in the hallway and drop some gold chocolate coins in front of them.

But, the Overachiever that I am, I didn’t feel like getting both hands painted, so our leprechaun as two right feet. And, I blanked on doing this Saturday night, so I did it Sunday night instead.

It took me a whole 3 1/2 minutes. And cost a couple dollars.

And you know why I did it?

Because that moment in the morning, when my kids walk out of their bedrooms and screech at the top of their lungs, while jumping up and down with unadulterated joy, while calling out for their siblings MAKES ME HAPPY.

It’s as simple as that. I don’t do it to make other moms mad. I don’t do it to win any awards. I don’t do it be called an Overachiever Mom Ruining the Rest of The World and Maybe Even The Unborn Generations.

I do it to make my kids happy.

Does this raise them as “materialistic brats?” Or “spoiled and ungracious?” It pains me to even quote these phrases from angry moms across the cyber space, who can’t stand moms who do things like I did.

I dare one person to tell me that my children are any of those above-mentioned things. Because, they’re not even close.

My best piece of advice is that if your kids come home and say, “Why did Billy get a pot of gold and 62 PS3s in his hallway this morning?” is to respond, “Because, they do things differently in their family.” Or maybe, “Because, their parents like them better.”

Like everything else in life, I take what I want from my observations around me. I will never be able to sew my kids a face cloth, no matter how many “easy” tutorials I find. I will never know how to properly braid their hair. Shit, some days, I won’t even clean the pee that the middle mon chi chi trailed on the bathroom floor in an effort to walk away before wiping. But does that mean I can’t hand-craft Jack Skellington Valentine’s cards with my 5 year-old because it makes her happy?

No. It means I choose my path. I choose what makes us happy. I choose what I want to do with my own family.

I choose to be an Overachiever.

The magical thing in this world is that you’re free to do what you want to do. If you don’t like something, don’t do it. If you love it, go for it. If you need every other mom to stop doing their holiday stuff in order to take the pressure off of you? Well, I can’t help you with that. But I think wine does the trick just fine.

So, should we tame the holidays?

Only if you want to. I know I’ll be looking for the next cool idea.

Now, I must go put away the Christmas tree runner that’s still on the hutch.



  1. Joanna {Baby Gators Den} March 19, 2013

    You are the best. Seriously. Thank you for putting into words how I have felt for years.

  2. Cristy S March 19, 2013

    My daughter is 12 and we still make the holidays fun. Yes, the leprechaun visited our house too. He left his little tiny hat and a jar of leprechaun poop (green tic tacs) along with the gold coins. We ate green pancakes and had green party punch with dinner. I think it is ridiculous that moms want to attack each other on their choices instead of helping each other out. Great post! Can't wait to see what you do for Easter. PS pinterest has made things a lot more creative around our house for holidays.

  3. Kris March 19, 2013

    My answer is always "different rules for different families"; sometimes I am an overachiever sometimes not. I think it boils down to not judging anyone, you expresses it ver well!

  4. liza March 19, 2013

    love this. and you came up with exactly the right word. ludicrous. it SO is. as moms we should never have to defend what we do (or don't do) with our kids. celebrate stuff because you want to have fun with your kids. no one does that to put others to shame. this entire thing is crazy.

  5. Marisa March 19, 2013

    I LOVE YOU! I'm right there with you. I know from the outside looking in I'm all put together and can craft stuff out of thin air and make beautiful photos and raise these three boys without a hiccup but it's all smoke and mirrors. Cute knit hats cover up dirty hair really well, the majority of my Istagram pics have been styled so you can't see the clutter in my house and most days I get dressed 2 minutes before kindergarten pick-up because I was too busy watching the 10th hour of the Today Show and wishing I was drinking that wine that Kathy-Lee and Hoda are drinking. Two days ago I made a 6 layer rainbow cake for my 13 year old. Not because I wanted to show off but because I've made him and the other boys a homemade cake every year. Some years I've made as many as three depending on when the grandparents are visiting and when the kid party is, bla bla bla. I did it for him. Only him. And a little bit for me, so I could hear his excitement when he cut the first piece. I do not understand mom haters and I just don't have the time bacause I need to go post a pic of that awesome cake!


  6. Raina March 19, 2013

    Wow! That was GOOD, Jen! Loved it! Well said... I couldn't stop reading. By the way, you are hilarious!

  7. Erin March 19, 2013

    Amen! Do what suits you and your family the best and screw what the other moms say - they are just jealous they didn't think of it first :)

  8. I believe that a perfectly placed BOOM is appropriate here.

  9. Carina March 19, 2013

    Standing ovation!!! Xo

  10. Kameron March 19, 2013

    Word to your mom... and all of the haters. I don't care what anyone else does. If I wasted my time worryingabout oother moms I'd have anxiety! I do over the top sometimes and other times I don't. I'm happy with what I do and don't sweat the rest...like the fact that my phone won't let me fix my tops in this comment. Lol love you, mean it!

  11. Jessica Morrison March 19, 2013

    You go girl!! :-)

  12. Courtney Buteau March 19, 2013

    I love this. You made me LOL like 5 times!!

  13. Pingback : I ENJOY Overachieving, Sometimes |

  14. Sarah B March 20, 2013

    You said it!!! I really don't understand why we need to be hated on because we enjoy being silly and crafty and a bit over the top about Holidays! There are a lot of other, more serious, things that make me a "bad" mom.....like the fact that I just kept refilling Avery's "bah" this morning so she'd play quietly in her crib and I could shower and eat something.

  15. Sheri March 20, 2013

    Jen, you're my hero!

  16. mel March 20, 2013

    You are my new hero Jen and this was a great and funny read!! You go girl!!!!!

  17. Mary Larsen March 20, 2013

    So glad to have read this! Way to go Jen!

  18. Kirsten March 20, 2013

    Very well said! Good for you standing up and speaking your mind. I am the complete and utter opposite. [But I don't hate you because you're an overachiever...I kind of envy you.] I hate crafts - H A T E them. They frustrate me to no end. I don't have an artistic bone in my body and get anxious every time my kids need to make something for school. I am the word girl. I tell the stories and spin the tales - I edit the book reports. I don't make stuff. I buy stuff or I don't do stuff. It doesn't matter. My kids have inherited some of my blah blah attitude towards this and I get a little sad about that because my husband was raised in a house where you got streamers and balloons on your birthday. So he does it here and the world remains balanced, sort of.

  19. Perfectly said. We're crazy over-the-top luniacal decorating playful happy over-achieving crazies, too. It must be genetic! Ha! My greatest memories as a child are little green shamrocks (my Mom is 100% Irish) on St. Pat's Day; Easter Egg hunts until I, seriously, was a senior in college; 4th of July cookouts because my Dad and my uncles were all veterans and they loved to celebrate our country with red, white and blue everything; Thanksgiving at my Nana's in Boston; Christmas... oh, Christmas... unpacking all the treasures with my Dad and making new treasures each year. THIS is why over-achieving is so important in my life. I lost my Dad at age 22, but I still have the memories, the loving, crazy, over-the-top luniacal decorating playful happy memories of the time we spent together. I wanted this for my kids and they got it. BIG time. There is nothing more beautiful for me than to make my home all about the celebration... each mantle, the dining room table runner, the front porch, the windows, the little secret things that my grandkids find in the closets, the LOVE. I have stashes of stuff for each holiday and celebration and I add to this stuff each year. For fun. For memories. For the love of it all. Simple enough. For me. Maybe not for someone else. Perfectly fine, too. This whole conversation reminds me of a time LONG ago when, at a PTA meeting in Barrington, some "lunatic" over-achieving Mom brought up the idea of a Father/Daughter dance. Nice, having 2 daughters of my own. But it was like she spit shit at the women whose husbands were physicians. Why? Because THEIR husbands were ON-CALL a lot and might not be able to make it to a dance and how would THEIR daughters feel? I still remember to this moment thinking, "WTF?" (Except without the initials.) Our elementary school, therefore, had no Father/Daughter dance. It's the same thing. If I can't do it (decorate, go to a dance), no-one else can. Oh, my... I've gone on a tirade! I've got to get back to my Easter decorations for my 9 beautiful grandbabies! xo!

  20. Michele C. March 20, 2013

    *smooches* Love you ;-)

  21. Pingback : Just an another day… | Keepin' it REAL

  22. candice March 20, 2013

    Amen sista! As I sit here thinking about the bunny prints and half eaten chocolate that the Easter bunny will leave here next Saturday night. My parents started that tradition with me when I was too little to remember when, but I loved it. To each their own. I call BS!

  23. Jackie March 20, 2013

    All I can say is...you ROCK. What I appreciate about you is that you are who you are and you OWN it. AND you appreciate all moms, no matter what they do or how they do it. I love that you make crafts because it makes your kids happy. I love that you write and blog and do a ton of stuff ...because it makes you happy. You are an amazing mom and an amazing individual. You inspire me. Thank you, Jen!

  24. Heather @ Kraus House Mom March 20, 2013

    I'm an underachiever with flashes of brilliance. I do things with my kids because my mom didn't, I want my kids to have different experiences. If people don't like what I do, screw them, they don't live here. If you were one of my kids, you could have a say but you not. Everyone needs to stop being so jealous and petty and grow up and parent your own kids and be happy with your own life.

  25. Jackie March 20, 2013

    Heather Kraus - you GO!

  26. Chelley / AisForAdelaide March 20, 2013

    Cuz in case I didn't love you enough... I'm in awe of you!

  27. Christine March 8, 2014

    Just found you and wow!! Fellow mom of 3 here. I can totally relate (Easter "bunny tracks" made from powder accompanied with half eaten carrots is my claim to fame)! Love your blog!

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    Jen Senecal

    My name is Jen. I have a contagiously funny husband, three awesomely gorgeous daughters, a knack for design, a love for writing, an obsession with kids fashion, a secret desire to be a photographer and a curfew of 10 pm. WHO'S WITH ME?
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