Monday, July 24, 2006
There's An Animal in Twouble
There's something going around. I can sense it. It must be the dog days of summer, and like pets gone wild in a storm, the kids have all gone stark raving mad. No, wait, that's the mommies.
I can't tell you how many moms have recently wondered---and I don't mean in an existential way---about their state of being in the universe of motherhood.
I know one mom who has a bag of essentials packed, stowed in her closet. Just in case. She says it makes her feel better, like she isn't a rat in a maze, trapped.
I'm not sure whether that is hilarious or tragic.
I say to each her own, whatever gets you and the kids through each day. And like any step-by-step program, mommyhood is truly a day-to-day deal. An all day deal. An every day deal. An every minute of every day deal.
My husband recently admitted to being somewhat peeved at being expected to don his father mantle the instant he stepped through the front door of the house.
There's a mantle? And fathers get to TAKE IT OFF??
I'd like to get me some of THAT!
I'm mommy all the time, at least in some part of my brain. And I know full well the instant I walk through the door I am back on duty.
Maybe this is why all the articles are about maternal depression and not paternal depression.
Maybe this is why no fathers ever call me, nearly in tears.
Maybe this is why no fathers ever call me and sing the Wonder Pets theme song.
My sister does this. It's hilarious.
In a sort of desperate, grabbing a lifeline of sanity, reaching out for a saving hand, the kids have gone MAD, mad I tell you sort of way. She's a pretty funny chick (must run in the family ha ha AHEM) and usually has humor about parenting. On Those Days sometimes she calls me and sings the Wonder Pets theme song, or the "There's An Animal In Twouble" bit from the show as the caged animals put on their superhero gear (I am not making this up...this is a real show...I'm not CLEVER enough to make up this stuff) and escape with Team Work (what's gonna work, TEAM WORK!) to go rescue animals in twouble.
(By the way...Bad talk and spelling in kid's things make me wiggedly piggedly bonkers. Really. Why TEACH it wrong? I should find it cute, but I can't. I love Pooh. I do. But...I'm so sick of the "Why do they call elephants heffalumps, mom?" conversation, followed by the "There must be something called a heffalump mom, maybe you can google and find it. They wouldn't have a heffalump if there weren't really heffalumps." accompanied by the patronizing arm pat. From my pre-schooler. God help me. I, of course, resort to the Stellar Parenting Technique of Sarcasm---Dr. Sears would be so proud!---and suggest something like maybe there is a school for mommies who don't believe in heffalumps or some such.)
When my sister leaves the Wonder Pets song message, I know exactly what sort of day she's having. I have those days. It's the "My gray matter is melting away and I'm actually starting to take notes with Steve and Blue and hum the "Come on vamanos" song as I drive to the store and if I have to watch Wonder Pets one more time and the kids won't stop and what I really want to be is single and childless, eating chocolate on a break from my fabulous job before heading home to my '13 going on 30' loft full of designer clothes that always fit because my metabolism isn't all wonky from pregnancy and breastfeeding for years and lack of sleep and stress that compound weight gain and WAIT no, I'm cool, I take it back, it's fine, I love my kids, I love my kids, I love my kids...I'm blessed. This is...funny. See? Funny? I'm not punchy," day.
It's not an animal in twouble.
It's the mommy.
Issuing a cry for help.
Sort of like...a ransom call.
The balance has tipped. Someone is in control in the house, and in that moment, it's not the big people.
We get the control back, somehow, or a better balance if the word "control" skeeves you when used in relation to childrearing. But sometimes we have to step out of the box, just a bit, just for a minute. A sort of "mommy time out." Even if it is just to sing "There's An Animal in Twouble" on a sister's answering machine.
Some days my job as mom is "thumb in the dam" person. I don't feel too good about any of us on those days...but I don't feel too bad about any of us either.
I guess the point is to be, simply, good enough. And do what works, in that moment.
I have to share the inspiration for this post, what made me think of all my recent real-life experiences. Go read Sarah and the Goon Squad.
By Julie Pippert
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