losing sense of self
it happens to all mothers
just like with the Borg
I had the kids with me at Target today, for an emergency shopping trip. Bread, strawberry jelly, laundry detergent, Icy Hot and Pulmicort. And while I was pushing the cart down the mostly deserted aisles (side note: shopping at Target right after school lets out is a win), I had this sort of out of body experience. I could see myself, all shlumpy and tired, with the gray peeking out from the semi-permanent hair color, and the unidentified splotch on my skirt and I thought, "Fuck me, I've become one of those moms." You know the kind. The women who have no other identity to the outside world – just "mom".
Now, truth be told, I've been a shlumpy, stained mom for a long time now. There was a break for a while there when I turned into a shlumpy, stained mom w ith Crazy Fucked Up Things Happening All The Time, so that Crazy Fucked Up Things were my main focus, but now (knock on wood) I'm back to moderately typical shlumpy and stained.
And I don't like it.
Now that I can focus on somewhat mundane things, like grocery prices and whether or not both my shoes match, I am very upset to find that I'm invisible. People working at Target don't even see me walk by. It's as if having three kids with you and bags under your eyes gives you a sad kind of invisibility cloak. When you're cloaked, you can smile at the old ladies and wave thanks to people in the parking lot and no one even glances your way. You're "just a mom". No one. There are a million of you out there, buying Icy Hot and Easter candy that's on sale.
So how does one combat this? Go for the bright blue semi-permanent hair color next time? Wear roller skates? Or do you just forget it. Accept that this is how it's going to be for now and that's OK. The more invisible you are, the less people notice the stains on your shirt.
Part of this invisibility funk comes from having just spent a bunch of days pretending to be a fancy writer. Conversations and dinners and parties with grown-ups can really lead a girl on. She starts to think she might just be a person AND a mom. But then everything calms down, goes back to normal, and you have to watch your coach turn back into a pumpkin while you catch up on laundry.
So back to work I go. The time is nigh to write a new book or two. To take these invisible days and weeks and make the most of them because you never know what's around the (mostly evil, I've discovered) corner. God knows I don't want to return to the land of Crazy Fucked Up Things Happening All The Time, but I also don't want to melt into the shadows and buy some pajama jeans and eat Krispy Kremes until my friends have to stage an intervention.
Surely there's a happy medium to all of this? Right? Because I know better than to look at mundane days and whine in their faces. That just brings the hurt. But certainly it doesn't have to be an even exchange. Fuckedupness for nothingness? What about Fuckedupedness for mostly nothingness with a side of individuality and self. That would be a good start.
No pajama jeans just yet.
At least not until I'm through with all this candy I just bought on sale.