Wednesday, June 13, 2007

White Picket Fences

I'm not a white picket fence girl. I'm more of a wrought iron woman or a tall solid stone wall that would surround my compound. You know my compound. The one I'll have someday when I actually complete my book and sell it. Anyway, back to that stereotypical dream of the white picket fence.

I had a conversation recently with a friend who stated, "I'm not about the white picket fence, that whole suburban thing with kids. It's not what I want." I detected a note of disdain in her voice. She might as well as said, "Blech!" and spit after that sentence. At first it made me angry because after all I live in suburbia and I tote T.D. around on a daily basis. I go to the community pool and take walks on the trails in my 'hood. I took what she said personally. As if it's ok for those other people who aren't smart enough to live that life, but it simply was not for her. She is above that. After a bit I caught myself. It's not me either. While I live in suburbia and I'm probably judged as a "oh she's just a stay at home mom" meaning I must be boring by some people out there (which really just gets in my craw) it's not me.

That whole tiny sentence that didn't even pertain to me but it got me on a whole track of inward thinking. I don't respect what I do. I have issues within me about my status as a mother. I feel that in one instance if I were to just give myself over to motherhood I would be lost in the mire of the mundane. Because let's face it motherhood can be pretty boring at times. I would lose myself. Only to be seen as another capri pant wearing, Old Navy shopping, organic food shoving suburban Mom. To quote Jerry Seinfeld, "not that there's anything wrong with that." There isn't. I just can't give myself over to it. Only on alternate Wednesdays or something.

I've often felt that if I just stopped questioning my roles in life it would all be so much easier. Stop thinking of how you look as a mother who doesn't really feel like she should be a mother, it's all an act. I'm not old enough or fun enough. Stop thinking that if I quit running my mouth about my staunch beliefs I would be a lot more rested. What if instead of going into mourning for the world as a teenager I just sat back and hung out? Maybe it would have been a more fun existence. Maybe if I didn't yell expletives at the University President in college and constantly fought against that system I would not have been called "Psycho Girl" by my classmates. Could I just give myself over to what I percieve to be a simple, complacent and mediocre life? Because that is what society seems to believe family life and the suburban lifestyle is about.

They plug it and disdain it at the same time. You move out to the burbs. You pop out some kids. You lose perspective and become a drone. A slave to the machine of wanting more and judging others by what they have and you have not. A cynical view perhaps, but in essence it's what I believe we are really saying in our whole media blizted mess. City people are cool, edgy, open-minded and worldly. The excitement never stops for them. You know just like it does for singles? The country/suburban folks stop reading and become mush. We only care about how shiny are car is or something. I HATE THAT IDEA.

I HATE that it's come into my way of thinking. I hate that I ponder my role as a mother so much. I chose to do what I believe to be the best avenue for our family and for me and I know I'm judged on that. I'm perceived in a way I abhor. There really is no point to this whole mish-mash of ramblings. It's just me getting out my own junk and trying to sort through it. I clearly have issues with how I think I'm judged by others. Which shouldn't even matter. I never thought about any of this until I had T.D. Now I wonder all the time if I'm going soft. If we should move out of the burbs and into the city. If becoming a mother has sucked away parts of me. Because sometimes I'm too tired to fight anymore and that makes me a bit sad. My passion for things is a tiny bit less because so much of my energy goes into being a mother.

In some ways though I guess it also keeps me questioning things. Just instead of questioning the outside world it's more questioning the inside me. Who really wants to go there on a regular basis?


  1. Anonymous11:40 PM

    No, it shouldn't matter how other people see you ... but lets be realistic! Of course it does.

    Having said that, I'm of the personality type that enjoys raising eyebrows.

    I live in the suburbs, I'm a soccer mum (even cart other people kids around in my trusty station wagon).

    On the other hand, I rock up to school dressed mostly in black (right down to the fingernails and hair) and say things that "polite people don't say" without a second thought - particularly about political and environmental issues.

    I don't truly believe that anyone has to lose themselves - although there will certainly be a bit of adaptation, as life circumstances change. Self questioning is part of that.

    No clue what I'm really saying, though. So take it or leave it.

  2. Charlotte12:32 PM

    I suspect that by this stage in your life, you are you and nothing will change that. So you should worry so much about 'going soft.'
    (much easier said than done, i'm sure)

    On another note: What's wrong with being a mom? It's not something bad. I wish more women would just be moms. Good moms to their kids. Teach them about hard work and respect and good manners, etc. Kids need that desperately these days. It's probably the best contribution you can make to society - to raise an honest, hard-working, respectful, intelligent child. (once again, probably much easier said than done.)

    You are a sharp, fun, intelligent, well-dressed, hard-working woman. And you'll always be that even if you bought capri pants at Old Navy while you were eating museli.

  3. There's nothing wrong with being a Mom. It just doesn't pay. I wish. According to I should be making a cool $182K a year. Ha!

    I hate Museli.

  4. We constantly find ourselves defending our living in the suburbs. We'd love to be living in Berkeley like hipsters, and like people seem to expect from us. But that's exhausting. No parking. Having to use laundrymats. We prefer to have the modern conveniences of a washer/dryer, a permanent parking space, and a dishwasher. It's also a very safe neighborhood. It's boring, and we feel boring. And old. But we ultimately wanted everyday living to be easier so that we'd have more time and energy for the fun stuff.

  5. Captain Dad has crunched the numbers and I could quit my paid writing and just focus on being a mother and my own writing projects.

    Am I so reluctant to give up the paid gigs because I value the luxuries? or the identity and status of still "working?"

    Your post is really making me think.


Thanks for commenting! It's always good to hear from a reader and not say, a robot.