The Bizzaro Blueprint- The Road to Super Mom

If you’re anything at all like me, you have serious Super-Mom envy. Perhaps you’ve even uttered the words, “how does she do it?” when you arrive at the home of a Super Mom, and everything is impeccably in it’s place. Toys are organized alphabetically, and the darling children curtsey upon your arrival, ready to recite the Declaration of Independence and Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, at only two years old. You bite your tongue as she wipes her slightly perspired brow before removing a tray of white chocolate chip cookies from the oven.

When you get home from this paradise, it’s like arriving on the site of a natural disaster. Last nights dishes are still in the sink, baskets of clean laundry are stacked haphazardly upon on another precariously close to the piles of dirty laundry you’ve meant to bring to the basement. The coffee table is hidden beneath the mess of late night snacks, early morning bottles, and junk mail you keep forgetting to toss. You’re scrambling to get your only child down for a nap to give you the time to…well with all the things that need to be done the only thing you really want to do is take a nap!

Is this your life? Are you easily 30 minutes late to anywhere you want to go? Does getting your child dressed involve looking through the clean laundry baskets? Does meal planning involve a stack of delivery menus? If so- you’re not alone.

When we took the plunge to become stay-at-home Mom’s none of us expected to be so severely bogged down by the minutia of it all. We really didn’t hear the answer to “how hard could it be?”. We imagine some kind of plush pillowed bliss involving a soccer game or two, and all kinds of frolicking with your baby.

I used to be a professional woman. I was meticulously organized at work. Everything not only had a place, but a label and an index too. Domestic duties, however, have never, EVER, been my strong suit. I despise dishes, and used to send my laundry out to be done- even then it would wait until the last minute when I’d bring three garbage bags filled with dirty clothes. Nowadays I struggle to balance being a mom, a housekeeper, a chef, and a virtual assistant, and rarely make it out of my pajamas. This is just not good for my daughter. With our in-house economy taking a bit of a turn since Big G embarked upon his new career path, we can’t really afford to take Little G to classes anymore, and I’m not the “just go to the park” kind of Mom. I need something specific to do. I started the year out trying to implement some “school at home” scheduling, but that petered off when things got hectic around the house.

But I’ve made a decision. I’m going to turn it around. I’m going to get it together, and you’re coming along for the ride. For the last few weeks I’ve been putting together a program I call “The Bizzaro Blueprint”. It’s a step-by-step process that will turn me (and you) from Messy Mother to Super Mom. I invite you all to take this journey with me, and give me feedback on what works and what sucks about the process.

Hilary Rosen: I invite you to do my job

Mitt and Ann Romney

Last Thursday, Democratic strategist, Hillary Rosen commented that Republican Presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, was not someone “regular” women could relate to because she’d “never worked a day in her life”.  Just to put it out there, I’m not a huge Romney fan, and there’s no love lost between us. However, when I heard these comments I couldn’t believe my friggin’ ears! Has feminism really strayed so far?

Back when I was in college, minoring in Women’s Studies, the idea of being a stay at home mother frightened me. My own mother was a stay at home mom, although back then they called her a housewife, who deftly balanced the duties of raising three children alongside cleaning house, doing laundry, and producing the kind of home cooked meals that has made her a legend in our extended family. As someone who has never been a fan of cleaning, who would rather be lounging on the couch with a book than potty training a toddler, the whole concept wasn’t so much foreign as it was daunting. The discussion amongst my academic peers, however, was a fierce one. Was a woman who chose to stay home a traitor to the feminists who blazed the trails which opened the White House doors to women like Condlisa Rice and Hillary Clinton? Was a woman selling herself short by staying home? To add to the debate, there has been a huge trend of college educated,Ivy League, women choosing to to stay home with their children. Are these women abandoning their educations to eat bon-bons and throw cocktail luncheons?

The answer, in my bizzaro opinion, is absolutely NO! In fact, the problem is that we think staying at home is a luxury reserved for the rich, when the truth is that often times the incredibly high cost of child care prohibits at least one parent from working outside the home. Since Little G has been born I’ve done the math, and discovered that I would have to make at least $70,000 a year to bring home a profit. Day care costs, commuting costs (either gas, or public transportation, and the cost of maintaining a vehicle), and the very basic wardrobe I would need to look professional in the workplace would cost most of my weekly salary. Then add onto it the tasks Big G and I would have to share, like cleaning, cooking, and delivering our child to and from daycare, there would be 3 full time jobs between the two of us. This doesn’t include taking the time to educate our child, because let’s be honest, our public school system doesn’t teach kids to read until they are 7 or 8, and the history books they use are less than fair to any other culture than the dominant one. And let’s be honest, I can’t command that kind of salary just now.

What baffles me is that we live in an extremely child centered society, where parents who do not send their children to a train schedule’s worth of daily activities are seen as neglectful. In my eyes, two parents working 80 hour weeks need a nanny, and nannies, my dear Hillary Rosen, are reserved for the rich.

What’s with this mentality that Stay at Home Moms are watchingGeneral Hospital all day long while popping truffled chocolates into their mouths? What housewifeactually does this? Between laundry, dishes, grocery shopping and Little G, I’m lucky if I get enough time to scribble in my blog. Maybe Ann Romney didn’t have to clip coupons, spend hours taking swagbucks surveys, or take on work from home jobs just to have spending money, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t worked her booty off. Let’s not discount the fact that she has had to play second string to a man in politics, soothing a bruised ego when a primary didn’t go his way, making appointments with Mitt’s personal assistant just to spend time with him, or raise her children with a man who was very likely in state less than 50% off the time. The fact that she’s done this job, and has had to LOOK GOOD while doing it, makes her a super hero in my eyes.

As for the feminists who think that stay at home parents are traitors to their gender, let me remind you that birth control wasn’t implemented so that you could stop breeding altogether (despite Betty Freidan), but to help you choose when you were going to start your family, or decide that you didn’t want children at all! Our foremothers didn’t sacrifice, or blaze trails so that we would HAVE TO work. They did it so we could have the choice to be breadwinners, instead of being forced to align ourselves with a man for our own livelihoods.We are fortunate enough, as a society, to live in a place where there can be a discussion about which parent should stay home, because we stay at home moms believe that having a parent at home, to nurse boo-boos, watch first steps, and EDUCATE our children is a more valuable way to spend our time then as a cog in the machine of capitalism.

Hilary Rosen, you should be ashamed of yourself for your words. Ann Romney, just like you, exercised her right to choose to work from home. You decided you’d rather have a stranger raise your kids, and that’s your decision. Perhaps you think that because Mrs. Romney doesn’t get paid for her efforts that she is not working. I would direct you to generations of slaves who would beg to differ. You would have been better off suggesting that she has never “earned a wage” in her life, because for all the strenuous, self-sacrificing, poopy diapers, baby food sneezes, skinned knee mending, and guidance she has never been paid a red cent. You should be saluting this woman instead of condemning her. I suggest you hit the internet and research how much a person would earn were they to do engage in a career of raising children, being a personal chef, chauffeur, teacher, and mentor, combine all of those salaries and see exactly what the job of being a stay at home mother is really worth! Shame on Hillary Rosen, and all of those who supported her sentiments.

I extend the invitation to you, Ms. Rosen, to come to my home for a month and do MY job. Let’s see how much you think the “regular” American woman would be able to relate to YOU then.

“It’s like…a jelly brick…in my diaper” and other Little G-isms

The other day I was folding laundry (it must be said that laundry is my least favorite part of SAHMing…and it shows) on the living room floor. Dinner was cooking in the oven, and I was reviewing what had been and still required completion on my to-do list. Big G was telling me about some program he was writing that I’d long since been unable to understand, and SS was due to arrive within the hour…when suddenly it hit me. It was so much that it hit me, as it was a dawning on me. The light in the room or in my brain may have gotten brighter or something, but it was like I was hyper aware of the fact that I’m a frigging adult!!!

I felt like I’d crashed a party where all the other grown-ups were looking at my shoes and asking each other, “who the hell let her in here?” and some impeccably, dressed woman in perfectly coiffed victory rolls, pearls and a starched white apron would lean in and say, “they’ll let anyone in nowadays,” while laughing demurely and pouring everyone a martini.

Seriously, I don’t belong here. First of all, I hate pearls. They’re called tears of the sea, and I don’t want to wear someone’s tears, even if it is the sea and we don’t spend much time together. Second, I’ve been working on victory rolls (click if you don’t know what they are…it’s okay, I won’t judge), but the truth is most of the day my hair is pulled into a way too large bun with curls escaping all over the place. I’m in denial about wearing glasses. I got eye surgery in 2007 and once I was pregnant with Little G my eyes started going south again. I have glasses, and I wear them in the house…all day. They’re black and pink. Not sophisticated at all. And what’s with being able to keep an apron clean? IF I wear an apron it’s usually stained with whatever I was trying to protect my clothes from. It’s also not too hard to get flour on my forehead when I use it. And martinis? I hate them. In fact I’ve never developed a taste for alcohol that isn’t masked with some kind of juice or sweetener. I like amaretto sours and gin and tonics, both of which skip me over adulthood and send me to the old folks home.

I’ve talked to my Dad about this phenomenon, and he tells me that it’s not just me. In my head, I’m 23…okay, 22, and it’s not like the chronology of my age bothers me, it just spooks me. I get this, “whoa…when did I get here” kind of tripped out moment. My Dad will tell me imagine how you’re going to feel when Little G turns 30. To which I reply, “nope…I’m not sure how I’m going to feel when she turns 3.” Which brings up the whole Little G issue. Did you know that they letme have a baby?!? It’s amazing. They let anyone do it. Plus, my whole job is to take care of her. Which is pretty awesome, because I can’t think of a job where, “goochie coochie boogie boo” is part of the acceptable vernacular, and flannel pajamas and hoodies are the acceptable uniform.

So just as I started to wonder if I was starting down the road to a midlife crisis this is what walked by, a box of Huggies with legs.

Then when she peeked her head out of the box she said, “Mom…it’s like…a jel-ly brick…in my diaper”.

Yes Little G…that’s exactly what it’s like. And upon changing her diaper, she said, “Oh sweetheart, you’re so beautiful my darling” and that’s when I realized…eff those grown-ups and their pearl martinis. I’m perfectly happy being this 30 year-old, semi-adult bizzaromom so long as I get to be Little G’s sweetheart darling.

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