Friday, August 27, 2010
Facing the mom brigade
It is 2:22 as I write this, and in -- ye gads -- 38 minutes, I need to be out of my yoga pants, out of my THE STORY NEVER ENDS tee shirt that was my sole recompense for stepping in and rescuing a desperate conference organizer and agreeing to speak to a herd of only slightly interested teenagers about writing.
I need to be OUT of these and IN something presentable that wouldn't get me aired on TLC's WHAT NOT TO WEAR ... and most importantly smiling (but not too dementedly) at the elementary school teachers and (whisper this) the other moms when I pick up The Kiddo.
The Husband usually has this afternoon pick-up duty, and he could care less what he looks like when he picks up The Kiddo. He has no idea how merciless women can be on each other. They rival vultures when it comes to efficiency in picking things off the bone.
So, since I have been job-hunting, I have been getting up in the morning, showering and putting on make-up, and instead of something dry-clean-only, I put on a cute casual outfit and take The Kiddo to school. Then I come home, presto-change-o into yoga pants and T and job hunt on the internet. Thus, every afternoon, I have to rip off such comforting duds and pull back on my protective haz-mom gear.
Dr. Phil would have a field-day with this, I'm sure, plumbing into the dark recesses of my inferiority complex about getting laid off. But honestly, it has zip to do with that. I'm absolutely petrified of the professional SAHM. This is the creature that always pays for yearbooks the minute the notice comes in, sends gourmet goodie bags for all holidays including St. Patrick's Day and remembers to never, ever send anything with nuts as a class birthday treat.
Speaking of birthdays, this creature sends out cute little birthday invitations to the entire class BY MAIL a month ahead, inviting the children to frolic at some exotically themed party. Before you ask, yes, The Kiddo goes to public school. Do you think I'd be idiot enough to send her to a fancy private school where I'd never measure up?
It's not that these moms don't mean well. They do. They're wonderful, and a great resource. Ask them for anything from a Kleenex to an epi-pen and they'll pull it right out of their handy absolutely-this-season's big designer tote slung casually over their shoulder as though it doesn't weigh 15 pounds. Me? I'm lucky if I have a spare Band-Aid or a dusty Life-Saver in the recesses of my tiny purse.
Always before, though, I had the excuse of being a "working mother." They'd forgive so many of my many, many lapses because I worked.
But now? It's becoming clear to me that I am NOT cut out to be a professional grade SAHM.
Take for instance the other morning when I was running late. I'd noticed a rank smell in the car that I couldn't place. It had been mild the night before, horrid the next morning. The Husband commanded me to open up the trunk, which I did. Voila! A bag of garbage that I had no recollection of having put there, and that The Husband had no intention of admitting that he forgot.
"I'll drop it off after I take The Kiddo to school," I told him. Over my shoulder to The Kiddo as I backed out, I gave her this solemn promise: "Sweetie, I know I'm not wearing make-up this morning, but I'll wear my sunglasses so that no one will see, OK? And this afternoon, I'll wear make-up."
She looked relieved, complained about the garbage, but otherwise we made the trip to school and I dropped her out.
Then disaster struck as I was about to make my getaway. One of the Professional SAHMs recognized my car and made a bee-line for me. I sat there praying mightily, "Please, God, no, no, no!" but the Lord did not see fit to intercede.
So she popped open my passenger door and stuck her head in, only to give me some insider piece of knowledge : "You know," she said, "That end door is open until 8 a.m., and you can just drive right over there and drop her off. That's what I do with (name omitted to protect the innocent). Easy-peasy."
To which I'm thinking, Please don't draw in a deep breath. And please, please, please don't make me have to call your name because I know you're (name omitted's) mom, but I have absolutely no clue what your GIVEN name is.
I didn't say any of this, of course. I smiled. Said something like, "Really?" Added a few inane comments about school. Hoped I made some sense and didn't blurt out the word "garbage" because it was so omnipresent on my mind.
In all of this, I realized that I had -- oh, my ever-lovin' goodness gracious -- slipped off my sunglasses. This woman had seen me without make-up. I had been caught without cosmetics in the school drop-off line by a woman wearing the coolest little cotton top (without a wrinkle, I might add) and denim capris (which meant the blasted woman had to shave her legs that morning) and wearing make-up down to lipstick.
She moseyed onto her car. I peeled out of there as if I were a getaway driver at a bank robbery. First thing I did? Toss the garbage. Second thing I did? Say a prayer of thanksgiving that at least I had taken a shower that morning.
Have I told The Kiddo? Are you kidding?
OK. 2:46. The count-down is on and I probably have to refresh my make-up at this point, too.