Saturday, February 26, 2011

Professional Parenting

Stories from the Trenches

I am waiting for the Beast’s fencing class to end. I am trying to read my New York Times in the little café area outside the fencing room. But there is a constant chatter, no banter, no…no…the more I listen—I realize it is the retelling of war stories—MOM war stories. I pull my attention away from the art and culture section that I have been craving like a like a crystal meth addict all day and look up at my distractions.

There they are-- two moms, professional parents—you know the type—one-upping one another with tales of their difficult lives: one child was on a traveling sport team, while the other was in a gifted program on Saturdays at a local college. There was more…a lot more…boy scouts, school team sports, volunteer service, bar mitzvah preparations….they barely had time to chauffeur them from one activity to the next. The lists were getting longer and longer. They both had two children.

After that first night at home with the baby Beast—we were pretty sure we were single kid sort of parents—so I bow out of these busy mommy competitions on lack of team members alone.

I always try to avoid the martyr mommy syndrome---I first encountered this ailment shortly after The Beast’s birth. Many mommy martyrs start with birth stories and I have heard a ton of these tales doing playground duty those first few years of parenthood …the many hours of labor, being stitched up after the gargantuan baby finally arrives…all NATURAL…naturally.

I, of course, never one for pain or personal suffering of any kind— was screaming “DRUGS!” from the get go, promptly followed by “knock me out and get it out.” Because REALLY—what is modern medicine for?

The mothers notice I am looking up from my paper and then invite me into their Homeric story telling session with an encouraging question. “Oh but it must be so difficult with a girl—right?” They say pulling me forward into their web of saintly motherhood. I am tempted, but as I think—I come up blank. I enjoy The Beast, I am charmed by her friends and for the most part, they are pretty independent and have always been so. “well…I start—she wears A LOT of eye makeup….And” I say fishing in my memories for something—“She was a little snippy with me the other day when I tried to get her out of bed for school….”

The mothers waited with encouraging smiles—but I just couldn’t do it. Life is good. We do stuff, but fun stuff. I sometimes end-up sitting in places like this one, but I view it as an opportunity to A) read my New York Times or B) Get a Blog post. Their smiles fade and they turn back to their Blackberries to check their schedules.

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