Saturday, June 26, 2010

Babes in Toyland

Ah, the twists and turns of parenthood. Someone threw out the handbook and the road map and I didn't get the memo. It happened to fashion. Wear white whenever the spirit moves you and pajamas are now suitable outerwear. It happened to social discourse. The checkout girl can now ask me if the weather's still crap and talk my ear off about her equally crap boyfriend. But parenting? I have my common sense and gut maternal instincts to fall back on, but otherwise I'm improvising here without a net.

I've been parenting for just under two decades, but T. Berry Brazelton doesn't tell you how to maintain a cheery, festive environment for the first Thanksgiving when Mommy and Daddy have two households. Or how to entertain yourself on weekends that the kids are away visiting aforementioned daddy and you finally have a few hours to fall apart in private and maybe squeeze in a pedicure.

I had a long list of parenting goals during my first pregnancy at the ripe old age of 21. Some were lofty and slightly unrealistic. My children would not eat Happy Meals. My children would not play with Barbies or war toys. My children would have days full of nurturing teaching moments and never get a sunburn or need stitches.

Nineteen years later my parenting goal boils down to, I will not arse this up! Once upon a time I met the babysitter with detailed lists of rules and regulations. Now on those rare occasions when I find a babysitter, I leave emergency contact info, a bedtime and the direction that I'd like everyone to still be alive when I return and not in need of therapy, babysitter included.

A friend of mine recently told me that her therapist was helping her get in touch with her "inner goddess." This is a working mother of three that seems to hold it all together with poise and enviable ease. All I could think is that the carrot of feminine goddess hood has been crammed down my throat. Maybe I need to get in touch with my inner humanity? Maybe I need to roll around in the dirty laundry which threatens to overtake me and eat a twinkie and trust that there are other women within primal screaming distance that work just as hard to create a sanctuary for the ones they love more than life in this glorious, all too human, domestic maze.