Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Right Equiptment

As I have taken on this new role as a stay at home mom I knew there were things I would need to change, or adapt even. When I was a working mom there were certain things required each day in my life as a work-out-of-home mom (I say work-out-of-home because I have always understood mother’s who stay home work as hard, if not harder, than the rest of us). I needed my Blackberry, purse, makeup, proper office attire, usually a packed lunch, appropriate shoes; you know…the standard office, behind the desk kind of girl stuff.

So now in this new role I find different things are needed. My first real “outing” with the children was to story time at the local library. We have literally thousands of books in our house. There are books which belonged to my mother as a child, my books from childhood, all of my father’s book collection (including his everything from his BA, MA, and PhD), as well as the fiction and non-fiction which arrived after dad died too. I thought the library would be a good adventure for the kids and an opportunity to avoid permanently increasing the numerous hardbacks in our house. And maybe this would be an opportunity for me to meet another SAHM. I know very few, and the ones I do know are from church and not close by geographically.

Upon our arrival, Ms. Jules (the librarian) sweetly guided us into the meeting room for story time; the topic for the day was the sea and things which live in it. I entered the room to find five other mothers (two pregnant) and fourteen children. Ms. Jules gave the children instruction on where to sit and they both angelically complied, leaving me standing by a table wondering whose children had come with me to the library and what was I to do now?

I chose a seat at the table, which I later learned was the craft and coloring table, and not really where a proper mother is to sit. A proper SAHM quickly plops herself on the floor with a strangle hold on their rambunctious two year old who is not quite ready to be engaged in a formal story time setting…Oopse, I blew that one right off the bat.

As I sat, watching Ms. Jules and the children, I began to observe these other mothers. Two more came in after me, much to my relief, as I was sure I would be the only “not on time” mom. So in this nice room of moderately well behaved three to nine year olds (and a few less than three hellions bundles of energy), I begin to have an awareness of these other women. It is in this moment I find I AM NOT properly equipped to be a SAHM.

My first clue that there I was somehow deficient was the moment I realized, other than Ms. Jules, I was the only adult in the room not adorned with a ponytail. Every other mother in the room, some short, some long a few in between…but every one of them had a ponytail. Now don’t get me wrong, I like ponytails, and have had enough length to my tresses many times in my life to don one, but right now my locks are short, very short actually for me. I felt somehow naked, vulnerable, almost out of place at that moment. I did not have the right equipment to participate in this sport.

The other glaring irregularity I found between myself and all of these other mothers was my full faced war paint. After years of not leaving the house without it (ok, I sometimes occasionally once in a blue moon leave the house without it) it has become part of my routine, so ingrained in my being I feel “off” if I forget. I sat in awe of these women in their ponytails and perfect comfort WITHOUT war paint. I observed a few with mascara, some pretty pink gloss, a touch of color on the cheek, but none were fully ensconced in product the way I tend to be. They were pretty, natural, comfortable in their glowing magnificence. Their absolute unconcern for a “face” was refreshing, and yet an oddly obscure notion to add to my world.

I felt awkward, remote, and unengaged with this new sorority I am pledging. It was a moment when I was both puzzled and enlightened at the same time. I find myself intrigued by the equipment needed, or not, for this new role I am taking on and realize I have much to learn, and much I can change...if I want to.

1 comment:

  1. Don't do it! Don't put in the ponytail! Secretly, we ponied women are always jealous of you well coiffed women!