Tuesday, April 12, 2011
the guilt free generation
Anyway, I have, to my right, four young neighbors who are about ten years younger than I am, give or take a year. They are the case studies I am talking about (you know who you are) and I have been analyzing their every move.
First of all, they seem to put their children in daycare whether they work or not, and they don't feel the least bit guilty about it. Fascinating. Every single move I have made as a Mother since Hallie's birth has been motivated by guilt. This is not a complisult, I am being completely and totally frank, here. Let me be clear, this is not some passive-aggressive way of me trying to put them down as mothers, because I am not. I am infatuated with you all, and I admire you from a distance because you seem so free and unencumbered by the bullshit that plagues MY generation. You are just so much more relaxed than I was, when my children were really young.
The second major thing I have noticed, is that not only do they not get fat when they are pregnant, they actually strenuously exercise. Every single one of my friends who is my age strapped on a feeding bag the minute they saw a blue line in that little window.
One of my favorite stories about my best friend, Alissa, is when she came to visit me when we were both pregnant. She was about six months along and she looked like she was due any day. I mean, she was HUGE. We were vainly trying on maternity clothing and at the time capri cargo pants were all of the rage. Well, she started with large and they didn't fit, (she is like five feet tall), then she went to extra large and she was trying to squeeze into them like a pork sausage and they were so tight that the pockets flaps on the sides were sticking straight out, defying gravity. The pouch front was stretched so tight that the draw string had no where to move to let the fabric out. I was trying not to laugh as I squatted on the stool, big and pregnant, myself (nice mental picture), and I was looking down and biting my lip, and tears were starting to stream out of my eyes. You know how the body will externally show signs of emotion, when you are trying to squealch a feeling? That is what was happening. So I compose myself and I look up as she is turning this way and that, admiring herself in the long mirror and she looks straight at me and goes, "I'm starvin'!" I literally burst like a balloon.
Anyway, you all work or you don't work, or you work part time - whatever feels good, and you are fit, and you have a social life, and you are completely unapologetic. When I was your age, I was apologizing to other Mom's waiting in line at the swings at the playground because Hallie wanted to stay on it for another 5 minutes. I was a wreck. It has literally taken me ten years to get to the place where you seem to have been all along. Why is that?
You guys seem to me to have what every woman I know strives for - a balance. Now, maybe I have it all wrong and you guys just don't wear your every thought and emotion on your sleeve. Maybe you can take a bike ride with your family without stopping to tell everyone that you just got in a big fight with your husband and almost aborted the bike ride because he could not find the tire pump and then Eva fell over on her arm and started crying so you had to get her a creamsickle, and then everybody had to have a creamsickle, no not the orange one, the red one, no I want the red one, I only have two red ones left, oh let's just forget the whole GD bike ride anyway because my tires are flat, no we are going on this GD bike ride if it kills me, c'mon girls get your helmets on, oh I'll help you, oh, did I pinch you with the snap under your chin, I'm so sorry,oh, you want another creamsickle, okay and on and on and on and on...infinity.
You all just pass me in my driveway and wave, seemingly without a care in the world. Insanity. You are so hip and so laid back and so at ease with everything that is going on. Where was I when they were giving out free lifetime prescriptions of Xanax on Cardiff Road? Probably on that GD bike ride that lasted all of five minutes. Just long enough for all of you to open your bottles and dry swallow a couple, apparently.
To illustrate an example of one of my case study subjects, here is a text interaction I had with her. Observe.
"Oh snap! Guess who left their Kiehls in my whip?! Boohya bitch!" the subject texts.
"What do u mean?" I am using the vernacular text abbreviations that I have acquired in my research so as to not frighten the subject, and then therefore contaminate my study. "Ur 2 hip for me. I M old. Do I remind you of your grandmother? Is that why we're friends?"
She then texts back, "A whip is what I believe you f**kin geriatrics call an automobile. Which, please say as the Donger would (16 candles reference if ur still high on meth). I'll give ur pretty pout shit back soon. Or I'll give it to Scarlett (our stupid dog who jumps up on top of the mulch bags we purchased from the lacrosse team a month ago and tears into them while our neighbors send us texts when they drive by) to hide in the mulch. I love that f**kin dog."
Do you see how the subject is so at ease with herself? To draw the subject in closer, I invite her over for drinks so that I may observe her in her natural environment. She brings hamburgers and french fries that she does not monitor to see if her children ate, and then supplements their diets, not with the organic gummy vitamins from my generation, but with about 20 mini cupcakes, and then she sends them out into the wilderness that is my house. She throws my nine-year-old a twenty and asks her to babysit, as she fills her mouth with this vodka-infused chocolate whip cream, while she opens two fresh bottles of Three Olives vodka - one berry flavored, the other chocolate.
"There. All of the food groups are represented." She throws her head back and laughs, that unselfconscious laugh of hers.
I ran to the bathroom and took out my notepad I had stashed under the sink, in case of just such an emergency.
"Subject seems to want to party," I scrawled, trying to keep within the lines, as her berry vodka was starting to take effect. "She is telling funny stories and does not seem to be aware that she should be stressed out and evaluating everything she is doing and saying before she does and says it. Interesting." I wrote, and then I think I passed out.
I love my younger neighbors and I am learning not to feel so motivated by guilt because of them. They keep me young and connected and I love to shock them with my constant outdated references and ridiculous banter. I would never move, even when I become "the next best thing" with this blog, because I think it is important to remember where you have come from and I come from a bunch of sweet, hilarious, beautiful women who will shape my family's life forever. Lucky me.
My advice to you is to invite someone over for drinks that you have been meaning to get to know, but have been too busy or comfortable or whatever. Step out of your comfort zone and invite someone who is 10 years younger than you are, over for an adult play date. You will not be disappointed, just hungover. Make sure to stash a notebook, though, to write everything down. You won't remember a thing the next morning because those bitches like to DRANK!