Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Mom, Interrupted

I am coming out of the most cliché’d weekend of my life.

On Saturday, as I folded load #8 of laundry, while the chicken defrosted and the kids wrecked the living room, I was suddenly stricken. I buried my face in a pile of warm, fluffy Downy scented towels and sobbed.

At that moment Tom came in from the garage to brag about how he fixed the brake light on the van and found me, all bereft and shapeless.He tried to pull it out of me. Had something happened while he was outside living his DIY moment? Had my Spic-n-Span failed me? Was the Perdue over stuffer not defrosting quickly enough? Did I need a Calgon moment? What could have befallen the white, middle class, Dove and Oil of Olayed, 39 year old, mother of two, driver of a Honda mini-van, watcher of ‘American Idol” and purchaser of Tide and Yoplait while she was smack dab in the middle of the American Dream?

I succumbed to the oldest house-wife ailment since Shake-n-Bake was invented. The dreaded “Is this all there is to life?” syndrome.It came out of nowhere. I had been going along quite well, pre-treating, spot-cleaning, Swifferring and Windexing away all of life’s little distractions. Playing all the right games with the kids, feeding them right, reading them each 3.5 books per day or more, always more. Always positively reinforcing and gently disciplining. Making my husband feel valued and needed and desirable. Keeping those old “home fires burning”, har, har. Sending Hallmark birthday cards on time, smiling and making small talk with neighbors, recycling, donating, supporting, cheering, organizing, de-cluttering, and improving, Always looking for ways to do it better, and never, ever feeling like I had done enough.And on Saturday I caved in. Completely caved in to the realization that I want more, I need more, and I don’t know how to get more.

It’s a hard thing to admit to myself, me who bought so completely into the ideal of Super-Mom and rejected all of those women who complained that it was an impossible ideal and an unrealistic expectation to place on women. I thought that working hard and doing the "right thing” should be its own payoff. But it seems it isn’t enough, at least not all the time.

The weird thing is, what I need to focus on is figuring out something I can do for me, just me, that makes me happy. And I don’t even know what that is. I do know that I cant expect Swiffer and Tide to bring me that fulfillment. And I don’t want to screw up my wonderful children by making them my little pet self-fulfillment projects. (Isn’t that where Lindsey Lohan got her start?)So in the interest of self-preservation, and because my boys would really hate hanging out with Paris Hilton, I am in search of me and what makes me happy.

Why does this feel like I should be singing "I'm off to see the Wizard...!"