Thursday, June 29, 2006

Best Quote and an Essay, by Me!

Yes, I heard it on Oprah.

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience.
We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

Which just makes me wonder, what exactly happens when your human experience is over. Do you get to go on another one? Maybe a better one? Like, you know, you wake up late and the line for the really cool ride is sooo long you just say, ah we'll take this piddling one til the other line gets shorter?

Yeah yeah I'm procrastinating. What's it to you?

And now, a brief essay.

What year is it?
By Me.

It’s just another hot day in another hot summer. There’s a crisis in the mideast, oil prices are high, the American automobile industry is in the can and the nation is uneasy. I turned my oven fan on to drown out the whining of one of my toddlers while I tossed peppers and onions around in a skillet and hoped the chicken wouldn’t overcook. Then I stopped, mid-stir, and wondered what the fuck year it was.

I mean, I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner for my family, after a day of shooing kids away from the television, avoiding laundry, doing some cleaning, and making mental shopping lists. My husband will get home and dinner will be on the table for him. He’ll talk about his day. I’ll tell him about the kids day and my day, which involves considerably less adult interaction than his day. We’ll put the kids to bed and have some chill time and discuss exactly how the country is going to hell, in a handbasket no less! And, I lie not, today, my hair looked like Mrs. Brady’s.

What year is it? I mean, seriously. This is exactly what my mother did. And her mother before her. And her mother. And so on. Oh sure, there were those years when the mothers worked. My grandmother on the other side worked in factories, along with my aunts. She worked in the local school when I was growing up.Today, most mothers work, have worked, or will work again when the kids are older, and will never stop working, but in better jobs than our mothers and their mothers. In fact, for a brief decade, women were expected to work, have kids, make dinner, and solve world hunger. I think, I mean that whole super-mom thing happened right? And when I grew up, I was going to be a super-mom, well sorta, I was gonna have a meaningful and fulfilling career making a difference. But I only did that for ten years, and probably didn’t make a difference, had some fun, though, traveled a bit. But than baby 2 and 3 came along, baby 1 really needed someone home, we moved to the West, the happening place to be, and um, well, here I am. One of those women that worked, got a husband, got kids, and stayed home.

What year is it again? So maybe I’ll work someday. Or maybe I’ll join the PTA. Or maybe I won’t join the PTA, but I’ll do lots of carpools. I didn’t mean it to happen this way. I wonder how many women do. But I can’t stop staying home. I mean, the kids, I think this is better than the alternative. Not that the alternative is bad, because women spent forever trying to get equality in the workplace and good and interesting jobs, I am all for that. I mean for us, the alternative is both of us working 60-65 hour weeks, paying more than three-quarters of a salary into childcare and just being exceptionally stressed out. So we don’t do it. We have an option. So every year or so we address the ‘going to work’ thing and so far, for the past two and a half years, it’s a no-go, and we’re not going to address it again until at least Kindergarten. I remember hearing my parents have this conversation, but the difference is I have a college degree. My mom didn’t, so that is progress I guess.

But doesn’t anyone think it’s strange? I mean, it feels like, almost like, nothing has really changed, culturally I mean. Women who make careers a priority struggle like the super-moms of the 80s to balance it all. Men struggle to help their supermom wives balance it all. Some men stay home now. I suppose that is different. Some women forgo kids or have them much later for careers. That is not a new thing. The men with wives who stay home seem to be fine with it. The dads who stay home seem to take a light-hearted approach to it. Some of the moms who work want to stay home. Some of the moms who stay home, want to go back to work. But many moms stay home. Many make provisions for it. They intend to work in their careers and then take a few years off when they have kids. That is not the supermom motto of the 80s. I hear of these work-friendly, take-your-baby-to-work places, but I don’t buy it. In-house daycare is kinda cool though. But that’s not where I am. I’m in a split-level home in a small neighborhood by an elementary school with an SUV and three kids. I am inundated daily with informational advertisements letting me know how to clean my house and kill bad germs, as well as cook nutritional meals in the microwave and quickly, because we all know us moms are busy with those busy kids. If you took away my cell phone, the internet and cable television, what year would it be?

Oh sure, it’s a whole new global world, right? But somehow, here, in split-level America, I’m not feeling particularly global. Somehow, I am feeling – Retro.

Meatloaf anyone?

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