The Mom Uniform

I wanted a mom uniform. I felt like it would level the playing field and cause me to get picked on less…oh and I would never have to think about what I was putting on.

But then I went to a mall. Don’t get me wrong, i’ve been to the mall more since I had kids than I EVER imagined possible, eat your heart out teens I get to go to the mall as much as I want. Except I don’t get to grab hot tea and peruse bookstores while holding hands with my hubby like I imagined going to the mall as a married woman would be. Partially because finding bookstores in malls is no longer normal and partially because of these tiny creatures hanging off my body.

No these days mall visits are steered by a crazy eyed, 3 foot maniac who wants to touch every game in the arcade for 11 seconds before dragging us to the pet store, the glass elevator, the escalator twice and Teavana for a sample of his favorite cold, caffeine free tea. But I digress, that is a NORMAL visit to the mall, we take these on random weekday mornings when I have an off day or afternoons after a doctor’s visit (the Cleveland Clinic shares a parking lot with the mall so it’s the perfect, “be good for the doctor” bribe).

This visit to the mall was abnormal..and far more sinister. Why? Because my husband’s bizarre work schedule made us forget it was a Saturday night. (I know we are total weirdos). No one should go to a mall on Saturday because EVERYONE goes to the mall on Saturday…it’s like shopping in the an expensive sardine can.

More disturbingly being at the mall on a Saturday night made me feel like I should be covering my sons eyes in the same way I would if I accidentally turned down a street with a …gentlemen’s club on it.

But it also made me feel a little like I should be sweaty and jumping off the eliptical.

See there were two distinct groups of moms among the throngs of people filling the mall.

First, there were mom’s whose uniforms included knee high stiletto boots, lowcut tops, enough makeup to make the jersey shore proud and tights worn as leggings which meant if they stopped right in front of our crotch level food court table I could not enjoy my ice cream without getting a very vivid picture of their lady parts. These usually had a young child in tow but were clearly looking to impress.  They rarely glanced at the child(ren), always with eyes glued to some form of tiny tv screen, who lagged just behind them but instead searched the room with prowling eyes…(for what i’m not sure since men who go to the mall on Saturday nights are either helping their wife with the kids, 14 years old or working at the jewelry store).

Next, were the moms who kept convincing me there must be a Curves hidden somewhere in the mall because their haphazard pony tails, sweats with just a few too many stains to suggest clean and tennis shoes more expensive than my wardrobe screamed they were working out only seconds prior to sitting down with their circle of moms for coffee. At first these women appeared to be sans children but without fail a few minutes of watching the groups would allow you a glimpse of a preteen/teen child(ren) appearing to beg quarters or cash from one the women and then disappearing again into the masses.

I looked down at my own jeans, normal blouse and flat low boots and wondered…where do I fit? I have no desire to look like i’m hunting a new baby daddy but I also don’t want to scream to the world “I’ve given up!” (although if you catch me at home you will totally find the latter but come on you didn’t accidentally run to the mall, put some clean pants on!).

While Jidgey, the painfully slow eater he is, began to finish our shared small blizzard I frantically glanced around… and I found them. The other moms like me, always with only their children and/or husband, never congregated in the groups like the first two sets had but they were there. Women whose clothing neither said, “Look at me” or, “Stop bugging me and go away” in fact their clothes had no message. To learn something about these women you would have to dare to meet them, to get to know them, I like that. I want to be that. I guess I am that.momuniform

I decided I was wrong, the other women weren’t wearing mom uniforms because there is no such thing. Those women were using their clothing to send a message about who they are as women not as moms. So maybe you can be a mom on the prowl, looking to meet a new man or a mom who just doesn’t give a rip or a mom who looks like…well… a mom. It’s all deceptive, there’s always going to be a couple women in there, who you used to be, the many levels of who you are now and even maybe a hint of who you will be. I just hope my clothes never send a message I didn’t intend to write. I want people to have to get to know me BEFORE they can judge me (cause man I can give them some REALLY juicy stuff to judge if they give me a chance!!!!)

 

 

3rd Birthday Extravaganza

My son Joel will be 3 this week so of course I started thinking about how to celebrate months ago. Where did I turn? Pinterest, of course.

I searched 3 year old party and I was stunned. Beautiful Mickey Mouse cakes, full size replica’s of Jake the Neverland pirate’s ship “Bucky” and professionally designed party invitations with moving parts.

For just weeks of planning time, hundreds of dollars, and possibly a piece of my soul as I hand glued googly eyes onto the personalized monster party handouts I was promised a birthday celebration no one could forget.

ts3party

Pinterest, I rebuke thee.

No, but seriously, pinterest is lying to me. And moms everywhere are lying to themselves. There is no such thing as a birthday party no 3 year old could forget, because no one remembers being 3. Are we really doing these things for the kids? If not are we doing it so we won’t feel judged by the moms who throw themed parties, rent out bouncy places or hire performers? They probably don’t care what you do, they probably only threw that $700 party last month to avoid feeling judged themselves. And if they do care…who cares?

I teach Kindergarten. I have seen kids take beautiful designer cupcakes, lick the frosting a little and declare they don’t like it before chucking it in the garbage. I have seen some of those same kids pick up items squished on the carpet to the point it was no longer recognizable and happily eat them (what Mrs. S? it was an old m&m!).

So how will I be celebrating? Cheaply, stressfree and joyfully

Tonight we will skype some grandparents, tomorrow we are going to visit the set of grandparents who live nearby for dinner.

Tuesday he will take 4 boxes of little debbie “spring” brownies that cost about a buck a box to daycare with him for his friends then he will pick what he wants for dinner and afterward he will have cake with mommy and daddy. (a 1/8th sheet cake from the grocery store decorated with the free celebration decorations, a candle and a new hot wheels car sitting on a sliver of saran wrap).

Our celebration items, cake included, will cost a total of about $15.

His gift costs about $35 (thanks to serious couponing). Yep, I said gift, as in 1 gift, a Buzz Lightyear.

Is my son going to flip his lid and think it was the best birthday ever? I would bet money on it.

Will he remember it when he is 20? no but we are going to enjoy the moment now knowing we are reinforcing our values by not showering him with piles of stuff, minding our budget and not stressing over goody bags other people will throw away 10 minutes after they leave.

 

Happy Birthday Joely bug 🙂

 

***DISCLAIMER*** If you have extra discretionary income or just REALLY enjoy throwing parties for kids MORE POWER to You, this isn’t a judgment of you. It is a release of Moms like me from guilt, because for every mom who likes that stuff there are 10 doing it out of obligation. It’s OK not to go big, just enjoy time with your kid while they are still little.