So Much for Supermom
edited: Thursday, November 29, 2007
By P.C. Fergusson
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Friday, October 26, 2007
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There are basically two kinds of stay-at-home mothers: ones who spend the early morning hours bundling up their babies and driving them to exercise classes, the supermarket, the bank and the playground; and ones who spend them in their bathrobe.
In case you hadn't guessed, I'm one of the latter. Oh, I started out with good intentions, all right. I remember when I was pregnant with my first child. I had decided to quit my job and drew up a list of household projects to take care of in my "free time." I knew babies slept a lot, so I'd really be able to whip my house, my life, and my husband's life into shape.
It's now nearly two-and-a-half years later and nothing's been crossed off that list. Unless you count number one: Make list.
When I was pregnant with my second child, a mere six months after our first was born (we call him our little pumpkin surprise), I grew tired of looking like a bullfrog when I sat down and vowed to get to work getting slim as soon as the baby was born. One year later, I'm still lugging around 15 extra pounds.
Not only am I fat and disorganized, my house looks like the aftermath of the '06 quake; my laundry lives in two piles: clean and dirty; and my freezer never held so many little orange boxes.
All of this would be understandable and acceptable to me if it weren't for those "other" mothers who are constantly flaunting their superiority in my face.
Take Mindy, one of the mothers I met in Lamaze class. Mindy's the kind of mother whose house is always neat, hair always coiffed, children always clean and smartly dressed. To make matters worse, she works part time. There ought to be a law.
Mindy had her last child the same day I had mine and is trim as a privet hedge. She has a perfect body and a full wardrobe of matching leotards and Spandex tights to prove it. My only consolation is she has lost so much weight since the pregnancy that it makes her nose look big.
I dropped my kids off at her house at lunch time once. She was feeding her baby at the time and there wasn't a speck of food on the table, the floor, or even his shiny Gucci bib.
Since I know she's a nurse, I suspect she feeds all four of her offspring through plastic tubing. She must have stashed the equipment when she heard me at the door. (Personally, I prefer the feeding pen technique: Line the walls and floor with newspaper, put the bowl in front of the kid, and stand back.)
I ran into Mindy once at an exercise class. It was one of my rare, misguided attempts at supermomdom. I had gotten up early in order to feed and dress the kids, pick up my friend Sally and get to class by 9 a.m.
Sally and I, novices both, stood close together in the back to monitor each other's breathing in case of spontaneous heart attack.
Mindy, in the front row, hopped up and down like a piston. When the instructor said, "If you want to make it a little harder, put your foot on your head," we knew Mindy would. While we lay in lifeless bundles during the last 20 leg lifts, Mindy kept pumping thigh even after the music stopped.
After class, we gathered in the back to socialize. Mindy scrutinized her finger with chagrin. "I cut it this morning on a baking powder tin," she said.
Sally and I looked at each other, aghast. "You were baking this morning?" we asked in disbelief.
"Oh yes. Biscuits. It's the only time I can find when the kids don't pester me. I love to get up and get something done while the kids are still asleep."
Sally and I commiserated over coffee after class. We both admitted being concerned about Mindy. All that energy could signify a metabolic disorder. Could she be anorexic? For all her perfection, we wouldn't want to be in her size 5 tights.
We decided to order sweet rolls, just to make sure.