Humanizing My Mom-Idol

I think we all have “Her”….the mom that seems to have it all together, whose kids are always well-behaved and well-adjusted, whose hair always looks great, who always seems to have the time/energy/childcare to have a fabulous girls’ night or date with her husband.  She’s your Mom-Idol.  You sort of want to hate her, but she’s so nice.  She wouldn’t be your Mom-Idol if she was bitchy.

Strictly speaking, it doesn’t need to be a Mom-Idol.  You could have any sort of role model.  I actually have several…a working mom idol, a newswoman idol, a hippy mom idol, a writer mom idol, a writer non-mom idol  (I could go on and on.  I respect and admire a lot of different women for a lot of different reasons).  I actually once had a friend tell me that I was her mom-idol, which was quite an honor (although I felt incredibly self-conscious around her after that).

I have one mom idol, I wish I could call her a friend but she’s more of an aquaintance, who always seems to be living the life I wish I was living.  She has an amazing house (I’m not a stalker), she writes for a living, she goes to fabulous parties and events and posts pictures on Facebook (seriously, I’m not a stalker), she seems to have a huge social circle that frequently plans multi-family trips to the beach or the mountains.  And when I see her out in the world, which I do periodically, she always looks fabulous and put together.  She just always seems so…cool.

I saw this women at Kroger a few weeks ago and we stopped to chat.  As usual, she was cool and breezy and I was trying hard to sound clever and relaxed while I was talking.  It’s not that talking to her makes me nervous, it’s just that I’m regularly a spaz and stumble over my words….especially when I’m trying to sound relaxed.  So we talked about things while I surreptitiously looked over the contents of her basket (wine, fancy cheese, organic produce…figures).  Her kids were fantastically well-behaved while her husband kept passing by saying things like “Honey, I’ll get the olives for the dinner party”.  Meanwhile, I was wondering if I could get home in time to grab a shower before my husband and kids woke up from their afternoon nap or if it was even worth it since we weren’t leaving the house again for the rest of the weekend.  Eventually, we said our good-byes and did that “We totally need to get together” thing that never actually seems to happen.

I went straight to the check-out line.  After waiting for a few minutes, I noticed that Mom-Idol & family were a few people behind me.  I didn’t want to seem too clingy or desperate, so I was trying hard to look engaged while flipping through a magazine.  And that’s when I noticed it….

…..Mom-Idol was losing her cool. 

It wasn’t just a momentary slip.  She was losing her freakin’ mind.  She was bickering with her husband about the kind of olives he’d picked while her son was begging for candy and her daughter was trying to run away.  She was hissing through clenched teeth at one child while giving the eye to the other.  She was completely exasperated while digging through her purse looking for her wallet and repeating “I thought I had a coupon…I don’t want to get it without the coupon.”  She was acting…..human.

Now, I’m under no false impression that this woman is in any way super-human.  I know that we all have our days.  Everybody has problems.  But I sometimes feel like other people just deal with it better.  They don’t let their cracks show.  Maybe their lives are just a little bit easier. 

But maybe they aren’t.  Perhaps her cracks are closer to the surface than I’d thought.  Is it possible that her coolness & self-assurance cover a bit of insecurity?  Maybe she can’t figure out how to control her kids.  Maybe she’s afraid that people won’t think that she’s smart enough or funny enough.  Maybe she’s as nervous talking to me as I am talking to her. 

All I know is that my Mom-Idol is a normal person.  And, for that, I like her even more.

Friendship

My friend Jessica (Yes, I have a friend named Jessica.  I’m not speaking in the third person or removing myself from this sentiment) believes that friendship has “a reason and a season”.  People come into your life when you need them or need to learn a lesson and when that need has been fulfilled, it’s perfectly okay to let those people go.  After expressing a little paranoia that eventually my days would be numbered too, she clarified that there are people, very special people, who stay in your life forever.  You just never know which category a person will fall into until it’s already happening.

I like that theory.  I like the idea that there’s no pressure and that the friends you pick now don’t necessarily HAVE to be your best friends forever.  As much as I like the idea of having a BFF, a lifelong best friend, I just can’t see it ever working for me.  To hear me talk about my friends, you’d think that I’d moved around my entire life.  In fact, I lived in the same house until I left for college.  I’ve just been in a lot of different “places”.  I know a lot of people, I’ve made my way through many different circles.  Are all of these people my best friends?  Absolutely not.  Do I care about every single one of them and periodically think about them and wonder where they are?  Yes.

Perhaps it’s a giant personality flaw on my end.  Maybe it’s a sign of insecurity that I seek out people I KNOW I’ll leave eventually.  Maybe I’m afraid of the commitment.  Maybe I’m afraid that *I* won’t be interesting enough and they’ll leave me.  Maybe I’m just in such a state of flux that I don’t know myself well enough to find people who will fit.  Maybe I just grew up in a tiny town with all the same people and now I meet people and collect acquaintances just because I can.

The last couple years have been a huge whirl of friendships and heartbreak.  Being a parent has made every feeling a little more raw for me.  Love is so much more intense, but so is hurt.  When somebody forgets about me or is thoughtless or is blatantly hurtful, it stabs my heart.  I don’t want my children to see their mother so weak.  I don’t want them to ever feel like this, like they don’t fit it.  And so I move into survival mode.  Fight or flight.  Neither of which are particularly conducive to friendships.  I admit that I have been at fault…there are a million ways that I could have handled situations differently.  It’s a learning experience.  Everything is.

Over the last year I’ve made the conscious decision to remove a few people from my life.  Did it go down in a blaze of glory, screaming and crying or bitter purging letters?  Nah.  It was more of an eye-roll and the thought “wow, I don’t need this crap.” -I can see these people for what they are-  In most cases, insecure.  They make themselves feel better by pulling others down.  I’ll admit, insecurity is one of my challenges.  What an easy target I must have been.  It’s wild when you remove yourself and you can actually SEE the same thing happening to someone else.

SO, for the most part, I’m light and happy and a lot less stressed.  But every so often, I feel a little twinge of doubt.  Was I too hard on her?  Maybe I should try to mend bridges, reach out and reconnect.  I KNOW that this isn’t a good idea.  I KNOW that it would not be at all productive.

Does it sound like I was dating these people???  I guess it IS a bit like a break-up.  A really bad, messy break-up.  I started dating my husband in high school, so I missed out on all of this.  Maybe if I’d dated more, and had more romantic break-ups, I’d know how to handle a sometimes bitter end of a friendship.  I’d know that you DON’T go back to the boyfriend that makes you feel fat or ugly or inadaquate. 

To be clear, I don’t have a string of friend break-ups behind me.  A lot of times we just drift apart.  I leave or they leave. Somebody gets a new job, somebody moves.  We keep in touch by email or Facebook.  And then we don’t.  And then something happens…a birthday or a baby or a silly dream….and we reconnect.  Maybe it’s briefly, maybe we stay in touch because we have something new in common (lately it’s been babies).  You can’t force it.  You just have to go with the reason….or the season.

 

I am a Writer

Okay, this is weird.  First a little back-story….

 

I’ve always fancied myself a writer.  I like to read things that I’ve written.  I feel like I can string words together in a way that makes sense and sounds okay.  Punctuation is always a little cagey, but it’s because I write exactly how I would speak.  Come to think of it, it would probably be even better if I occasionally threw in photos of my face or hands so the reader could get the FULL effect. 

 

I remember getting a good grade in ninth grade Spanish class because I wrote a book about my favorite athlete (Mogul skier diva Donna Weinbrecht).  The teacher said  that I’d done so well because I wrote exactly what would have said in English and then just translated it, instead of writing based only on the words that I’d already learned.  That’s what made sense to me.

 

I’ve found that the only downside is, like a said, the question of punctuation.  That and the fact that I will too often begin a paragraph with “So…”.

 

So….(hehe, I did that on purpose)…I majored in Professional Writing.  That sounds impressive, but all it means is that I went to Carnegie Mellon University without the ability to excel at anything technical or artistic.  I got the degree, but I don’t think I’ve ever quite convinced myself that I deserved it. 

 

Here’s the thing….I’m from Vermont, where we’re known for speaking simply.  And as we’ve established, I write exactly how I speak.  So, I’ve got a pretty straight-forward, simple way of writing.  I don’t cloud my writing with a bunch of unnecessarily large words.  I HATE the word ‘juxtaposition’.  I like how I write, I think it suits me.  Still, I get completely intimidated when I read another writer’s more verbose prose.  I figure “oh, well there’s a good writer.”  The exception to that is when the writer is TOO verbose, especially when they use too many adjectives.  Oh yeah, that bugs me.

 

I suppose my main point here is that I let my insecurity keep me from writing.  This blog isn’t even something that I tell people about.  None of my friends or family have ever read it.  I figure that when I have a good chunk of posts, I’ll go public.  But damn, who knows?  And how will I know when I have enough?  And when I tell people about the blog, will I delete this post?

 

And now to the ACTUAL main point….in the last 3 days, I’ve had three very different people mention in passing that they enjoyed my writing.  One read a story that I’d written previously about something crazy happening.  Another based her opinion on my story about the lady running across our lawn.  The third just said that she finds me funny and that loves my Facebook updates.  All three told me that I should, to some degree, try to pursue it.  I like to think that I’m not a huge attention whore, bringing constant attention to compliments I’ve received.  I hope that people don’t think of me as a braggart.  But DAMN, did those compliments feel good!  I made a point to tell each person that I really, really appreciated them saying what they did.  It literally gave me a warm feeling in my heart.  It made me smile.

 

I’ve had a few ideas about writing.  I want to continue expanding a blog….perhaps start another blog about parenthood.  I’m working on an idea for a children’s book.  I recently found an ezine for hip parents that I hope to eventually be cool enough to contribute to.

 

This morning I read an article in my CMU alumni magazine about Zachary Quinto, a fellow alum, who’d now on a top rated TV show and starred in a film that will definitely be a blockbuster this summer.  Once he decided that he wanted to be cast as Spock in the new Star Trek movie, he made it public knowledge.  He told interviewers that he was going for it.  It inspired me…a lot.  This is a guy who came from same place I did, and now he’s taking over the world.  For too long I’ve let my insecurity hold me back from trying things, or even admitting that I wanted to try things.  From now on, I’m going to just declare my aspirations.

 

I am a writer.  More to come….