Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Just A Mom

A couple weeks ago, I threw my Mom a birthday party. It was no big deal: burgers, Mexican dip, a pretty cake, a cheese ball. But with a one year old, everything is about 100 times harder than it should be: In Target, as I was buying the paper products, G spilled mini-Cadbury eggs everywhere. At home, while I was ordering the cake, G (impressively) picked up my hot coffee and treated herself to a taste, which then went everywhere, and quickly became no treat at all, for anyone. In front of my computer as I was trying to send the invites, G got herself stuck behind the couch. Even better, in trying to get herself unstuck, she got stuck in the sticky "child safe" mouse trap behind the couch.

A one year old ups the difficulty rating of any task no matter how small. But I am a mama and even though no one put any warning labels on the cute packaging, I understand that this is just the way it goes now. If I want to run, work, read the paper, clean the bathroom, shop for groceries, or even just go to the bathroom, I have to work my schedule, as well as my multi-tasking skills.

So, my cousin walks in the door to my Mom's birthday party.
He says to my Dad: "Wow, you look great!"
He says to my brother: "Wow, obviously you are keeping fit out there in California!"
He says to my other brother: "Are you tanning up there in New York? You look so young!"
He says to me: "Hi!"
So I say to him: "Hey! What about me? Don't I look good too?"
His response? "Oh, you're just a mom."

Ah moms. We do. We go. We make it happen. But at the end of the day all we are are moms. Just moms. Even now with doctor moms, running moms, corporate fancy-pants moms, thong-wearing moms. It doesn't matter. A mom is still "just a mom."

At least we have progressed beyond the mom jeans.

It's annoying, society's? media's? everyone's? idea of a mom. This despite my own feelings of strength as a mom. (Also my own feelings of emotional disarray at times, but that's for another blog.)

When G was first born, we would go to Safeway daily, just to get out and feel like we had done something. Everyday in those first months of mamahood, the Safeway loudspeaker would blare a commercial that went something like this: "Want something fresh and tasty to jump start your day? Pears are a good energy boost. They are great for moms and athletes alike."

In my urban hood, the mamas I meet are cool, smart, friendly and not restricted by their identities as moms. They are also really into their kids and totally focused on them while still maintaining their own personalities and interests. Maybe the reason for all the dated and dumb perceptions of moms out there is because mamas today are redefining mamahood, making it mean something broader and therefore something harder for people (like my cousin) to fully understand.

My grl and I like to challenge other runners we come upon on our afternoon runs. If boys hate to be passed by a grl, they REALLY hate to be passed by a mom. When they see that this is a possibility, they will either turn left as we go straight, or they will suddenly feel the need to tie their shoes. This is hugely annoying to us and we feel that these boys have not given us our due. The next time this happens, though, maybe I'll try to make him feel better and scream out to him as he crosses the street away from us:

"Yo! Don't worry about it, man! I'm Just A Mom!"