Sometimes, when I go out alone, I like to pretend that I am young and single. Not to pick up strange men or anything, just kind of like a test. A test to see if the word “mom” is invisibly blazoned on my forehead. A test to see if I could possibly pass for young and unattached. A test, just for fun.
Last May, I got to try it out, on one rare day that I took for myself. I got a pedicure, went to the mall and did some shopping, just for me for a change. As I paid for my purchases, the cashier at the Gap wished me a Happy Mother’s Day. Defeated, I left in a bit of a huff. What about me so obviously spelled mother? Could he see the stretch marks underneath my clothes? Was my muffin top a dead giveaway? My wrinkles? The patch of white hair I sport? What the hell was it?! Mission: failed.
It took until I was back at home for me to realize that I was wearing a hand-painted macaroni and yarn necklace around my neck.
But I don’t give up that easily.
So, last week, I was in New York recording the audio version of my book. Just me, a producer and a hot sound tech in his twenties. Again, the opportunity presented itself to not talk about diarrhea, strep throat or the high cost of preventative orthodontics and I was all over it. You know, to be a woman and not just a mother. I pretended to be Carrie Bradshaw circa 2000, and he pretended to be somewhat interested in my book. I was making progress!
And, then, I had to start reading.
“When I finally grunted Lily out, along did come a little something else, but it wasn’t even a blip on the radar at the moment. Actually, being able to piss and shit openly was oddly liberating. Kind of relaxing, even.”
“Mothers think nothing of using saliva to clean our little ones’ faces or openly smelling their bottoms to determine whether they’ve indeed defecated.”
“My midsection looks like a crime scene, purple spiders crawl up my legs, and my once bouncy hair is an undecided mess between curly and wavy… I don’t even want to think about what my vagina would look like after pushing another kid out…”
I think it’s safe to say I failed that test, too.