I am not a philanthropist, not a CEO, not a socialite. I’m just a suburb mom, and I have some confessions to make. Frankly, I’m a little tired of the pressure put on our families to succeed and surpass. At what, I don’t know. Our city? The world at large? Whatever this lofty goal is, it’s exhausting. And it’s cramping my style. I have a few bones to pick with suburban culture.
1. I don’t think I should feel embarrassed to walk to the bus stop in my pajamas. We all wear them. And our kids go to school early. None of us moms wake up with make-up on and hair done. Just because I’m not magazine-ready at 7 am, that doesn’t mean I won’t be doing anything today. I don’t even have elementary kids anymore, but this still bothers me. Pajama moms, I salute you! My embarrassment has subsided now because I usually drive my kids to school and no one can see my pajama pants or bed hair from outside the car. I will shower, I promise. I just don’t think I need to impress the other moms who are on their way to work already.
I work. Just later. And sometimes in my pajamas.
2. Swim team is not an essential element to summer. There, I said it. My kids play sports all year, so we like to take the summer off. No competitions, no practices, no schedules. Except for swimming lessons when they were little, of course, because it would be a crime if my kids couldn’t swim. I just wish I didn’t feel the need to explain it. Obviously, the pressure is still getting to me because here I am putting it in a blog. My kids didn’t do swim team. Yet another great American tragedy. They didn’t do cotillion, either. Gasp!
3. I like to do my own housework. I do. It’s a confession because the truly successful suburb moms hire out all their housework. Lawn guy, handyman, dry cleaning, maid service, day care, spa, hair salon, dog groomer, pool guy, nanny, take-out. But not me. I iron. I cook. I dust. I weed. Don’t get me wrong–sometimes I resent it. But mostly, I just resent feeling feeling provincial because I do it. I actually like laundry. You wash it, dry it, fold it, ta-da! Something got accomplished today. Something that can’t be compared to someone else, that will never be discussed because it’s too insignificant.
4. I’m a soccer mom, but I’m not a soccer mom. (You know the difference if your kid plays soccer!) I don’t like soccer moms and dads. They are birthed sometime after their kids stop chasing butterflies on the field and before their children actually become skilled. Soccer parents’ behavior gets incrementally worse until their little soccer stars become older teenagers and threaten them into silence. But until that time, moms and dads are screaming at refs and calling fouls they don’t understand. And their kids are learning that life should always treat them fairly and that performing is critical in their relationship to their parents. Hence, the next thing I have to confess.
5. I am so over the competitive spirit of the suburbs. It’s akin to Olympic fever. It amasses intense training, strategy, and celebration, all with a sense of family patriotism and urgency to win now because we might not get another chance. Kids are placed on course to achieve, plain and simple. The future seems to hang in the balance over every event–school, music, sports, manners. Parents pick the kind of college they want their kids to attend, and they plan backwards, all the way into preschool. Every kid must have a sport, an art, a premiere education, a social life, a religious foundation, and a host of extra-curriculars like Boy Scouts, community service, and foreign travel. It’s all good stuff. I’m not arguing that. But unlike the rest of the world, we believe that all of it is essential. And to provide such illustrious opportunities, both father and mother must work themselves to death.
No idea, other than move to a farm and try non-schooling. But that would really stress me out. And I draw the line at growing my own food. That’s at least one reason I am a suburb mom.