Saturday, March 12, 2011

You can dress the mama up...

but can you really take her out of the house?

Yesterday, I had the occasion to go out.   Yes.  That's right.  Leave my house. (I know, right?!)  In fancy clothes (scrounged from the back of the closet from pre-pregnancy clothes, which miraculously fit again just for said outing.)  To hang out with other grown-ups, most of whom I did not know.   And none of whom were stay-at-home parents like me, which throws in a bit of an extra kink.  (All of whom turned out to be very lovely, in case you were wondering...). 

Now for those that know me, or have followed this blog for a bit, you'll probably know that: 1. this happens rarely,  2. I tend start out under the assumption that people don't like me/won't like me, and thus such outings scare the living crap out of me, and 3.  Hanging with grown-ups who have grown-up, responsible-citizen-kinda paid jobs adds an extra bit of anxiety in there, because I'm more like a broke-ass-three-pairs-of-jeans-owning-wasting-my-potential-angst-carrying girl who'd someday like to be a grown-up responsible kinda citizen again. You know, with pretty clothes and a job to pay for them.  (Or at least not having to check off the 'I'm a dependant' box on the old tax return.  Because that's great for the self-esteem, let me tell ya). 

Leave the house, wishing desparately I wasn't driving and could have a glass of wine to relax.  I gave myself a pep-talk all the way there.  Yes, something along the lines of, "you are good enough, you are smart enough, you are cute enough, and gosh darn it..."  I listened to P!nk's "F*cking Perfect," and tried to believe it.  I got there.  I did not drive away.  I took a deep breathe (okay, maybe several).  And then I dove in.  And I survived it.  I might have actually even had fun, but don't tell anyone.  We wouldn't want people to think I've become a social creature ;)

But here's the thing, fun or no fun:  I struggled mightily to find other things to talk about than my kids. This is difficult.  My kids are my kids.  And my kids are my job.  And I log a lot of hours at my job.  It doesn't leave me with a lot of time (moreover a lot of energy) to do other things that I might talk about, like read interesting books or take classes or whatever the heck else interesting people talk about.  What do other people talk about?   And am I even remotely interesting anymore?

I also found myself wrestling with the innocuous"and what do you do?" like it was a hungry-assed alligator.  Sometimes I felt like the gator was winning.  Sometimes I had a slippery hold on the upper hand.  Because despite all my I'm a queer-feminist-housefrau bravado, those little voices are always present in my head, whispering: you're just a housewife*you're just a housewife*you're just a housewife*.  I can intellectualize the importance of the work, I can know the importance of this work in my heart and feel it in my fingertips and in my bones... but that knowledge doesn't always do much to quiet the whispers.   And sometimes the whispers are louder than others. 

So there it is, I guess.  You can dress this mama up.  (And boy did I realize how much I miss my inner - and outer - pretty grrrl). 

You can take this mama out.  (I'll panic - but apparently - I can panic and have a good time simultaneously). 

But this identity business.  Whooo boy.  (I wish here that I knew how to type a long, low whistle). 

It's some tricky, tricky shit.

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