Tag Archives: motherhood

For The First Time In Forever, I Went Shopping By Myself

If time travel is ever possible, this post will explain to my younger, childless self, why today was such a big deal that I would put it in my top ten (maybe top twenty) best days of my life.

It started when my boss texted me to tell me that the snowy roads were messy and I could stay home today. She knows that I am anxious about driving on icy roads. I admire my friends who work in health care and have no choice but to drive in terrible weather. Since I do not save lives for a living, I don’t see a point in risking my own. I chose to take her word for it that the town where I work was worse than where I live.

I had already dropped my daughter off at my parent’s house for the day. I was already on my way. I posed the following question to a mom’s group on Facebook:

So I was heading to work and my boss texted that roads are messy and I can stay home. I already dropped my girl off at my parent’s. Would you a) just go to work, b) go home and do productive things around the house, c) pick up kiddo for (ANOTHER) snow day, d) go to the movies. 

The ladies did not disappoint with their answers. A chorus of B and D answers encouraged me to enjoy the day to myself. Boy, did I ever. I’m not really a shopper anymore, but for the last few months, I’ve carried a list of things to buy if I happen to see them while I am out. I needed a ticket stub journal, desk organizing things, pot holders. Super sexy stuff.

First, I went to Target. I needed to buy nighttime diapers. Exciting! While there, I discovered so many things that I never see when I am shopping with my two-year old. I have had a couple of Target gift cards for more than a year. This is absurd. I am at Target all.of.the.time. I usually race through the store in hopes of finding what I need, while crossing my fingers that my girl doesn’t notice every crappy toy with a Frozen sticker slapped on it. Today, I took my time. I was so excited to mindlessly shop, that I was *smiling* at strangers. I found my desk organizing things, a new book, a cute new wallet, pot holders, a place to store my ticket stubs, and diapers. But… I forgot to pay for the diapers. As I loaded my car, I noticed the box of diapers on the bottom of my shopping cart that I forgot to mention to the cashier. I put it in my car. I’m not going to lie. I thought about driving away, but I have this annoying habit of always doing the right thing. I walked back in to the store, told the customer service guy what happened, and paid for the diapers. He gave me 20% off for being so honest. What?! They were already on sale. We’re talking a few bucks here, but it felt better to save a few dollars instead of stealing several more.

Lunch time. I live in the suburbs and since I wasn’t sure about the roads, I wanted to stay local. I was about to go to Chipotle for lunch when I realized, I do not have my husband or child with me. For the first time in forever, (damn it, Frozen,) I can go wherever I want! I went to a pho restaurant because I was blissfully alone. I wouldn’t dream of taking my kid to a joint that doesn’t serve crayons as an appetizer, and my husband wouldn’t dream of trying something on this fantastic menu.

What do you think when you see someone dining alone? Are you sad for them? Aw, poor lady has no friends. Or, aw, poor guy is lonely. Dude. Stop. Eating alone is magnificent. I feel the same way about traveling alone. I think it’s because I like myself. I’m also reaping the wonderful reward that comes with aging: not giving a **** what people think. 15 years ago, I would probably just go without lunch before sitting in a restaurant alone. Today? I proudly requested my table for one. I enjoyed consuming pho along with the words of Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken.
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I love my friends and family, but sometimes it is a joy to silently take in the noise of restaurant patrons chattering away without the pressure of having to converse.

My next stop was Macy’s. I had a couple of gift cards to spend there and I have been wanting a new, structured tote to replace the slouchy, impractical bag that I have been carrying for far too long. Without paying a cent of my own money, I left Macy’s with a bag that was on sale for $200 less than the original price. I am not a shopper, but this was kind of thrilling.

New Bag - Macy's Ladybug Wallet - Target Yay, gift cards!

New Bag – Macy’s
Ladybug Wallet – Target
Yay, gift cards!

At this point, I’m looking for the piano that is going to fall on my head.

After leaving the mall, I went to Home Goods, knowing that they carry the kid’s gardening tools that I wanted to buy for my daughter’s Easter gift. I used my remaining Christmas money to purchase that gift and a few fun things for myself. As I paid for my things, another customer told the cashier why her credit card didn’t work. He nodded. She walked away. He told me that she yelled at him and my maternal instincts kicked in. I told him that working retail is really hard and people are unreasonable sometimes. I told him that the only thing he could do was just continue to be kind and hope that kindness spreads. I have a day off filled with consumerism and now I think I’m the Dalai Lama.

My last stop before returning to reality? Home. I unwrapped my purchases and got to work. I organized the junk drawer in the kitchen, organized my desk, and then I assembled my daughter’s Easter basket and hid it in my closet. I kind of listened to the Parks and Rec cast on my DVR’d episode of Late Night With Seth Meyers while chopping veggies for dinner. Finally, I went back to my parent’s house to pick up my girl. I spent my day shopping, organizing, and enjoying an unencumbered existence. I could actually hear my inner voice thanking me for nourishing my own needs.

Thanks to the women who encouraged me to enjoy my break today, I now have the following organized spaces to enjoy:

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The junk drawer becomes the organized drawer of miscellaneous things.

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Ticket stubs and guitar picks. Swoon.

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Everything has a home. My wonderful husband is cool with a framed pic of me and my favorite rock star on my desk.

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A home for three of my favorite people. Hubby, Tori Amos, Baby

 

And my Easter shopping is done! Instead of a basket, I purchased a pretty storage basket that we will keep in her playroom for toys. No waste!

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Gardening tools, watering can, The Velveteen Rabbit, and bubbles.

There you have it, time traveling me. Being a mom is hard. Really hard. It’s so hard that finding time to buy bubbles for your two-year old’s Easter basket is actually tricky. Doing ANYTHING alone is huge when you’re parenting a toddler. Now, show me how to visit 1995, please.

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This Mom Went To A Rock Show And Went Weeeeeee All The Way Home.

Last night, I hung up my mom hat and let down my rock and roll hair. I went to the 9:30 Club in DC to see the band The Wild Feathers with my friends Sheila and Melissa. Going to this show was in the stars. Melissa casually brought up the show in a FB message last week, saying that she was thinking of going to this show. I asked if tickets were still available. While she found out about the ticket situation, I found a just-in-case babysitter and Sheila confirmed that she was free. Because the music gods are kind and generous, tickets were available, we were all able to go, and the cherry on top? We discovered that the show was super early. Doors were at 5 o’clock! This meant that we would have time to get to the venue, have drinks in the cavernous basement bar of 9:30 and actually hear each other talk, see a fantastic rock show, and best of all… be home and asleep by 11 o’clock. Yes, I am old and the mother of a toddler. Sleep is everything. (I recently said Dave Grohl is everything. I guess sleeping with Dave Grohl would really be everything? I’m certain he would think so, but enormous ego be damned, I still love him.)

So, this band was really great. Melissa, Sheila and I love to share music with each other. The Wild Feathers album magically appeared in my mail box one day after Melissa discovered them. Sheila was lucky enough to see them a few months back, opening for another band that she loves. Their harmonies are just beautiful on the album, and their performance was lively and tight. I’m a little embarrassed by the tweet that I wrote during the show, enchanted by the new song that they played.

My idiotic tweet: Songwriters make my heart hurt, even in the happiest time of my life. Are you ****ing  kidding me with these new lyrics, @TheWildFeathers?

The Wild Feathers retweeted this, but thankfully, they did not ask me which line gutted me so. I don’t remember. It’s not like I was a waste-face, but my alcohol tolerance is not what it used to be. I told my friend on our way home from the show about the exhilaration of being at a concert. I explained that women are constantly thinking of what needs to be done next. Our minds are never still as we worry about all of the things. For me, going to a rock show is bliss. For a couple of hours, I am completely relaxed while exciting and/or beautiful sounds are screaming and/or delicately whispering  in my ears. For a couple of hours, nothing else exists.

Those words escaped my mouth and I felt the icy glare of the judgmental mom who lives inside my brain. Let’s call her Blaire. She’s a real bitch and I try not to believe anything she says. Last night, Blaire was gossiping to other fictional moms about how “Stephanie forgot about her daughter while she was drunk at a rock show on a weeknight!” Listen up, Blaire. First of all, my daughter is two and I don’t have to be at work until noon so weeknights mean nothing. Secondly, this is a batshit and unnecessary argument that I am having with myself. Finally, it is absurd to think that I can’t have a moment of transcendence just because I am a mother now.

Luckily, I came across this blog post by Liz Gragan, written in response to this NY Times article by Heather Havrilesky, both affirming my case against Blaire’s judgment. Havrilesky writes that “The current culture demands that every mother be all in, all the time.” Later she writes, “Somehow, as we’ve learned to treat children as people with desires and rights of their own, we’ve stopped treating ourselves and one another as such.” Gragan’s response is that it doesn’t have to be this way. That it’s perfectly okay to retain your own identity after having children. Actually, I think that Havrilesky is saying the same thing, but she is just noting that it doesn’t seem acceptable to not let motherhood be an all-encompassing role. For me, Blaire’s voice is our culture’s voice screaming that I would have time to be Super Mom if I wasn’t selfishly seeking booze in nightclubs with bands and girlfriends. But… my voice, which is probably more crass than Havrilesky and Gragan’s, but in complete accord with what I think they are saying, says screw that. Like most parents, I want my daughter to grow up to be happy. If I’ve learned anything in my first two years as a parent, it’s that children learn most from modeling our behavior. I want her to be responsible, to do well at work, and be a good mother if she chooses to be one at all. I think I’m doing okay on those counts. Most of all,  I hope that she sees that I strive for balance and harmony, and that I find those things because I recognize that my happiness and well-being are as crucial to nurture as all of the other things on my neverending to-do list.

Here’s a video of Left My Woman by The Wild Feathers. So, the first line is disturbing. Maybe I just don’t get the metaphor? Creepy opening vibe aside, this is the song that was playing when the band let the audience take over the chorus. It is always chilling and awesome to sing in unison with a bunch of other blissful fans.