So we did our annual trip to the hometown or what I like to call Baby Tour 2010. Once a year we go back to the Bay Area and parade our child around for all of our relatives to gawk at and spoil. They also get to see how fat I’ve gotten and watch my mothering techniques and ask me how teaching is going–even though I haven’t taught for over five years now. Ah, family.
It’s funny how your history holds you captive. Whatever I was at age 15 is what I will always be to my family; academic, well-behaved, wordy, an independent woman. My husband is always going to be what he was at 21 when he first met my family; a film student and a brainiac. These are not bad, I know. There are worse things to be labeled as, but the truth is these are stale versions of a former self. As we all know, I am no longer articulate, and I am especially not well-behaved.
Still, now that I have a two-year-old and not a baby that I can totally control, I found myself a slave to the pressures of perfect parenting, praying that my kid would be the well-behaved one and kiss all the old people on command. I crossed my fingers that there would be no tantrums for fear of being labeled as having no control or over-spoiling. I know how my family talks about people when they aren’t there and I didn’t want to give them material for fodder. I wanted Sofia to choose Angel, not Demon, because I know she would never be able to change out of it again.
Sofia followed suit, upholding my pristine reputation as the “good” “smart” “articulate” one by showing she inherited those traits as well. Of course she is even better because she is still little and innocent and cuddly and easily excited by things like drinking apple juice from a wine glass or yogurt covered raisins. She did her job, and I sort of hated it.
Let me be clear, my kid behaved in front of others on our trip. She is not a perfect saint all the time. In fact, lately she’s started up with screaming, at the top of her lungs, especially in the car. It completely makes me lose my shit and she knows it.
But, if there is ever a time to have an excuse to misbehave, it is when you are a child. And, what does it matter if I get labeled as a bad mother? And, why don’t these conversations revolve around “bad” fathers too? I suppose this all goes back to Vagism, but the inner teenager in me says “you have no idea who I am or what I am about, so you can’t judge me.”
And yet I let them sometimes. Sigh. Eleanor Roosevelt would be disappointed (“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Which, does anyone watch the Bachelorette–she totally used this quote and it made me like it way less…Ugh.)
I sound far more depressed about this than I am. It was just a phenomenon that I noticed, a little moment of inner turmoil that is another day in modern mom life.
On a brighter side I got to see all the special things about my Grandma’s and Nana’s and friends that make me love them so much. It is nice to watch their interactions with Sofia and her responses to them. It is amazing and terrifying to watch my little girl play with my high school friend’s little girl and think that they may get into some of the adventures we did.
I noticed age a lot more on this visit: how old my grandparents and parents are getting, how I am no longer part of the young crowd that gets invited to the clubs or bars with the cousins, and how my friends and I talk about our kids, careers and healthcare when we hang out now. I was worried about not hitting the gym at all that week and feeling the creaks in my bones.
I guess I am dying. Okay not really. It just seemed like the next logical thing to say, and technically every second we are all dying a little bit. I didn’t think I was depressed until I wrote this posting. Sorry to ruin your week. Jesus.
My life isn’t so terrible. As I blog my feet are being massaged by my Homedics foot warming massager, so all in all, it’s not so bad.