Sunday, February 10, 2008


Remember that tune we used to sing before making a wish and blowing the heck out of the wispy remains of a dandelion? Little did I know then how true was that childhood ditty. That later in life, when I dropped 8 lbs of baby out of my virtually virtuous vag, my brains were going to fall out behind it. I think it's the doctors' dirty little secret. During our moments of exhausted bliss, they overtly trash the placenta and quickly stash the brains selling them later on the black market.

Brains of a 29 year old Ivy League educated mom, former Wall Street banker: $50k.
Brains of a 35 year old college educated, vp of large publishing corporation: $35k.
Brains of high-school dropout, crack addict: $$$??? Maybe not, but you get the idea.

If the doctors told us about this unfortunate side effect of having a baby, they'd have no business birthin' babies, and god knows with the state of health insurance as it is, they need something on the side to make ends meet.

I remember when I was in my late 20's, on my way to a promising television career, I worked with another woman about ten years older and ten years ahead of me on the corporate teeter-totter ladder. Despite the fact that I liked this woman very much, I couldn't help privately judging how often she was late for morning meetings, how often she was battling a cold, and how often she was missing something, whether it be her notes, a pen, or her coffee. Her reliable, young assistant ran in with consistency and efficiency to save the day. This woman shared stories with me about her days before she had kids, when she was a crackerjack executive. How almost overnight she became the woman who drove off from the local Starbucks with her steaming coffee cup, or her wallet, still on the roof of her car. How some days she'd manage to get the baby safe and sound in it's car seat but would drive off with the trunk open and the stroller left behind in the parking lot. I laughed with her but my mind was full of pity. Surely, her fate was not my own.

I prided myself on my organizational perfection. What I feared I was lacking in creativity, I made up for with efficiency and intelligence. I was always well-studied, well-stocked, and on time. Having a baby would not change that.

Cut to over a decade later, this past Saturday, as I'm rushing to deliver bagels to the open house for my daughter's middle school. I've already spent the last ten minutes on the freeway checking my trip computer and biting my lips as I wonder if I'll make it to school before my gas tank hits empty. 5 gallons, 4, 3, 2.... Thankfully, the parking gods find me a spot because I'm not sure I have enough gas to go around the block again. I carry the big "nosh box" of bagels and accouterments into the school. I set it up next to the assorted Krispy Kremes and banana breads and head to the office to fill out a form. As I'm leaving, I reach into my purse for my car keys and, you guessed it, empty. No matter how many times I check that same pocket, where they should be, where they always are, nothing. I check the counter where I had been standing. The refreshment table where I lay the bagels. I look up, I look down, I look all around. I return to the street and look through my car window to the ignition. I even step to the driver's side and look on the ground near the tire (having once lost my diamond necklace and finding it an hour later in that very spot). No luck, but I did almost get sideswiped by a city bus! I walk back to the school and by this point people are staring at me. I imagine they, the frequent volunteer moms, are thinking, "Who is this bitch? She drops off a few bagels and thinks she owns the place!" I sheepishly make my rounds again, even patting the top of my head and inside my blouse, as if I were looking for the sunglasses that were there all the time. I go inside the school for the third time, hopelessly checking the same places I'd checked before, and suddenly an office worker familiar with my comings and goings says,

"They're right behind you!"

I spin around like a dog after it's own tail but see nothing.

"Right behind you," she repeats. "In your pants."

And just like that, with my palm resting on my keys, I suddenly remember how I earlier wedged them inside the waistband of my sweats. I make some self-deprecating, mildly funny attempt to save face and take off.

So yeah, now I understand that working mom and I pity us both.

Mama had a baby and her head popped off. Poof!!


Manic Mommy said...

That is the most perfect metaphor I've ever heard! So funny because it's so true.

People in our office used to add cute little inspirational quotes to their signature on emails. As a joke, I added one to mine: "Of course I don't look busy; I did it right the first time."

Cocky foreshadowing or irony. You be the judge.

InTheFastLane said...

Yes! And I don't think men have this problem. Is it because they just refuse to multi-task at all so there isn't a problem remembering everything?

MAC said...

Can completely relate. I vow every day to make a more conscious effort to fix the problem so that I won't have to stand there fishing around in my bag hopelessly while my kids stand there wondering what's wrong with me. Next time, I'll tell them it's all there fault!

mah-meeee said...

oh i totally understand! since my first one i have had my 'airhead' moments, but now since the second one came along, i feel that i have completely lost my mind. i'm constantly misplacing or forgetting things. i used to be a 'monica' from friends!

* thanks for your comment on my blog. when i have time, i typically write on this one more ...

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