Cinderella Wears Toms

So I went out Saturday night–finally. Sans the husband, sans the kids. Like any devout mommy martyr, it had been over a year since any kind of real furlough from maternal and domestic captivity.  I was meeting up with a small group of gal pals who knew me when…specifically when I didn’t have to wrestle my stomach into a polyester boa constrictor marketed passive aggressively as Spanx. When I used to be able to dance for hours while towering confidently in 5-inch heels.  Despite the frenzied hour before involving the routine washing of kids, feeding of kids, the lulling to sleep of kids…and then that mad dash to conceal excess midsection skin and my neck (Oh, dearly departed Norah E. no one has ever written more truer words re: the middle-aged female neck) in forgiving tops and blouses, the serious heave ho collarbone lift of my farm- grade udders (all the while utilizing the miracle technology of spandex and underwire) and lastly, the pre-op transsexual inspired shellacking of a severely sleep deprived “maturing” face…despite all those exhausting challenges, I finally made it out.  And then what?  I find these single sojourns from my maternal doldrums rather anti-climatic.  Yes, there’s the thrill of freedom…no tiny people pulling at your food crusted clothing or little mantra choruses of “why, why, why…”  If I’m going to be absolutely honest (and I almost always am…unless when asked  to put my weight down on paper) there’s also the primitive perk of physical validation outside of the marital ho-hum. Calm down in-laws, this post isn’t sponsored by Ashley Madison.  By physical validation, I specifically mean the perceived belief that others who are not legally bound (or tethered by shared parenting responsibility) to and with you might find you physically appealing.  And, yes, my husband will occasionally confirm I am still (despite all the above) attractive but somehow it just carries more weight coming from a stranger’s approving glance than from distracted side-eye thrown at me during half-time or a peeved peering out from the top of my husband’s ipad.  Call it vanity or–more intellectually stated–validation through biological imperative, every middle-aged and (almost middle-aged) woman wants to revel a wee bit in the fact that they still have (or are holding on to by the skin of their whitened teeth) the reassuring IT.   Though most worthwhile of all, and what–at least for me–most earnestly drives the urge to get out, is the female camaraderie.  The laughs, the commiserating, the entertaining distractions from the day to day.  Simply being around those familiar faces that know the funny, the playful, the irreverent you– minus the kids and the pretenses of marriage and routine.  But still these good times are fleeting.  After a few drinks, the coveted uninterrupted good meal and some serious laughs, I can’t help but to begin to feel like an interloper.   When–back at home–my babes slumber peacefully in their beds and my husband is left snoring on the couch (with unwatched DVRed Homeland humming away in the background), who am I really but a time traveler into my old life? Back out at the “it” venue, I painfully lean into merciful furniture and silently obsess neurotically about whether I’ll be able to easily find a cab or have to resort to hobbling blocks on my raw stubs held up by throbbing and weak tibias, I know the night is soon coming to a fast close.  I’m kind of like Cinderella in reverse…I get to go back to the happy ending: which so happens to embrace the monotony of captivity and ultimately finds great fulfillment in hard and unappreciated labor…oh and the joy of sensible shoes…the Toms are definitely a more practical slipper.

 

About the Author

Mommy despot, marital dictator and dinner demagogue who--in reality--perpetually finds herself a tousled hair away from the inmates storming the Asylum. Territory? New York City, where she precariously navigates urban parenting as the aspirational wonder mom to 2 beautiful girls and mediocre wife to 1 patient husband.

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