Parents are always in a three-way. What I did. What I should have done. What I will do next time. It’s the trickiest game of seduction. Imagine walking up to yourself at a bar. “Hey, hot stuff. Do you like kids?”
In every moment, with every decision, there are the three versions of myself I’m trying to please, appease or ignore. The perfectionist, the nihilist and the wine swilling, Spanx wearing woman wondering if she can make her grandfather’s sweater vest relevant by belting it.
Lucky for me, I’m lazy and refuse to harp too much on pleasing all three of myself. I have enough trouble unhooking my own bra, thankyouverymuch. I guess I’m just old-fashioned. Sorry ladies of me, two of you are just going to have to wait your turn.
The Perfectionist: One word? Annoying. Always signing up for school committees and buying themed cupcake wrappers. Who ARE you? As we inch ever closer to holiday-palooza, she likes to pretend she’s in charge. She starts looking at Pinterest with actual intent instead of malice. She thinks about monogramming stockings and buying pants that fit. She tries to find local gardening courses in preparation for Spring. She buys yards of fabric to make Muumuus for my inevitable life flight rescue out of our partially removed roof after having eaten my way through every holiday shape of peanut butter cup. I love her. I hate her. I want her to knock me into a coma until she’s ready to relinquish the reins in mid-January. I do dig her love of jet black liquid eyeliner. I hear that look is timeless.
The Nihilist: Always ready for everything to go to hell in a hand basket. This chick has issues. I don’t pretend to understand her schedule and I never know when to expect her. I’d make cookies to ease her transition, but, I already ate all of them and she doesn’t give a shit about cookies, or bathing regularly or Tyrannosaurus expired RX under the bathroom sink. She’s not lazy; she just assumes she’s going to mess it up, so, why do it at all. Certain failure is her game and she’s constantly in check-mate. The kids dig her because it means lots of chicken nuggets, chaos, television and white flag waving when the family-size box of fruit snacks come out because, 1) There IS carrot juice in them and 2) She’s busy wondering just how much therapy the children are going to require. The upside is that she’s kind of arty, writes poetry and reminds me that failure isn’t as chronic as how often I seem to run out of wine.
The Wine Swilling Spanxonista: If you dug Mary Poppins’ measuring tape out of her bag to see how this version of me measures up, it would say: Practically Mediocre in EVERY Way! She makes rarely to nearly palatable food, seldomish forgets an appointment and makes every effort to not drink before 5:00 p.m. She showers, semi-frequently, and will throw on mascara in order to stop the screaming of toddlers and the tears of childless 20-somethings upon seeing her face. She cares about looking presentable, but, in an approachable, “I’ll wear a knee length, maternity tank to elongate my non-existent post-partum waistline!”, and not in the, “I wear yoga pants because I actually do yoga.” way. She flirts with her husband and then pisses him off by falling asleep mid-sentence every night. She’s a real piece of work in the entirely unemployable way. Thankfully, she doesn’t take herself too seriously because that would be a waste of time…and seriousness. At the end of the day, she’s perfectly comfortable in the flannel pants she possibly or certainly wore all day, but, she owns it just like she owns every Disney movie ever made on VHS because, “Tape is a lost art!”. Listen, she’s a little weird, but, it’s not contagious although there has been voiced concern about exactly how much 50% of DNA contributes to offspring personality.
It’s exciting to see who is going to show up for which life-changing and highly important event in my children’s lives. These saucy three-way Madames don’t seem to play by any rules, but, that’s alright because rules are meant to be broken, or avoided, or not even bothered with at all. And, hey, therapy is expensive so why not just dig your heels in the crazy and see which cliff it drops you off of . I think that is a direct Dr. Phil quote (No, it’s not.).
Perfectionist: “If you’ll excuse me, I have a mini-brownies with strawberry Santa hats recipe that requires pasting into my Holidays Forever book!”
Nihilist: “Are you fucking kidding me?” *Rolls eyes*
Spanxonista: “Did somebody say brownies?”