A few months after Seconda was born, when Primo was about two and a half, we took a road trip, and during this road trip, we pulled over to eat the sandwiches I’d packed at a New Jersey rest stop. I don’t always have the foresight or energy to pack sandwiches and often we just drive and drive with whining children and rumbling stomachs, looking for someplace that isn’t McDonald’s, finding nothing and finally stopping at McDonald’s, over-hungry and a somewhat guilty. But on this occasion, I had packed sandwiches and it was a beautiful day so we ate outside. I was playing with the kids, tickling them or pretending to eat them or something and I noticed a mom nearby with her baby, watching us. Not in a creepy way. In an admiring way.
Then the mom talked to me.
“You’re such a great mom,” she said. “You’re so fun.”
I didn’t want to mislead the lady so I quickly disabused her of the notion that I was always this great. I told her that the kids drive me nuts and I don’t feel so “fun” when I’m yelling at them like a harpie. Then we talked about her baby and exchanged mom notes and went back in our cars to reach our separate destinations.
I’m not the sort of person that gets frequently admired – like an astronaut, or a doctor or a mother of triplets – so her compliment made quite an impression on me. I’ll admit it, I treasured it. I milked it, too, reminding David every five minutes in that car ride that I was a “great mom” and wasn’t he lucky to have landed someone as “fun” as me, someone so fun, in fact, a perfect stranger could not help but comment on it. It still gives me a little buzz to recall. Our job is so thankless in so many ways, so much self-sacrifice is involved, and all you typically get from strangers is reprimands, head-shakes, tsk tsks and other despicable gestures of judgment with the clear message,
I was thinking of this Rest Stop Good Samaritan this week because it occurred to me that while I couldn’t be a SuperMom, there are certainly moments or things I do that make me feel like a SuperMom. Short-cuts, of you will. Little things with big payoff. It’s similar to my strategy for looking hot. There is just no damn way right now that I can go to the gym, I’ve tried and I just can’t make it work. But if I put on a really great dress that’s cut just right, well, I won’t be any thinner but I’ll look thinner and feel hotter. Illusion it may be but hey, there’s nothing wrong with that.
So in the spirit of magic tricks, I offer you –
Tip No. 1 for Feeling Like a SuperMom
Let your kid costume you for Halloween.
That’s right, tomorrow, for the first time in years, I’m wearing a costume. It wasn’t my idea. Primo planned our family costume last March, when his spook obsession first developed. I thought he’d forget about it by Halloween by as capricious as kids are, they have some ideas with staying power. So this year, David will be Frankenstein and I will be, who else? His bride. I bought the wig which seriously is so tall that I can hardly keep my head straight. And today I am going to spend much too much time scrounging around for some facsimile of a bridal dress in my closet. For a minute I thought about wearing my actual wedding dress but then the reason I was born returned to me. So, I’m dressing up tomorrow and it better make me feel like a SuperMom, to combat the searing embarrassment.
Now, that I think about it, I should re-title this tip: Tip No. 1 for Me to Feel A Little Less Lonely in my Douchiness.