Thursday, December 17, 2009

Specal Guest Writer: You've Been Ma'amed

Our family lives near the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. It is the site of history, achievement, and tradition. It is also the site of of one of the most horrifying moments of my adult life. I got "Ma'amed".  And not in the respectful, midshipman on his best behavior way. I mean in the "You're surrounded by children, hauling a stroller the size of a Jetta, and your hair is a mess. You kinda remind me of my mom," way.
Once upon a time, years ago when I was single, I used to go to the Naval Academy to watch the Navy Rowing Team race. I rowed in college. That's right, at one point I was an NCAA Division I Athlete. Now I'm tired by 10 a.m. [Editorial Comment: I used to be gorgeous. This morning I woke up looking like Jabba the Hut. - Lydia]

But I my girlfriends and I (this was pre-married life) would head to Annapolis to watch boats of eight muscle bound men row. Really we were there to flirt with the Cadets. Now, I'm not Kate. She's Marisa Miller gorgeous. [Editor's Note: No, I'm not. - Kate ][Editor's Note: Who's that? - Kate] But in my day, I could turn a few heads. I once had a Cadet walk into a bench because he was looking at me. I totally had that bench bronzed.

But that was then.The last time I went to the Academy was a year ago, when my sons and I took a friend who was visiting from California. I was trying to get the toddler to finish his juice without getting half of it on me, and chasing down the five year old who was determined to scale a stately monument. A young cadet walked by, nodded his head, and said "Ma'am."

It wasn't so much the ma'am as it was the look in his eye. Gone was the "Huh, wonder if she's wearing black lace under that", to be replaced with "I'm really homesick. I miss my little sister and the jam my mom makes." Ugh.

Motherhood is a wonderful thing. But sometimes, it's not so wonderful on the ego. And it isn't getting older that does it. The internet says Jennifer Anniston and Diane Lane are both older than I am, but I think the internet is broken. It's the mommy thing. I'm convinced that after you have spent nights trying to rock the baby back to sleep, and being covered in Elmer's Glue, that you have obtain a magical mommy aura. You give off some sort of vibe that says to men "I'd love to do your laundry", not "I'd love to do you".

Here's the fact. When you're a mommy, you're usually the last on the list. The kids will have their hair brushed, yours has their gum in it from when they crawled into your bed last night and slept on your hair. The husband's suit may be cleaned and pressed; you're in his old college sweats that have a week-old, semi masticated piece of Halloween candy on your ass. The dinner is nutritious and on the table at 6, and you look like Lindsay Lohan's mother after an all-nighter.

You are well aware of your state, but you're just not willing to get up at 4 am and put in the work that is required to look fabulous. And why would you? By the time you fix breakfast, wrestle the 6 year old into his coat, buckle everyone into the car and drive away, you're sweating like pork in plastic. Maintaining a fresh face and perfect hair all day is a bit like putting duct tape on the Titanic. Unlike Kate Winslet, you unfortunately don't have 14 people following you around whose only reason for existing is to make you look amazing.

Which leads me to a small side InStyle, People, and UsWeekly magazines who insist on telling us how Heidi Klum lost her baby weight in only 3 weeks, please shove the F off. I know how she did it. She has 4 nannies, 6 maids, a personal chef, a personal trainer, a home gym, and money to burn. The rest of us don't, so quit trying to make us feel like failures because our jeans stayed in the back of our closets, mocking us, until our KID got old enough to rifle through said closet, discover said jeans, declare them "vintage" and stroll out of the house in them. And looking better than I ever did where's the scotch?

(Editorial comment: Let me now share the truly horrifying story of why I can never return to Target. Last year they began selling wine at my Target. And every time I bought wine there, I got carded. It was bliss. I tossed my hair. I smirked. I made sure everyone within three aisles knew what was happening. Because obviously, I look really good for my age. I may have been wearing the Captain's old sweatshirt and the ubiquitous yoga pants, but obviously I MUST look like I'm in my twenties. But no. Settle down, Old One. Turns out, with every purchase of alcohol, cashiers are required to scan your driver's license. Even if you're 80. Do you have any idea what my face looked like when I was forced to go from gloating to humiliated in five seconds? Especially when the blow was casually delivered by an 18 year old, pimply cashier who has no idea of what he's just done to my ego. Or just how hard my husband was going to laugh at me. Where's the corkscrew!? - Lydia)

Still, on those rare occasions when you get to escape the home and go out to dinner with your husband, or meet the girls for drinks, you do your best to hide those dark under eye circles, put on something clean, fashionable and ever-so-slightly cleavage-y, and declare that, while you might not look like Carrie Bradshaw, you definitely don't look like Carrie. You're a mommy, you're not dead.

At least right up until the moment the bartender skips past you as he's checking IDs. And the 27-year old manager stops by your table and says "Moms Night Out, ladies?" And you (ok ME) bat your eyelashes and say "oh, what makes you think we're moms?" And he smiles at you, glances around the table, comes back to you and says "just a hunch" and you know he's thinking "you've got green paint in your hair, your earrings don't match, you obviously leaned up against a kid art project because there are stickers on your back, your boobs alone prove the laws of gravity -- who needs Newton? -- and you're drinking an Old Fashioned for crying out loud. We had to look up how to make that drink."

But if there's an upside, it's this: moms may go out into the world looking like unmitigated hell, but every once in a while, dad goes out with the young progeny and some perky 22-year old Swedish exchange student -- who doesn't know about Newton, therefore happily and obliviously defying all his laws -- at the grocery store says "Oh, zey are such leipshuns. You have many grandchildren?"

My jeans may be vintage, but, apparently, so is my husband. As for Newton, he may have gravity on his side, but I have Victoria's Secret on mine.

How 'bout them apples?

We saucily tip our hats and say a respectful "Ma'am" to our gorgeous and brilliant Special Guest Writer!
xo, Lydia and Kate


  1. Loved this and I can relate! Thanks for the laugh!

    Karin Six
    San Diego

  2. I can relate to this! I had a baby, ok 7 months ago, right after I had her I fit right back into all my pre, pre-baby clothes, I had to have my mother go home and get me some clothes before we could even leave the hospital because my maternity clothes were literally falling off of me! I went down two pants sizes and drop two shirt sizes I was EXCITED! People couldn't believe I had just had a baby, well that world went to hell in a handbasket real quick! Now I am starting to gain all my baby weight back and then some, I have almost completely stopped wearing make up and doing my hair, I could give two shits less that I have baby squash on my jeans from last night or spit up on my shirt, I was always like if I have kids I am not going to be one of "those" moms, well guess what I am one of "those" moms, but every once in awhile I bring out the big guns for the hubby! I do my hair and my makeup and put on something nice and we go to dinner, but usually by the end of the night my favorite blouse has spit up on it, welcome to motherhood!




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