Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Devolution of Mom

I think I'm slowly devolving. I started out pretty good, but then I had three kids.  And slowly but surely, I came undone.  I grasped the concept of maternal devolution and clung to it.  But then a "helpful" friend of mine, who is a vocabulary nerd, informed me that technically it's impossible for a person to devolve. Mostly because our language is stupid. Because while it makes *total* sense that if we evolve - that is go from primordial ooze through a million iterations until we're people - then we can devolve - which would mean going back toward knuckle dragging. Right? 

Wrong, that's to regress. Which, AGAIN, should be paired up with progress and maybe it is, but 1) apparently devolving really means "to transfer or delegate power to a lower level, especially from central government to local or regional administration" and 2) I'm tired of looking things this up because it makes my over-taxed brain hurt.

So we can't devolve because it has something to do with central government instead of the fact that I used to have nice hair and the ability to walk upright. That makes sense. Can't you just hear the conversation?

Regional Administration: PLEEEEEEASE. I'll be responsible.
Central Government: I don't know. It's a lot to watch over, and I'm not sure you've shown your best judgment lately.
Regional Administration: What?! I've totally taken care of taking out the trash, and school is going well
Central Government: Maybe, but what about your financial issues.
Regional Administration: Well, that's a mess, but you haven't helped in that area. Taxes and all.
Central Government: I think you maybe need a little more time...
Regional Administration: UGH this is so unfair! I knew you would never devolve.
Central Government: Well, I was waiting for you to progress...

[Editor's Note: There was a point to this, Kate? Right? - Lydia]

So, right. I'm devolving. Regressing. WHAT. EVER. And recent events have sped up my regression.  As I mentioned, I've recently worked some overnight shifts and I was also sort of temping at a third part-time job - it's like job dating - and there were about ten jillion things happening in my house and then I got a cold and I sneezed SO HARD that I nearly broke a rib and now have this thing called a contusion and a muscle tear on my rib cage. From sneezing. THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN TO PEOPLE WHO ARE IN THEIR TWENTIES. I was like WTF?! I sneezed and I broke myself? I'm still not used to the fact that right before I sneeze I have to sit down because I know I'm going to pee a little. NOW I have to sit down AND straightjacket myself with my arms? I think next time I'm just going to risk blocking my nose and my mouth and just let one of my eyeballs pop out.

Between the too little sleep, way too many drugs and still recovering from the Not Again-stan Syndrome, I've gone from fancy, Jimmy Choo'ed Kate to...well, how's this? I dropping off at preschool the other morning, and there's this mom there who I'm semi-chatty with (meaning that while we say hellos, I don't really know her name and the most in-depth topic we address is the weather). She gave me the once over and said, "Ummm, what happened to you?"

And just then the Church Preschool Principal walked outside and fell down at the sight of me. And then offered to buy me clogs to liven me up a bit. At one time (for maybe 11 minutes) I was the Modern Day June Cleaver: nice dinners, clean children, fashionable clothing and accessories. AND a job. Never mind the occasional cursing, losing my schmidt and sipping wine, because that happened during commercial breaks.

A step down from June on the devolutionary scale, we have Gwyenth. She's the modern version of "perfect" and there's one way to know this for sure. SHE. TELLS. YOU. SO.  But really, we all know she's not perfect  - she just represents all those people who try really hard to make us think they are and in the process also make us feel inadequate.  I bet June could smack her upside her macro-biotic head with a nice roast beef and possibly fund a small, impoverished nation just by selling whatever hideously overpriced outfit Gwynnie was wearing.  Oh, Juney, while you're at it, put her in one of your pointy bras. We could all use a few giggles.

And then another step down, there's Lois. I actually think this is me most of the time. Substitute the nasal-y Rhode Island accent for a Texas-meets-NewYork disaster of a voice and you nailed it. This mom loves her family, overlooks most of their flaws, isn't afraid to lose her schmidt when it's totally necessary, and has the pure adoration of the family dog. I try to overlook the fact that she slept with Bill Clinton AND Gene Simmons, mostly because she's just a drawing.

And then we have Courtney Love.  Last week, I may have entered this realm of regression devolvement. Minus that (illegal) drugs and the apparent lack of pigmentation, I think I was pretty much a walking disaster. Primarily because I had to endure this conversation:

Me: [crossing the street to go to work, spot colleague] Hey Joan.. 
Joan: [chokes on cigarette] Umm, what the f**k?
Me: [looks down at outfit] I know...I'm doing the overnights. I gave in.
Joan: Kate, there are things we count on in this world. One, the sun will rise in the east. Two, day is followed by night. And Three, that Kate will always be in at least three-inch heels. You're wearing sneakers! Sneakers.
Me: I know. Pretend you didn't see me...please?
Joan: Oh, no. I'm telling everyone.

And being in the news business, she did. I'm still fielding questions. My boss - MY BOSS! - sent me an email that said, "...heard about the sneakers. If you show up tomorrow in Lydia's sweat pants and clogs, I'll have to call the police."

It was just what I needed. I've managed to grab onto my (stiletto) bootstraps and pull myself up out of the near primordial ooze I was headed for. Because at the far end of the devolutionalry scale, we have Britney.  Poor Britney.  There's only so far a Mom can devolve before the world just says, "You know what? That girl is just one frap away from a shaved head a a Family Size Tub o' Cheetos." 

And I was not going to let that happen to me...  So I got to work on it.  Not regressing is hard because that slope is slippery and I was already half-way down it.  But I pulled it together, sort of.  First, I slept. Then I laid out an *awesome* dress and a killer pair of shoes to wear to church. I showered, shaved, exfoliated, body scrubbed, moisturized, make-up'd, hair blown'd out, curled and pomade-d. I had even whitened my teeth and painted my nails. 

All in all, it took about 17 hours to go from the-land-between-Britney-and-Courtney all the way back to June. At least in terms of my appearance. I decided that until I could re-emerge at least looking like myself, I needed help.  I took a chance and I put McGee in charge of her little brothers for the morning.  She relished the power I had delegated to her and did a great job babysitting the boys.

Wait a minute. I delegated power to a lower levelShizzle.  You know what that means, right? Yes. It means I'm devolving. For real, y'all.  Got any Cheetos??

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010


  1. At least you leave a school aged kid in charge. When I need a shower I leave my 26 month old in charge of the 13 month old and the 3 month old. Talk about devolution.

    1. I agree!!! However, at least you are taking showers. i have a sis-in-law who refuses to leave her two year old's side so she can get a shower, so she goes without?!?!? wth?

  2. I hate getting sick! I cracked a rib...from coughing...and I WAS in my 20's! Rib area pain is the worst because you can't breathe or laugh or move! feel better soon!

  3. crap...there's an entire blog dedicated to my inability to maintain myself. this is no good... i will spa night tonight and get up earlier tomorrow to make an attempt to find my june. again. i refer to myself as the chronic downslider.

  4. Wow. That is one boobs-akimbo shirt Britney's wearing there. WTF?

  5. I laughed my ass of at "WTF? I sneezed and broke myself?!" I have managed to pull muscles in my sleep and can we talk about the sheet marks on my face that hang out for HOURS?! I too am devolving. Some days are just like that. Wait to pull yourself up by the Jimmy Choos girl!

  6. Kate, your post speaks to me. I have been in a state of regression for 7 years now. It's worse than sneakers. Worse than clogs. You have not explored the possibility of flip flops, and the visible remains of a 6 month old pedicure.

    I wear Croc flip-flops. The temperature is in the 40's right now, and I will probably wear flip flops when I walk my son into school after his dentist appointment. I will, however, put on a bra. I breastfed three children and my boobs keep my knees warm now.

    Oh dear Lord, I'm ooze, aren't I?

  7. I am so on that slope with you, Kate! I have had days where I pick my daughter up from school in crappy jeans, a baseball hat and flip-flops. Not pretty...especially at 3 in the afternoon. WTF?

    And, since I can now wave the one fingered salute to 40 in my rearview mirror, I feel it only fair to warn you that your body will continue to rebel.

    Coughing too hard can not only break ribs but burst blood vessels in your eyes. Hurts like an MFer and you look like Satan's girlfriend.

    The once safe and cozy confines of bed become the danger zone as hips and backs become stiff and sore from having the audacity to stay in one position too long. This, of course, means walking like an actual knuckle-dragger.

    Sleep with a pillow? Yeah, just wait till your neck decides it hates your pillow and pinches a nerve so you can't move your head. Ever try to drive while having to do a full torso turn to look over your shoulder? Not pretty.

    We are all ooze in the end. That's why God made wine. Cheers girlfriends.

  8. Oh Kate, I'm sorry. A couple of years ago when I was in my twenties, I tore the fibers between my ribs when I was coughing. It sucked. Fast-forward to lat night, when I apparently threw my back out while I was asleep. What the...?? Yeah, it sucks. Unlike you, I have totally given in to the devolving cycle and will be ooze in a matter of weeks.

  9. I see regression as moving backwards from progress you've already made. At which point I was planning on saying, "Since you didn't start out as a knuckle-dragging drooler, you have therefore devolved." But then I remembered my kids. The knuckle-dragging droolers. So maybe regression does fit.

  10. I envy your ability to pull yourself up out of the ooze. I've only got one kid and can't manage to climb back up the evolutionary pole.
    Good luck!

  11. can't ... type... from... floor.....

    S N E A K E R S ? ? ?

    (now rocking in fetal position trying to readjust to life in a world where Kate *might* wear a sneaker)

  12. My awesome pirate costume didn't work out so well, so for Halloween I decided to dress as a basketball player in warmups. I had a team sweatshirt hoodie, warm up pants and basketball shoes left over from my dream days. This conversation followed with the 4 year old next door:
    4 yr old-"What are you supposed to be?"
    Me-"Can't you tell? I'm a basketball player."
    4 yr old-"I thought you were just you."

    Apparently I need to rethink my wardrobe.

  13. OMG!
    "I sneezed and I broke myself? I'm still not used to the fact that right before I sneeze I have to sit down because I know I'm going to pee a little. NOW I have to sit down AND straightjacket myself with my arms? " hahahahhahahahahahhahahahhaha...welcome to the ooze...at least it's cozy here...and they serve margaritas...

  14. Ha ha ha ha ... boozing thru the oozing.




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