Working mothers the Valley over can relate to this statement: we come last.
Especially when our children are young. It’s a good day if we don’t forget them in Lowe’s as they peruse the bubble gum machine in the exit area.
Yes, I did.
It was very confusing that day, what with my four gallons of paint, seven paintbrushes, a drop cloth, light bulbs and three children.
Too much math to keep track of. Don’t judge!
In the clothing arena, especially, I know I’m dead last. My kids look awesome and I look like Fred Sanford.
As I returned home from an array of exciting endeavors this weekend, I was preparing dinner while simultaneously answering e-mails. My son looked me up and down and said: “Mom. You look like a dude today.” I immediately assumed he meant my chest area (or lack thereof) and got my dander up.
I was flapping my hands up and down my torso as I yelled: “Look, mister, this is no laughing matter! Sure I look like a 10-year-old boy but I don’t need you — ”
“Relax!” he assured me. “I just meant you’ve been wearing my shorts all day.”
I looked down. I checked the label. Crap.
I thought I lost weight because I kept pulling up the shorts and tightening my belt all day. Well, that was life’s cruel joke. I’d been tooling around town sporting my 17-year-old son’s cargo shorts and I never suspected a thing.
I cannot explain how this happened, except to say I’m oblivious to what I look like most days — double that on weekends. Am I really that unaware? Do I ever consult a mirror? The answer is no and no, unless I have to wax my mustache. Most days, I barely remember underwear.
Recently, I accompanied my daughter to the mall, an experience that always makes my stomach cramp. The stores she frequents depress me. One, in particular, requires night-vision goggles to see the wares.
As I walk around the displays, trying to read the price tags in Braille, I become overcome by the noxious fumes of That Week’s Fragrance as it’s piped through the vents, along with its twin sister, Obnoxiously Loud Music.
I loathe the experience.
But I’m an awesome mother, so I wrap a bandana around my nose and just get on with it. She’s mortified. Who cares? I’m old and asthmatic. She’s lucky I’m not on a ventilator yet.
We leave all her favorite stores and as I shuffle in my moccasins toward the only store I’m interested in entering — Gertrude Hawk — she’s stopped dead behind me. Suddenly, she yell-whispers: “Mom! Why do you have a shoelace hanging out the back of your sweatpants?!”
“What are you talking about, I don’t have … ohh, no …” I had not only put on my sweatpants inside out, but backwards as well. The shoelace she referred to was the drawstring!
Mortification times two. Sigh. Can’t win. “Mom, we can’t shop together anymore. I thought after you tried on that strapless dress and came out of the dressing room wearing it like a skirt, you would’ve become more aware of your clothing!”
I hate the mall.
I hate that I’m 52 and I’m wearing my son’s clothes and don’t even realize it. I hate that I don’t care my sweatpants are inside out or backwards.
Well, love me or leave me. And she did, right out the doors of that cesspool of overabundance and into the parking lot.
I heaved a sigh of relief.
I was still dead last. But at least I remembered underwear.
Maria Jiunta Heck of West Pittston is a mother of three, a librarian and a business owner who lives to dissect the minutiae of life.