Let’s talk about the pressures of being a breeder.
I don’t mean the first year, moms getting no sleep and being concerned about all the shots their infant is or, as the case may be, ISN’T getting. I don’t mean the difficult toddler years when your kid has chosen to act like a total asshole 95 percent of the time, screaming at the top of their lungs while you run through Target, crying and alternately laughing so much that non-breeders think you’ve lost your shit. Let’s face it: It’s the elementary school years that are the real kick in the ass. Sure, your kid can go outside and play by themselves, they no longer shit their pants (though I do appreciate a good skid mark) and they don’t need you for every little thing but there are some definite pressures breeders face when their kids are between the ages of five and ten, most notably, the pressure to strive for perfection and total involvement in ways you didn’t even know you needed to.
Their children wear perfect boutique clothes, girls accessorized with accompanying bows and “chunky jewelry” (WTF is “chunky jewelry” anyway?) They plan flawless birthday parties complete with a pink limo to drive your kid around with trekking to their ultimate destination; the Galleria, of course, to go fucking ice skating and have a slumber party at a hotel I can’t or shouldn’t afford to stay at myself. They go on perfect Disney World vacations with matching fucking glitter shirts creative enough to wow even the most veteran crafter that they wear while living the perfect plan of hitting multiple parks in one day and attending every goddamned character meal available. I have an overwhelming sense of exhaustion just looking at their daily adventure Facebook photos. All I want to do is nap and watch Vanderpump Rules.
They post the perfect photo collages to their various social media accounts, complete with hashtags chock full of inside jokes and little known updates, absolutely shitting on the internet and completely defeating the purpose of a fucking hashtag. They spend their weekends full of mind-numbing obligation that I’d rather cut my own arm off than be held to. Their kids have the perfect Valentine’s Day card, the greatest Christmas gifts and don’t even get me started on Teacher Appreciation week and the fabulously creative gifts they bribe teachers with for putting up with their little pain in the ass all year.
Worse than any of this, they fucking volunteer. They attend events – like, all of them. They hand out water at the fun run, they call bingo at the class parties, and they are active members of the PTO. They deal with the anxiety of committing to an event, finding parking in the lot made for a school of 350 kids when their school actually almost tops 1,200 students. They brave standing around like cattle in their heels and uncomfortable clothing, waiting for the event to begin. They deal with the panic attack of dealing with twelve other parents who will attend the class party but not volunteer to help pass out little bags of pretzels to their spawn and his classmates.
It’s downright disgusting.
And I’m so fucking guilty.
Maybe I don’t do all of the above and I bet I’ve mocked or at least rolled my eyes at a couple of above but, yeah, I’m one of them. If 21-year-old me knew 37-year-old me, she’d kick my ass, make fun of me and probably key my SUV.
Sure, some days I’m happy if my daughter brushed the crust off of her teeth in the morning. Some days I go to sleep after my daughter leaves for school, making sure to be awake before she comes home so she thinks I did “mom shit” all day when I really just napped away my problems. Some days I don’t shower. Some days we’re using the beach towels to dry our asses after our showers because – surprise! No one’s washed the bath towels. Some days I let her sleep at the dinner table. And sure, sometimes when my kid is complaining about an asshole in her class, I spout off and make the comment that “his mom is probably an asshole too.” Yeah. I’m not above it. But somehow, most days I find myself to be a willing participant in this horse shit and I didn’t even know I had a horse. That’s the con of motherhood. You spend your time making fun of people, and much like a vampire, before you know it, you’re converted and you realize you ARE the same people you hate.
While navigating all of this fuckery, how do you remain “yourself”? How do I stay true to my inner fifteen year old wearing my Doc Martens and raising my fist in their air to resist anything that takes work? I mean, I still chug my neighbors’ Ukrainian Vodka on the weekends but it’s a slippery fucking slope, guys. A slippery fucking slope. How do you resist?