Friday, October 20, 2006

Random Musings from Zen Mother

Pity Party

It’s my birthday. It’s not a monumental birthday like 21, 40 or 65. It’s just a regular ‘between’ birthday. You can’t even find a cute or raunchy card for this birthday, but it’s my birthday just the same. And since it’s my birthday, I am throwing myself a pity party.

Aging starts off slow. You go to bed one night perpetually twenty-one years old, then you wake up and your birthday suit doesn’t quite fit anymore. Then comes the day you knock yourself out while brushing your teeth, because the fat under your arm swings up and hits you in the face.

I decide on this birthday that I will do something about the flab under my arms – not to mention the flab on my tummy and the flab on my thighs. I have friends who wake up at 5:00 in the morning, every morning, and go for a run, do sit-ups, or head to the gym. They are my inspiration. They are female warriors. I decide I want to be like them.

It’s now the next morning; my alarm goes off at 5:00 a.m. I decide my friends are insane. I go back to sleep thinking my body is perfectly fine the way it is. Happy Birthday to me.

Spa Retreat

I spend the weekend at a famous spa. We are supposed to keep a diary of our ‘output’ as our bodies begin the cleansing process. My first journal entry reads, “This is a bunch of crap.” I am asked to contribute positive energy or leave.

The Talk

My son decides to attend boarding school. While running errands for clothes and school supplies, I realize I need to have ‘the talk’ with him.


“Yes, Mom?”

“Never do drugs. Never smoke. Never drink. Never take any pills. Never ever.”

“OK, Mom.”

“And Sweetie?”

“Yes, Mom?”

“Never get a girl pregnant. Never have sex. Never touch a girl. Never ever.”

“OK, Mom.”

“And Honey?”

“Mom, can you stop talking now please?”

Spa Retreat Part II

We are supposed to give each other goddess names. I call the woman next to me, “Goddess of No Deodorant.” I am asked to contribute positive energy or leave.

Pity Party Part II

Mirrors now upset me so I try to avoid them. I prefer my reflection in a window. I look good in a window reflection. I look perpetually twenty-one years old in a window reflection. Soon I’ll prefer my image in the door to my microwave or our stainless steel fridge. By the time I am sixty, I will be checking my lipstick with a non-stick frying pan.

The Talk Part II


“Yes, Sweetie?”

“Did you ever do any of these things when you were my age?”


Spa Retreat Part III

I order wine at dinner but I am told there is no alcohol at this spa. I get up and leave.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Absolute Lunacy

Dear Zen Mother:

I am trying my best to juggle work and family. As modern women, we are supposed to have it all and be happy about it – isn’t that right?

Melanie from Ipswich

Dear Melanie,

Oh, you’re referring to that “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan” nonsense. Well Melanie, women today can have it all, if by “all” you mean a full frontal lobotomy by the time you are forty-five years old.

I had the pleasure to hear Madeline Albright speak at a women’s conference a few years back. Asked by an audience member how she balanced work and family, the former Secretary of State answered, “Poorly, like every other working woman.” How nice to hear an honest response from such a highly accomplished person. Luckily for working moms, we are highly functioning – able to walk among office cubicles and school hallways alike without anyone knowing of our handicapped existence. Here are some helpful tips for managing:

Pick up your office phone and face the back wall. Place the phone to your face and take a nap.

Put the dog in charge of the kids while you finish this month’s budget projections. Ignore kids’ new habit of eating breakfast out of the dog dish.

Tell your children, “And I want that report on my desk by 8:00 a.m. tomorrow!” is code for “Yes you can have another cookie, tell your brother to let the babysitter out of the linen closet and Mommy loves you very much.”

And finally, every time your boss says something to you, respond, “Absolutely!” to hide the fact that you have no idea what he or she is talking about.

Of course, cracks in the facade sometimes appear.

Last week my sister appeared at my front door. “Why are the kids standing at the bus stop?” she asked. “Don’t you know what day it is?”

“Absolutely!” I answered.

“Then why are the kids dressed and lined up for the bus on a Saturday?” she asked.

“I dress them every day for school. It’s my way of keeping hope alive.” Then I slammed the door on her face.

My husband came home from work to find me sitting on the couch watching TV. The kids had been fed, bathed and put to bed. Homework was checked and lunches were prepared for the next day. I felt domestically accomplished and was taking in a little intellectual stimulation.

“What are you watching?” he asked.

“It’s a documentary on PBS,” I said.

He sat down to watch. After a few minutes he said, “Honey, do you realize you’re watching Desperate Housewives?”
“Absolutely!” I replied. “Clearly this TV remote is busted,” I said as I threw it in the trash.

The other day Grammy Z wandered into the kitchen while I was catching up on work. She casually asked if I meant for the kids to play in their bedroom with their father’s new power tools.

“Absolutely!” I replied as I yelled up the stairs, “And don’t come down till you’ve finished the addition to the bathroom.”

So Melanie, if I’m able to juggle work and family, you can too – Absol… well, you know.