The Mom Switch

Guess who got to go out last night? ME!! Guess who felt way too old? ME!! Guess who was reminded again why she doesn’t go out when she’s pregnant?

I think you can catch the pattern.

My dear friend, Toots, is leaving for New York (like to LIVE and stuff) in three weeks. Sadness and pride and all that will have to be reported later. I’m at work and cannot cry right now. Anyway, one of the things she wanted to do before she left good ol’ Minneapolis for good is sing live. She’s got an amazing voice but hasn’t sung in public outside of funerals or church requests in years. And NEVER in a concert setting. Her friend suggested Open Mic night at this cute little pub. She was all, sure why not? Then went on to invite everyone she knows to come bear witness because she never does anything “small”.

I was one of the lucky “few” who received an invite and was more than happy to get it. “Mama needs a night out!” I thought and my husband fully agreed. So, to begin my night out I stopped at Ye Olde Barnes and Noble to get a book. As luck would have it, the exact book I was looking to get was in the bargain bin for 6 bucks, down from $18 so this was huge as I am broke. So, I got my book and headed over to Café de Panera Bread (oh how fully immersed in the suburbs am I.) for some dinner and reading. Good times were had by all.

Then off to Toots’ house for some one-on-one time.

Poor Toots. Reality of The Big Giant Life Altering Move is hitting her hard. Plus her current boss and co-workers are being total wangs. I let her lay it all on me and we cried. Then I suddenly burst out that “My Baby is starting pre-school on Friday!!” and more tears. Her kinda-sorta-not-really-but-really boyfriend showed up to find two very emotional women dabbing their eyes with tissue from the roll of toilet paper on the table between them. Good times were had by all.

Toots and “Boyfriend” had a quick practice session and then we were all off to the pub. In the car I realized I hadn’t put on any deodorant that day. This was around 8:30pm. Thank gawd I’m not of the stinky variety of women because WOO! I’da been in trouble. But I figured that seeing as I was about to enter a potentially crowded pub I thought I’d better whip out the old b.o. stick. At a stop light I took my spare out of my bag and then gave myself a pep talk:
“Ok, Marcoda, be careful. Do NOT get deodorant on your black shirt.” Then proceeded to stab myself in the boob with my deodorant. “Are you kidding me, Marcoda?!” (you can’t tell me you don’t talk to yourself when you’re alone in the car) Frantic brushing off of boob commences followed by digging in the glove box for a napkin, wetting said napkin with my water bottle and wiping the wet napkin on my boob while ignoring my mind screaming, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?? THAT WET NAPKIN IS GOING TO SHRED ALL OVER YOUR BLACK SHIRT!” Which it did. Very nicely and thoroughly. Light is now green and I’m driving and resuming the frantic brushing off of my boob all the way to the highway. Eventually I got it to a point of “y’know, that could just be some lint or something. No one would ever think it’s deodorant.”

At the pub I was regaling Toots with my deodorant tale when I got a little too animated and stabbed myself in the boob with my car key. Many jokes were made about puncturing the boob and draining nibbler’s food source. We’re a funny crowd.

Inside the pub, I waddled behind Toots and “Boyfriend” and found a nice stool near her other friends but not actually at a table with anyone. From my perch I was safe to watch the video trivia screen, eavesdrop on conversations, make small talk with “Boyfriend” (who’s much nicer/friendlier than I as he initiated all of our little conversations) and eat my chocolate cake in peace. (Yes, I said chocolate cake! It was heaven and I only ate half of it because I started feeling sick. Bastard diet as already worked its tentacles into me and now chocolate cake makes me sick! This is a crime against pregnancy!)

As friends of Toots started trickling in, I started to feel very old and very pregnant. It wasn’t the numerous glasses of beer being consumed as I’m so over that. Sitting on my little island, contracting away with a sore back and getting more and more tired by the minute, I watched the 20-somethings with a mixture of envy and contempt. Which I guess are kind of the same thing when examined at a base level. On the one hand I thought about how young they all were and lighthearted with nothing to do on a Tuesday night but come out, have a couple beers and watch a friend perform some good acoustic open mic. No thoughts of whether their preschooler gave her dad any trouble when it came to bedtime or monitoring contractions because even though there’s a month to go and they’re not showing any signs of actual labor YOU NEVER KNOW. They all seemed so carefree. I’m not deluding myself into thinking they truly are carefree. We all have our issues and stress and what not. But for those few hours, these young adults could put all that aside. Or maybe they’re like me and are never fully free from the worries of life no matter how happy a face they put on.

Then there was the contempt. Perhaps that’s a strong word but there was one girl in particular who, while very sweet, bugged the living shit out of me. She’s also going to possibly be making a huge life changing move to the coast (only the West rather than the East) for a day care directors position. It was a fascinating story at first but then she wouldn’t shut up about how awesome she is and how ready she is for this and how she blew the interviewer away and how she’s been getting tons of compliments on her hair and blah blah blah blah blah. SHUT UP ALREADY! Those may have been the hormones screaming in my head. But really, this is why I can’t stand many people in their early twenties and wonder if I was that annoying. Or if 30-somethings think that about me.

Don’t even get me started on the guy who I met for the first time that evening and did the ultimate no-no when he saw me rubbing my belly and touched the belly. Didn’t just touch it, but placed his hand on it and then thought he felt something and did this weird, “OOH! That’s so cool” thing. Baby didn’t move. He probably felt a gas bubble. I should’ve told him. Toots witnessed this and said something clever about him having guts but nobody heard. All this brought me back to feeling pregnant and fat. Which we’ve covered so I won’t go further in depth than “Wah! I’m fat! I’m pregnant! Stop looking at me! I’ll get down off my stool if I want to; I’m not handicapped. For Fuck’s sake, outta my way! Blerg.”

Toots was kind enough to find me a stool with a back on it which helped the aching back. Then she went on stage, called her mom (because she’s adorable) so she could hear and then performed Amazing Grace, launching into the second verse instead of the first. This is a song the girl knows forwards and back. It was way too funny especially when she called herself out: “I’m totally singing the wrong verse.” From that point on all the verses were in who knows what order. But she sounded great! Then she and “Boyfriend” performed some Ryan Adams song I don’t know but again, sounded great and I got some good pics for her (on her camera so you’ll never see them). She then did a show tune: “My Bill” from Showboat by way of an audience vote.

One thing I love about Toots is she tries to portray herself as this hardcore, take no one’s shit type a gal but deep down inside she’s a sweet heart who has her mom listen to her sing on open mic night via cell phone and closes the performance with a show tune.
She’s a complex woman who’s going to knock New York off its feet. They’re lucky to have her and I say, “Fuck you, New York, for taking her.”

I didn’t know this would turn into a partial “Tatum, don’t go!” post. Funny how writing kinda does its own thing. Anyway, the point (I had one, really I did) is even when mom gets a break, it’s never really a break. Having children changes things completely and forever in ways you’d never think of. Is it worth it? Totally! Do I sometimes wish I could turn off the Mom Switch?




4 Responses

  1. NEVER USE A NAPKIN OR ANOTHER OBJECT OTHER THAN THE FABRIC THAT THE DEODERANT IS ON TO REMOVE IT!!!!! sorry …drycleaner for 5 years…when you get a deoderant stain use the shirt or what ever that you got the stain on and rub the fabric together!!! promise it works, even on black and no it does not transfer to the spot that you are using to rub PROMISE. anywho…yes believe it or not there is a way to turn off the mom switch…but its more like a power outage for a few hours…it ALWAYS comes back on!

  2. For the record: “Boyfriend,” “Man on the side,” “Annoying guy who touched your belly,” and “Barista” are all your age. AND Oldest Mitchell is two years older than you. 🙂 So feeling “old” might not be the best word in the literal sense. Maybe a better word would be settled. Or maybe even mature.

    And that was a great blog. I love you.

  3. Wwwwwaaaaaahhhhhhh! Why didn’t she call me on her cell phone? I would have wanted to hear her too! Thanks for the “blow by blow”, Maranda. I needed that. There is no mommy switch…once it is on, it is on for life. I remember telling my mom that I would be relieved when The Toddler was a year old because I wouldn’t have to worry about SIDS so much anymore. My mother looked at me like I had 4 heads and said “ahem, you never stop worrying about your children, never, not when they graduate, not when they get a good job, not when they buy a house, never never never…”. Once a mommy, always a mommy.

  4. Seriously, Toots? They’re all my age?? Then yes, I change my wording to “a different life stage”. Wow.

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