Saturday, June 25, 2011

Martinis At Naptime

Once upon a time in a reality far, far away mommies would anxiously await nap time each day.  As they laid their sweet little darlings down for their daily bout of rest, mommy would smile.  But it wasn't because their babies looked like angels in their beds.  No.  It was because now, after hours of putting her husband, children, laundry, PTA duties, and house cleaning ahead of her needs.... it was finally martini time!  Yes, after laying her sweet angel's head on their pillow and tip toeing quietly out of the room, mom would make haste over to the wet bar in the family room and mix up a shaker full of sweet, sweet gin or vodka relaxation.  Quite often this would be mom's only moment in the day where she had time for herself. Her roll in the house was to attend, quietly & subserviently, to the needs of her husband and children without so much as the blink of an eye.  From sunrise to sunset she was busy flittering about her home creating the perfect vision of domestic bliss for her family.  Not once thinking of herself.  So, rightfully so, nap time was hers.  And so she'd hunker down, light a cigarette, and enjoy her mid day cocktail in silence.

Skip to 2011.  IF mom is lucky enough to stay home with her kids the domestic bliss of yesteryear are long gone.  The house is chaos from sunrise to sunset.  The kids are running & screaming, the dog has eaten and thrown up something on the carpet, The Wiggles are grating on your last nerve, you are way behind on your blog because you can't- for the life of you- get the kids to nap at the same time, the martinis have all been replaced by copious amounts of coffee and the odd Red Bull, you are lucky if you got a shower today, and your husband better drive through KFC on the way home because you forgot to pull the chicken out of the freezer yesterday and YOU ARE READY TO SCREAM!

So which vision of motherhood is ideal?  Which mom had it best?

While on the outside the 50's housewife seemed to have it all under control, on the inside she was screaming.  She was never really her own person.  She was thriving to fit the images in her women's magazines of perfectly coiffed ladies pulling roasts out of the oven as the children played quietly and her husband read a newspaper and smoked his pipe.  That bitch NEEDED her nap time martini!  More often than not it was the only moment in her day that belonged to her. 

So while it may seem she had things perfected to a T, let's examine today's mom and the advantages we have.

Rise and shine! 
The 50's house wife no doubt had to wake up an hour before her family to shower, do her hair and press her dress so that she looked lovely for her husband when she went to wake him.  She gets the older children dressed and ready for the bus while making a 4 star breakfast of pancakes, bacon, eggs, and fresh squeezed orange juice.  After serving breakfast, she hands her husband his briefcase and kisses him gently on the cheek and sends him off to work.  Now it's time to shuffle the children onto the bus, baby on her hip, looking bright eyed and bushy tailed.  She waves to the bus as it pulls away and heads back into the house to begin her day!

The modern housewife slams her hand down on the alarm and tells it to fuck off.  Then she punches her husband in the should to signal him that it's time to wake the hell up.  She pulls herself out of bed and throws on the cleanest pair of sweats she can find on the ground.  She heads to the kitchen because she doesn't even want to see the kids until her coffee is made.  Once coffee is made she wakes the little monsters.  She pulls a somewhat matching outfit out of the closet and tosses it on their beds and tells them breakfast is in five.  Back to the kitchen she goes to make breakfast.  But what will it be?  Pop Tarts?  Frozen Waffles?  Lucky Charms?  Pop Tarts win because mama's tired after being up late chatting on Twitter.  The kids come screaming into the kitchen and sit at the table to scarf down their Pop Tarts and Sunny D.  Mom is leaned up against the counter drinking her breakfast (coffee) and hoping the baby doesn't wake up until after the kids are on the bus.  Dad darts through the kitchen tossing Pop Tarts in his brief case and filling his travel mug with coffee before running out the door.  Mom glances out the window and sees the bus making its way down the street.  "Dammit!  Kids let's go!" Mom throws a couple bucks in each of the kids back packs for lunch and tells them to hurry up or they'll miss the bus.  She slams the door after them and watches out the window hoping they make it so she won't have to drive them to school.  YES!  They're on the bus!  Morning success!  Now for round two.

The Days Of Our Lives.
The 50's housewife spends her day cleaning, folding, shopping, and cooking in a graceful manner without breaking a sweat. Her children are angels who play quietly while mom handles her duties. Aren't they the sweetest? And just like clock work, they go down for a nap at the same tie each day leaving mommy an hour to sip her ice cold martini and recharge her batteries.

The modern housewife's day is just a bit different. She still hasn't showered by the time the kids have left for school and now the baby is awake. So she pulls the exersaucer into the bathroom and hops in the shower to hose herself down super quick. Of course the baby gets bored in 2.5 minutes which reduces mom's shower time in half. Once her "shower" is done she leaves baby in the exersaucer, rocking the base with her foot while juggling the brush and blow dryer. She slaps on some make up and some (semi)clean clothes. Now it's time to feed baby so you plop him in the high chair and pour some Cheerios and Puffs on the tray so you can gather the dirty clothes from EVERY ROOM IN THE HOUSE. Because heaven forbid anyone place their clothes in the hamper. Once mom has a load in the laundry it's time to pick up around this pig sty but baby has different ideas. He's blown out his diaper and painted the tray of his high chair with the contents. Awesome. Before mom cleans it up, she takes a picture and Tweets it because her Twitter moms "get it". It's bath time for baby which causes her to run late to drop off snacks for her daughter's kindergarten class. After dropping off snacks she runs errands. It's time to pick up her husband's dry cleaning, drop off over due library books, hit the gym- hahahahahaha just kidding!- pick up more formula, order balloons for the birthday party this weekend, get an oil change for the mini-van, Gymboree classes with the baby are next, swing a box of baby clothes you don't need any more off at a friend's house, and grab some fabric from the craft store. The baby slept in the car so there's clearly no martini at nap time. Now it's back to the house because the school bus will be dropping the kids off any minute. You pull in just as the bus is arriving. Sweet. Once inside the house you realize you forgot to pull that damned chicken out of the freezer for dinner so you text the hubby to pick up some KFC then tell the kids to get to the table to do homework. The fighting between the kids started almost instantly. "He took my pencil!" followed by "She's looking at me!" completed by "I hate you!". Ugh. Just shut up and do your homework! You still haven't offered up your version of cleaning the house yet and you really don't have time for this. Stop to Tweet how the kids are driving you bonkers. Then grab some crap off the floor and toss it in their rooms. When will this day end?!

Honey!  I'm Home!
The 50's Housewife has had a productive day and the house is pristine when her husband arrives home from work. The kids are quietly reading which allows mom to take daddy's briefcase, offer him his slippers and pipe, and give him a moment to relax after a hard day at work while she plates dinner. Dinner is a magnificent feast of succulent pot roast, roasted veggies, and a crisp salad with home made dressing and glasses of ice cold milk. Everyone washes their hands and arrives at the table. Prayers are said and the meal is consumed while the family listens to daddy talk about all of his accomplishments at work that day. He's our hero isn't he!

By the time her husband arrives home from work, the modern housewife kisses her husband and hands him the baby as soon as he plops the KFC on the counter and tells him she needs a break because these kids are driving her up a wall. "What about dinner?" dad asks, baby dangling off his hip. With one glare from mom he understands that dinner will wait. Mom heads to her room and flops onto the bed and pulls out her iPhone. It's time to catch up on her Tweets. But 5 minutes in, the kids are fighting again. She heads out to find out why dad isn't handling it wherein she finds she's lost him to ESPN. REALLY? After a frank "discussion" about this mess it's time to slap some KFC on some paper plates and feed the family. This modern family sits around the table chatting about their dad.  The kids boast about what they did at school.  Mom vents about what a busy day she had and Dad talks about the deal he closed and how glad he is to be home with his family.

Nighty Night!
Night time has rolled around for our 50's housewife. She dresses the children in their night gowns, brushes their teeth, and tucks them into bed. Prayers are said, kisses are placed lovingly upon their heads and the lights are turned down. Mommy now heads in to her dressing room to change into something sheer for hubby. They enjoy some "alone" time. Husband is happy and drifts off to sleep. Mommy rolls over and cries herself to sleep. Another day has gone by. Exactly like the day before.

After dinner dishes are thrown away cleared mom and dad split bed time duties.  Mom takes the baby, changing him into jammies and offering him a bed time bottle while rocking him off to sleep.  Dad gets the big kids in their pajamas, brushes their teeth, and reads them stories.  Dad knows better than to leave the kids alone in the room before they're asleep so so thwart any fights he lays down with them and before you know it he's asleep with them.  Mom places baby into his crib and wakes dad to sneak him out of the kids' room.  It's been a week since mommy and daddy had relations and dad has that spark in his eye!  But mom's had a busy day and just want sto catch up on her blog.  So they compromise.  They decide that he'll play Xbox for an hour so she can blog and they'll meet back in the bedroom in one hour.  When the hour is up, dad has finished level 5 of his game, mom has finished a blog and caught up on Tweets, and it's time to rock and roll!  It's more about quality then quantity now adays so the tow make it count and then fall asleep in each other's arms.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring!

So while it may appear that the 50's housewife had it all and that the modern housewife's days are far more chaotic, I'll take my modern day family any day!  My husband is my partner and my best friend.  I have a voice through my blogs and Tweets that my 50's counterpart didn't get the privilege to have.  My days change every day and I never know what's going to to happen next.  My kids are crazy and out of control but that is there personality and we embrace it.  I may not get my martini at nap time, but I get my happy hour with my girls on Friday night.  I may not be perfectly coiffed each day but my husband thinks I'm a hottie in my sweats.  And each night I roll over and go to sleep happy about this life I have helped to build.  Crazy and all.


  1. What a great post! You've hit both mommies spot on! I don't have martinis, but the other day my mommie friend and I shared a pear cider and not at naptime..during the playdate! (Wow, how dangerous - haha!) You've gotta do what you've gotta do.

    I wanted to pass on a 'lil "Sunshine" your way in the form of an award and a shout out. It's on my blog if you want to grab your award!


    - Jill

  2. I just spit my martini out when you brought up a hour on xBox and modern wife on the computer! That, my dear, is my life! Superb post!

  3. Hilarious and so true. Oh how I wish I could be as composed as that 50's housewife but alas...

    the baby is up from his nap screaming and I have yet to step foot in the shower today because I've been too busy picking up clothes from every room and... ;)

  4. Mmmmmmmm, vodka.

    The June Cleaver mold seems like someone who is just screaming on the inside. All of the time.

  5. I'm gonna have to go out on a limb here and say there must be a compromise made between these two women. I cry myself to sleep often enough, not because I have no voice or am faking it on the outside, but because of the chaos and disorder all around me. I need some semblance of order to feel good about myself and what I've accomplished. Just surviving the day is not always enough to make me believe I am a good wife and mother. Granted there was a tremendous amount of oppression going on in that 50's housewife's life but the pressure I am under to do it all is no different today. The players have changed but the game remains the same.

    Instead of being perfectly coiffed, cleaned, and ready for late night lovin' I am expected to taxi for sports and playdates after a long day at work. Piano lessons and homework come before any family time we may share. Dad's not home till around 6 at the earliest and if I want children who are not an emotional and physical mess the next day they've gotta be in bed by 7:30 and 8:00. I get up for work at 5:00am so I'm in bed not long after the kids which is fine since I am completely out of energy before dinner is on the table, which is often pizza with a possible salad (so much for good nutrition), but also means I don't get a lot of quality or quantity time with my man.

    I don't want June Cleaver's life but I do desire a life of less expectation, from myself, my friends, my family...I am not Supermom/woman/wife. I likely never will be. I have limits and when I push myself beyond them over and over to be the "perfect" woman I end up a basketcase. Maybe that's just me but I could use a little of what was lovely then and now to balance my days out.

  6. Started reading this on bloggy moms and had to finish. So true! I'd much rather have my husband as my partner, who is willing to help with the kids when he gets home after work. And who doesn't get upset that the house isn't immaculate and doesn't freak if I say, "Hey, pick up dinner on your way home."

  7. Sierra,
    I'm with you on the compromise. I have to believe I can have SOME of the "lovely" and order or it's just going to drive me crazy. With out it, I feel I'm just another set of feet in the rat race.

    My house being in order doesn't make my husband any less of a partner ;) He's just a partner that doesn't throw his crap all over my freshly vacuumed floor.

  8. I want the modern life AND the martini (make it a margarita)!

    Awesome post, I most definitely relate, and I love your raw, honest writing style!