Before: You admire Picasso, Pollock, Mondrian and Rothko. You can’t stop expressing your respect for abstract expressionism, you fight with people who call it just scribbles while you explain to them how much time, thought and talent has been invested to such a result.
After: 1. It crosses your mind that Pollock may be overestimated. 2. It crosses your mind that your son is the new Pollock. 3. You want to send the doodles of your child to a children’s TV show but you realize you can’t lift the sofa or the walls or have them scanned. 4. You replace Picasso’s reproduction on the fridge for your son’s original. 5. You actually do know by now how much time, thought and talent has been wasted for such a result. 6. All of the above.
Before: Taking a bath is how it should be, relaxing time with yourself. You stay at the bathtub for half an hour average, where you spend some aromatherapy-and-essential-oils quality time with your body under some Zen candle’s light but still something doesn’t seem right. The water’s pressure and flow is not exactly how it should be. Your 2 in 1 shampoo has finished and now you have to use two different bottles of shampoo and conditioner. And your bath foam smells, well like a… bath foam. You can’t get to relax.
After: You scrub your skin to remove the leftovers of vomit, rice flour cream and diaper soothing cream- preferably in that order and yes, especially in the area behind you ear. You turn off the shower more than 5 times, hold your breath and stretch your ears to listen. If you hear cries, big toy baskets going empty, phone call conversations with strangers, you turn on the faucet and go on with your shower. If you hear… nothing, you come out of the bath with your body covered in soap and nothing else – no time for a towel- and you burst into the rooms to find out what has actually happened to your kids. You find them playing peacefully in the living room. You yell at them because they were awfully silent- the messages you pass! You run your way to the bathroom again. Repeat as long as it takes. It will take. As soon as you are finished, you google what are the consequences on your children of seeing you naked –and delirious, i should like to add. Search returns porn pages. You will never know.
IN THE SUPERMARKET
Before: The most boring time of the week. You only go if you run out of tampons and the only edible stuff in your kitchen is salt. You end up buying useless products that you are not going to use after all, since this week is another pay-tribute-to pizza- week, different flavor each day. But you do watch Master Chef to redeem yourself.
Going by yourself: This is pure club time! You catch yourself singing songs you didn’t even know they existed. After that, you sing supermarket brand jingles about product sales, coupons and week’s offers. But, it’s not until you listen to an announcement about a vehicle that should be removed because it is blocking the exit that you are certain you hear Kanye’s West new hip hop song- which you also sing to imaginary lyrics.
Going with your child: Well, this is time for… creative time! Instead of playing at home with legos and other educational… bricks that help your child familiarize with shapes and colors, have your child see and touch real products with real –not so real as successfully marketed- shapes and colors. If you are being unreasonable here by thinking that this is a way of introducing your child to insatiable consumerism then start considering moving to North Korea. Still, if you end up with 11 non organic, totally processed and high in trans fat, sugar, salt and calories snacks -including 4 bars of chocolates and 5 potato chips bags, don’t feel that you have failed as a mom. Your child wasn’t born to live in a sterilized world! What if tomorrow your offspring goes to a party and tastes all this processed party junk food and likes it, blames you that you never let him have it and loses faith and trust in his mother??? Don’ let a potato chip bag -ok, 5 potato chip bags and 4 chocolate bars- stand in the way of your relationship. Spoil and initiate your child to addictive junk food now, before someone else does it for you later. What if he is only 2?
Before: You sleep 8 hours non-stop. But you do miss afternoon nap. There are times you wake up because of imaginary sounds you swear you heard. And there is always something wrong with the pillow. Finally, still, you haven’t decided if you really need to have a nightlight on or the hallway light on or some kind of dim light on to have the perfect sleep.
After: There is no perfect sleep, only people hungry to sleep. You can sleep under every possible lighting scheme, even if an interrogation lamp is pointing straight at your face. You never wake up to sounds that even though you do hear them, well, you don’t REALLY listen to them: cries, “mommy” or “daddy” screams (especially ‘mommy’), kids snoring due to stuffy noses, sleep talking due to high fever- ok, there you wake up, give medication and go to sleep again hoping it will work. You don’t actually need a pillow to sleep. You miss 24 hour non-stop sleep.
ON HAVING A QUARREL
Before: You are having a strong disagreement with one of your colleagues at work. You try to explain to him with arguments your point of view. You talk to him in a corporate attitude; you implement anger management methods, strongly believing that the solution will finally come out through synthesis.
After: You are having a strong disagreement with one of your children at home. You take deep breaths, you implement nanny 901 methods. You try to explain to him your point of view by screaming, you realize that the solution will eventually emerge through dialysis. Your husband is coming just at the time you are breaking your child’s toy into pieces because there is no way you can hear its stupid sounds again. “He started it first”, you say to him and go on with your life. Sort of.