Off Duty Mom

Thoughts from an exhausted mom who is NEVER really "off duty"

Archive for the month “August, 2012”

Frustrating Fantasies (the experience of a devoted wife and mother)


A few years ago, I struggled through some dark moments and found myself having trouble feeling “normal.” A therapist suggested that I try to “escape” my life by trying to imagine myself involved with very “normal” women’s fantasies.

Because I am ridonkulously uptight, I immediately laughed at her. “I’m not gonna do that,” I told her.

That’s just not how I roll.

I didn’t see at all how trying to imagine canoodling with David Beckham was going to snap me out of my gloomy shit.

In the time that has passed since, I’ve learned that fantasies in many people with good marriages and happy families don’t work well. I’ll be interested to hear if anyone else experiences anything resembling the following…

Okay. Here we go. Let’s think. Alright. Tom Cruise? Too short. Brad Pitt? Forgets to shower and/or shave sometimes. Channing Tatum? Maybe. No, I’d never be with a stripper.

This isn’t off to a good start.

Alright. Someone I know in real life? Tod from work? He’s actually pretty douchey. Why the fuck doesn’t he use the other “d”? Did I respond to his last e-mail? The boss really needs those TPS reports. Crap. Fantasy. Right.

Okay. Right. Ryan Gosling. On Pinterest I saw a quote with him saying “Hey, girl,” then saying something cheeky about girls with stellar crafting abilities. I always wanted to be appreciated for my fantabulous use of a glue gun. I am an effing beast with some Mod Podge. Okay, Ryan Gosling it is.

So, here we go. We meet at, um, a bar? Yeah, a bar.

Where is my husband? I’m not a whore. He’s got to be dead or something. I’d never cheat on him. Yeah. So, I am a beautiful widow.

>sniff< That’s so sad. What happened to my husband?

What if thinking about him being dead so I can have sex with Ryan Gosling will stir up bad karma and will make him die in a fiery crash in real life?


But, okay. I can do this. I can be normal.

Ryan Gosling. Whatever. In this make-believe world, I never met my husband.

That would be really sad.


Ryan Gosling.

He buys me one of those drinks with the orange peel in it. We go back to his place and he tells me he can do the Dirty Dancing lift. Awesome. That would totally work, you know.

I am way too heavy, though, I am sure. Maybe I should stay on the ground. I am way too fat to be lifted.

So, okay. We’re on the ground. He reaches out for me. No! Not the ass. Great. Ryan Gosling is going to know about my cellulite. No, not there either! Jesus. Just touch my forearm, Ryan Gosling.

So, we are standing in Ryan Gosling’s house and he is touching my arm. This is nice.


Where are my kids? If I never met my husband, I will live forever in a world without my beautiful babies! That is awful!


Okay, it’s just pretend. Ryan Gosling. Forearm. Orange peel. Got it.

Do we kiss? Is my breath okay? Did I get drunk? That’s so irresponsible. I am 35. Stop acting like a 22-year old hooker!


Okay. Gosling. Arm. Orange.

In the movies, people are always sweeping shit off of a desk or table or something. Maybe he does that in a fit of passion.

What a mess. Don’t people value their belongings? If you’re just going to throw crap around why did you even buy it?

So, no sweeping.

Up against a wall. Yeah. They do that in the movies, too. So, I guess I have to be wearing a flowy dress, because that just seems right. It probably has flowers on it and, maybe it’s purple. Ooh, maybe with no kids and no husband I was able to afford those fabulous strappy Manolos. And, my hair is all wavy and perfect without hairspray in it or anything. And “Take My Breath Away” is probably playing. Or something. Whatever.

Ryan Gosling. He clearly loves me. This isn’t physical. We are going to have a spiritual experience. A beautiful moment in time. With good lighting so he can’t see the crow’s feet.

He reaches up my dress. No, that won’t work. How’s he gonna maneuver around those Spanx?


Hee hee. Remember when that cartoon Cathy used to say that? She was funny.

I can do this. Just be normal, you damn psycho.

So, The Gos. Arm. Peel.

“Arm peel?” That sounds gross.

What time is it? My fucking kids are going to be jumping on top of me by 6:30. I have to get some sleep.

Abort mission.

Who needs normal, anyway?

Growing up, Getting better

Before I was married, I lived on the second floor of a duplex in a beautiful neighborhood. Having just graduated from college, I couldn’t afford all of the luxuries I might have now, but I did have the most comfortable bed of all time. I slept in it, diagonally, using 5 or 6 pillows at any given time to prop, cover, cradle and comfort my body perfectly. I slept well. Every night.

Before we had children, my husband and I never made plans for anything. Ever. We typically ate dinner at about 8 pm, on the floor or on the couch in front of the television. We had both a dining room table and an eat-in kitchen, but we were just too informal for that. With the exception of having to let the dog outside, we had few responsibilities that dictated that we be home at any specific time of day. It was easy and normal for either one of us to stop for drinks with friends after work or to run errands at odd hours.

I miss parts of my old life. Before becoming a responsible, married, home-owning adult with children, I was a different person entirely. In fact, I suppose I have gone through several incarnations of myself over the course of my lifetime. The person I was in my youth is vastly different than the person I became in high school. That person doesn’t even resemble the person I became in college. And, that person differs, still, from the person I became as a young professional. And, even so, that person differs greatly from the person I became as a newlywed. And, of course, that person is so different from the person I became when I became a mother.

I miss some (but certainly not all) of the pieces of my former selves. I don’t want to go back to being any of them, though. Make no mistake about that.

It is interesting to me how as a mother I have the privilege to watch a child become a full person even while I am certain I, too, am becoming more of myself each day. I suppose growing, changing, developing and evolving never really end in a human life.

Each day I will try to learn more about myself and answer questions like, “Why did I like ‘Magic Mike’ enough to refer to it as a ‘film?'” and, “Why do the Olympics make me sad that I never thought to pursue a career in beach volleyball even though I have never played volleyball of any kind?” And, I will learn more about the little ones I hope to mold into responsible men, hopefully answering questions like, “Why do little boys think kicking each other in the head is hilarious?” and, “What makes automatic flush toilets so terrifying to a 4-year old?”

It is poetic, and aggravating, never to be a completed model– always to be a work in progress. But, if you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you know that the best thing to do upon making this realization is to have a glass of wine and stop worrying. My oldest son always wants a cup of juice if he is hurt or sad. “Juice makes everything better,” he says. Yes, it does, son. Yes it does.

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