Thursday, April 11, 2013

"You're Such a Mom"

Let me say this about myself:  I'm not really a shopper.  I'm not the type that goes on a buying binge and then comes home and models clothes for my husband, soliciting flattery.  When I do refresh my wardrobe, for a new season, for example, I generally do so out of sheer necessity and keep it at that.  I like to think when it comes to this department, I'm pretty low maintenance.

Let me say this about my husband.  He is really smart - probably one of the smartest people I have ever met.  He consistently outperformed me in law school and typically beats me in Words with Friends.  But... he is a man.  And, like all men, he can at times be a gargantuan idiot.  You know, saying stupid things without thinking.  Being well meaning, yet offensive.  Neanderthal-like, really.

It is upon this backdrop that I tell the tale of last night's incident.

Wednesdays are my only day with any time to myself, sans kids.  I have ninety whole minutes.  I decided to spend a portion of this ninety minutes yesterday at DSW Shoe Warehouse, since the unseasonably warm weather made me realize I was in desperate need of sandals.  I was in and out quickly, and made three purchases: a yellow purse, a pair of brown sandals, and a pair of black reefs - to replace the other black reefs I have been wearing for the past three summers.  Here is Exhibit A: Picture of Black Reefs:

Exhibit A
They have a little sparkle to them.  But otherwise, they are nondescript.  Uncontroversial. Ordinary.  They are black flip flops, for God's sake.

For some reason, last night I uncharacteristically waited to unpack my shopping bag until my husband got home from work.  I even waited until the kids went to bed.  Then, like a presentation, I unwrapped each package for my husband to see and ooh and ahh over, as if he really cared.  I saved the black flip flops for last.

Look, I got new flip flops!  I said to him eagerly.

You're such a mom, he replied quickly.

Okay, lets pause to take this in for a second.


I smiled for a moment, and then pondered what that meant.  What exactly did that mean?  I asked him so.

What does that mean?  

I can't even remember his blundering reply.  I think he sensed that he may have said something wrong, so he scrambled to recover . Oh, I didn't mean anything by that.  I love the shoes.  

But the words rang in my ear like an echo.  So I asked again.

What the fuck does that mean?  

Again, he had no rational answer.  After a few harsh words, a minor argument ensued, after which I stormed off, black reefs in hand.  And I couldn't shake the thought for the rest of the night : WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT MEAN?

I know I'm a mom.  I really do.  I know it EVERY SINGLE SECOND OF EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I know it in the morning when my kids scream my name beginning at 6am, I know it throughout the day as I race from one preschool pick up to another, as I make their meals, as I clean up after them constantly, as I wipe their asses, as I host playdates, as I referee arguments, as I enforce time outs, as I watch Sophia the First for the hundredth time, as I give baths and read books and tuck them in, and then collapse into a pile of nothingness on the couch and manage to eat my own dinner, if I'm lucky.  I know it when I look in the mirror every day, as I ponder whether it's worth it to shower or put on makeup, as I try and squeeze into the jeans that were loose on me four years ago, as I reminisce about my perky boobs and a time when I didn't have an intertube sitting nicely around my hips.  I know it when I think about the last time I went to a movie, the last time I traveled abroad, the last time I went out past midnight without dreading the early morning wake up, the last time I had a single day when I thought of no one but myself.


But is it too much to ask that in some aspects of my life, I have an identity separate from motherhood?  I don't know, perhaps when I'm working.  Or when I'm out with friends.  Or when I'm exercising.  Or when I'm lost in a book or listening to music or driving solo or WEARING BLACK FLIP FLOPS.  Must motherhood be so intrinsically wrapped into every single thing that I do, down to the shoes on my feet?

Perhaps I missed the boat, which is entirely possible, but what exactly is it about black sparkly flip flops that makes me "such a mom"?  Am I going to wear these out and are people going to stare and point and say, "Hey, look at that mom!  She's really let herself go!"  Are these the new equivalent of mom jeans (Exhibit B)?  If they are, just tell me so.

Exhibit B (taken from

I don't wear mom jeans (at least I don't think I do).  But when you see me on the street, with my two kids in tow, all disheveled and sweaty and unshowered, I probably do look like a mom.  In some ways, I have let myself go.  I've had to.  I don't have time to primp and spruce and exercise every day.  I'm not as skinny as I once was or as fashionable as I once was and I certainly rarely wear my contacts anymore.

But to think that I can't escape that if I want to - that I can't buy cute things and dress up and look fashionable and young and childless... That I am so inherently a mom that I can't even find a shadow of my former self and trick people every once in a while into thinking that I am well rested and confident and put together.... To think that even something as simple as my shoe choice gives me away.....

Well, that's just depressing.

So to all the men out there, learn from my husband.  If your wife ever comes home and shows you some of her shopping purchases, don't ever, ever, ever reply with, "You're such a mom."

Just don't.

Because I ask again.  WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT MEAN?


  1. If the TOMS I'm wearing give it away that I'm a mom, so be it. I say wear those new shoes with pride. But you're right, what does "You're such a mom" even mean?

  2. As a non-Mom those flip-flops are cool; they are in no way "Mom" looking.

    Chalk it up to men just being jerks at times...they can't help it....after all they are men.

  3. Puts me in mind of the time my daughter, about 11 at the time, saw me at the kitchen sink, dishelved, hot, splattered with grease and suds, and said "Mom, you look just like the common housewife."

    For a professional feminist, women's advocate, and generally mouthy person, I was dumbstruck. And not happy, either.

  4. Shannon,

    Let me just say that this post is AWESOME. And, when my husband gets home I am going to make him read it! Thank-you for being so open, honest and real with your followers.

    On another note, this past year I feel like I have been taking more from your blog than I have been contributing due to a preoccupation in my personal life(move overseas, return to school, new career path etc.). However, that being said, I still enjoy reading each and every one of your posts and appreciate the humor and wit you bring to very real, every day experiences that many of us mothers can relate to.

    If you ever do manage to book in that trip "abroad," New Zealand is a lovely place to visit!

  5. Shannon,

    I just found your blog and I found this post very refreshing. I graduated from law school in May 2011 and have a clerkship starting in Aug 2013. I am a little apprehensive about taking this clerkship because I am worried that I won't be able to balance motherhood and a legal job. I was wondering if you had any time to chat about why you chose to stay at home? You can email me at

    Thanks so much!!!!!

  6. My husband says things like that occasionally. I think I understand what he means--he means that I have opted for the totally predictable, safe choice. Which I usually do. But I was that way long before I became a mom! He means not quite boring, but not particularly interesting or exciting either. Just... predictable. But, I have to say, my new coral jeans from Gap are not predictable but I love them and so does he. ;)


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