I have a confession. I’ve been pretending to be a “normal” mom for years.
(If I’m being honest, most who interact with me on a daily basis are probably already aware of this little tidbit of honesty, but if you could act surprised, that’d be great. I know for a fact my kids already know.)
And to be honest, all of this isn’t limited to just mom situations. I’ve run into this often in work situations, as well. It’s really less about being a mom and more about being a woman, but I found my differences were most highlighted in mom-like situations.
The truth is, I’m a tomboy and a little on the geeky side. None of that changed, just because I grew up and became a mom. And while middle school and high school were a tad awkward, by the time I entered college, I was completely comfortable in my tomboyish weirdness, because I found similarly weird people to hang with or people who just didn’t care about my quirks. I was happy in my weirdness. I was actually (shocker) an extrovert according to the Myers Briggs test.
And then I became a mom and found myself in more and more mom-world situations where I might as well have had a huge neon sign on my chest flashing “weird”. The world that includes social interaction that consisted of discussions over hair color and nail design, the theme of their child’s room, the awesome outfits they bought their children, upcoming bake sales and what they are making, decorations for the upcoming event, favorite wines, flowers they’ve planted, the awesome décor of their home, this outfit they bought on sale, those shoes that look amazing, that lipstick color that makes their lips pop. It’s a world of Longaberger baskets and 31 Bags, candles and cookware.
Then came Pinterest.
Now, I am in no way, discrediting those moms, nor do I think that is all they are about. There are times I’m actually kind of in awe that they and their kids always looked so put together, their houses are awesomely decorated, they always seem on time and the stuff they usually brought to the bake sales was AWESOME. Nor am I ridiculing any of the above things. It’s their thing.
But I’m not that mom. I’m not that woman. It’s not MY thing.
I own two pairs of shoes, my drawers are stuffed full of t-shirts and I get my hair cut probably once a year. (Not kidding. At all. It’s pretty ridiculous. Though the look on the hair stylist’s face when I say cut it all off, completely off my neck, is always priceless.) I had highlights once. I actually liked them. Until I realized it required regular trips for touch-ups and at one point the bottom half of my hair had them and the top half didn’t, because I never went back for those touch-ups. I had my nails done once. They lasted a week until I bit them suckers off. I don’t like jewelry. I don’t own a dress. I’m not really a fan of flowers. And I’m a whole lot more comfortable with a power drill than I am a curling iron. I could not even begin to tell you about the best designer bags. I own two purses, which have been sitting on my floor, unused for six months. I don’t drink wine. I actually hate wine. Beer or tequila baby! I am that mom who buys the store-bought cookies and puts them on a platter. My favorite hair decoration is a ballcap. I am more likely to spend my money on DVD box sets and things like these…
than I am make-up or wall art. I like shows like The Walking Dead, Supernatural, Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Game of Thrones and Prison Break. I’ve never watched an episode of Sex in the City or America’s Next Top Model. I wasn’t a gamer, but I’ve played my fair share of video games.
At one point in my life, I built full theatre sets. No, I’m probably not waiting for the husbands to move that or build that, something that has been said to me more than once.
And while we are at it, just because I happen to often find more things to talk about with the menfolk does not mean I want to sleep with them. Also, been said.
I can get my girl on. I’ve done it. I just don’t like to do it. I’d rather sleep. Or read. Or watch t.v. Or do absolutely anything else than “get ready”. And I’m not a complete lost cause. I love sappy romantic comedies. I drink iced coffees and I like smoothies. (Mostly because it’s the only way a fruit-like substance is going to make it into my stomach.) I do wear make-up most days. (Mostly because my lack of a skin care regimen and years of battling between being a night owl and a mom that still has to get up with the kids has left me more and more looking like the Crypt Keeper (link provided in case you’re too young to know who that is.))
I actually own two, yes TWO, pairs of yoga pants. I rarely wear them out in public, because, no one wants to see me in yoga pants. Just trust me on that. But they are pretty darn comfortable, and I like comfortable.
I also have a bad habit of making sarcastic jokes in uncomfortable situations. And considering my level of uncomfortableness in those situations is epic, at least one of those bad boys usually slips out. It rarely goes over well. So, in most mom situations, I simply stood back in the corner and avoided social interaction, as much as possible to save everyone from that awkward moment. Then slowly, I found I avoided those situations altogether and slipped into being more introverted. You see, for some reason, I got it in my head that letting my weird flag fly would somehow negatively affect my kids, so since any attempts at fitting in failed miserably, I just retreated. Not something I’m proud of, but it’s the truth.
Every once in a while, I came across a fellow weird mom and we would bond over sarcastic comments and discussions on the best place to buy cookies. But I never found my mom tribe and what I have found is, I’m okay with that.
Now that the empty nest is approaching quickly, and my kids are older, I am finding more opportunities to get back into situations where I am surrounded by slightly offbeat, fellow weirdos. Some are moms. Some aren’t. Some are women. Some are men. But they like the things that I like and I’m enjoying it.
And you know what I figured out 20 years too late? None of it mattered. Whether or not I was a “normal” mom (and I use that term loosely) had no bearing on whether or not I was a good mom. We have our own memories, like singing Green Day’s American Idiot at the top of our lungs in the car at the time many kids are still listening to the Wheels on the Bus, pumpkin guts fight in the front yard that actually started in the kitchen during a pumpkin carving night, Comic-Con and the absolutely horrid color of purple on my child’s walls, because that’s the color she wanted for her room. One of my children is now in college pursuing a career in video game design and animation. The same one that used to sit on my lap with an unconnected controller while I played and then later played with me. My house is constantly filled with the sound of my other child singing.
Was I a perfect mom? No. But my kids know I love them and to me, that’s all that matters. The rest is just a smoke screen.
So, to any of you weird moms out there, whether you are a tomboy or a geek or both, if you find you just don’t fit, hang tough. It’s kind of like when you were surviving high school. It gets better.
Or better yet, start your own club.
I wish I had thought of that.
Michelle Leigh Miller is an independently published author, freelance writer, and blogger in Southeastern Ohio. Basically, she is just writing words.