taking the passive out of passive-aggressive

Saturday, February 01, 2003

The other mothers. Good lord, how they try my nerves, with their matronly short hair and seeming devotion to all things Kid—their large vehicles, their cookie-baking, their lost careers. I know plenty of good ones, but the others all prove that Freud was right: mothers are trouble.

I’m the weirdo mom—too young and my car is dirty as hell. At the parent parties, the husbands like talking to me, and the moms…not so much. I suspect they think that I’m the one who’s trouble, but the strange part is I’m not. I’m completely and utterly conventional. I’ve been faithfully and happily married for years, and I live in a nice suburban neighborhood, and I go to work every day, and my daughter is well-cared for (if occasionally eccentrically dressed). The other mothers lead lives of such comparative depravity—divorce, money trouble, abusive husbands, prescription-drug problems, non-normative dating situations—that I look like June Cleaver in comparison. No matter—my jeans are too tight, my husband’s dressed a little too “urban”, I smoke, and I use Christmas lights as a decorating technique.

Yes, plenty of them look down their noses. And the ones who don’t get lots of gold stars, I think. They’re a funny group, too, the moms that deign to hang out with me—most of them are leading far more normal, ordinary lives than the snotty ones. They’re not the strivers or the ones on the Parents’ Association. They’re not aching to mow someone down with the SUV. Maybe they’re just reasonably content. Or maybe they’re just as fucked-up as I am, and they don’t know it either.


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