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This is my entry this week for the Exhibit A competition of therealljidol. I invite you to read and vote for the many fine entries. It's a "friends only" vote this week, so you have to be a member of the LJI community to vote. This week, we all chose different topics. Mine is "I Should Have Tried Harder in Home Ec." Apologies to momebie, who I'm sure is nothing like this.

They're coming for me. I hear them, shambling down the street in stylish, yet comfortable shoes. The rumble of a million wheels sounds like a buffalo herd, as the mombies lurch forward, pushing strollers with one hand and clutching recipes in the other. They smell of bleach and cookie dough.

I have barricaded myself in my house, for safety. But they fumble at the doorstep, calling brainlessly, "Play daaaate! Play daaaaaaate!" I cannot let them in, because they would box up my shelves of CDs in favor of a "toddler activity corner." They would rampage through the house, dousing everything with Lysol. They would shoo the cat off his favorite napping place: our toddler's pillow (which he is probably right to believe he owns, since he spends more time in that bed than our toddler does). They would turn our dust bunnies into "festive holiday dog sweaters" and sell them on Etsy.

They would turn all the food in the kitchen into "fun meals to tempt toddlers," which would take them only 15 minutes but me an hour and a half. They would embroider our son's initials on all of his shirts without bothering to ask if his last initial is the same as mine ("W") or my husband's ("R").

Inside, I thought I was safe, but I was wrong. They have infiltrated my computer now, inviting me to view their Pinterest boards of "Kiddie Crafts," which always seem to involve more components than a Rube Goldberg device. Their candy-colored blogs brag of their parental achievements, such as knitting hemp onesies and teaching their toddlers Sudanese. Soon, they will figure out how to Skype, and once they do, I am a goner. They will be pinging me at odd hours to invite me to Web conferences on How to Fillet the Fish You Catch with Your Hand-Made Fishing Lures or How to Teach Algebra to Five-Year-Olds.

If only I could buy myself some time. If only I could talk their language, make them believe I was one of them. Then, perhaps, their relentless assault would end, and they would find new quarry (like that mom of a newborn down the street). But woe is me: I have never been good at faking interest in things that don't excite me. And while I try to cook healthy food for my family, I don't live for planning menus. Most housework, for me, falls in the category of "do the dumb things I gotta do."

And adore him though I do, I don't find complete fulfillment from taking care of my child. He delights me and challenges me, but he is not my entire world. Hopeless though it might seem, amidst the chorus of voices urging me to spend every waking moment trying to enrich my child's life, I still believe I ought to have some "me" time.

But "me" time will mean nothing if the mombies get their clutches on me. They will suffocate me in a cloud of non-talcum baby powder, and when I emerge choking on the other side, I will be... *shudder* one of them. That's why I'm writing this note, in hopes that someone will see it in time to save the world, if not my soul. If you ever see me become a mindless drone with no thoughts of my own, who exists only to please her family, please shoot me.

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( 45 comments — Leave a comment )
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(Deleted comment)
Mar. 26th, 2013 12:53 am (UTC)
You probably have more realistic expectations, because your work as a nanny has shown you both what's involved in taking care of children and how you can still make room for other things. Granted, you get to go home at night, but I'm absolutely positive you've had days where you were pushing someone on a swing and plotting out your next blog post or LJI entry in your head!

Admittedly, I've had to make a lot of concessions. But I'm also one of those people that believes that my son can handle it if I play Bowie and Jimi Hendrix in the car, along with his favorite kids' music. :)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - alycewilson - Mar. 26th, 2013 12:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 26th, 2013 01:48 am (UTC)
I definitely believe a happy medium can and should be found, making time for family, child, and yourself. Sometimes the trick is being honest with yourself about what you are good at and or want to spend the extra time doing.
Mar. 26th, 2013 02:15 am (UTC)
Exactly! I mean, I had fun going on the Internet this weekend and looking at some "finger food" recipes with KFP, allowing him to pick out something to try this week. But I don't do that every week. It would be different if cooking were something I honestly enjoyed and found rewarding, but it's usually just something I do to get the results.

Balance is indeed important! And figuring out your priorities. I've had to drop a lot of stuff that I decided didn't matter as much to me, to leave room for the things that did, on top of all the parenting duties.
(no subject) - kittenboo - Mar. 26th, 2013 02:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alycewilson - Mar. 26th, 2013 02:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kittenboo - Mar. 26th, 2013 03:01 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alycewilson - Mar. 26th, 2013 03:09 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kittenboo - Mar. 26th, 2013 04:08 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alycewilson - Mar. 26th, 2013 04:31 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 26th, 2013 03:29 am (UTC)
BWA-hahahaha! This was very creative! :)
Mar. 26th, 2013 03:43 am (UTC)
Thank you! I think the piece could never have come together the way it did if I hadn't had a day where I felt like I was pulled in every way, trying to achieve all the household and parenting tasks I needed to do, on top of writing this!
Mar. 26th, 2013 04:16 am (UTC)
This was such a great satire, and a perfect merging of two things.

There is both the "fully loving and embracing motherhood" component to the mombies, and sometimes just "competitive mothering." I'm not as extreme as the first, and never enjoy people who fall into the latter kind of behavior (whether it's parenting, or conspicuous consumption, or sports greatness of yore).

They would turn our dust bunnies into "festive holiday dog sweaters" and sell them on Etsy.
This skirts so close to the reality of certain craft-obsessed people that it almost isn't a joke!

Mar. 26th, 2013 07:30 am (UTC)
Thank you! I was trying to channel Erma Bombeck here, who used to use exaggeration really effectively. I would lose any "competitive mothering" contest!
Mar. 26th, 2013 01:54 pm (UTC)
Too funny!
I never mastered the role of mombie, myself. I drew my own share of locked doors and funny looks when I taught the toddler son the periodic table and the toddler daughter the squares up to 15, as mombies do not like math nor chemistry.
Mar. 27th, 2013 02:46 am (UTC)
That is awesome! You know, our librarian says that building knowledge in any field is great for little kids. This is why I'm happy to feed my son's interest in trucks of all varieties. We had lunch at his daddy's office building, and KFP wanted to sit by the window to watch the "excagator."
(no subject) - millysdaughter - Mar. 27th, 2013 12:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 26th, 2013 05:29 pm (UTC)
Hahaha, I loved this! I'm not a parent, nor do I plan to become one, but I found this super-hilarious. :D

Mombies and mombie culture scare me!
Mar. 27th, 2013 02:44 am (UTC)
Yay! I'm so glad that you liked it. I was hoping it could appeal to non-parents. After all, I used to love reading Erma Bombeck's column when I was just a teenager and decades away from having my own little Panda.
Mar. 26th, 2013 06:49 pm (UTC)
The mombie thing is frightening to me. I think that kids with less obsessive mothers will turn out better in the end. At least, I hope so, because existing only to please someone else is exhausting!
Mar. 27th, 2013 02:42 am (UTC)
I hope so, too, because I just don't have it in me to be that one-minded!
Mar. 27th, 2013 02:02 am (UTC)
They would turn our dust bunnies into "festive holiday dog sweaters" and sell them on Etsy.
I LOLed at that bit.

I think your Panda does just fine without the micromanaging. Try to hold out!
Mar. 27th, 2013 02:41 am (UTC)
The little panda is a very determined little guy, and very creative, too. I just love the way he talks about things, like today when he was telling his daddy about our day. He said, "We went to the library, for to read library books!"

I'm glad this piece made you laugh. Humor can be a dicey business.
Mar. 27th, 2013 11:35 am (UTC)
Hear, hear!

Granted, I LIKE planning meals -- if only because it makes it so that I actually cook, which is kinda important. Kinda. ;)
Mar. 27th, 2013 09:14 pm (UTC)
I actually like cooking and doing laundry while I'm doing it, but I usually can't stop thinking about the other things I need to be doing, like writing and playing with KFP.
Mar. 27th, 2013 11:39 am (UTC)
Brilliant! I must say that living in Mississippi does have its pluses, and a smaller concentration of mombies is definitely one of them. Loved this piece!
Mar. 27th, 2013 09:13 pm (UTC)
It would be great if it said that on real-estate listings! I figured you'd appreciate this one. :)
Mar. 27th, 2013 08:34 pm (UTC)
I remember years ago when talking to the lady checking out my groceries in the supermarket was the highlight of my week. Stimulating adult conversation? Paper or plastic! Mommies definitly have to make some Me Time!
Mar. 27th, 2013 09:12 pm (UTC)
I know! The only face time I get with friends is every month or so, if I'm lucky. Most of the time, since we work opposite shifts, it's "hello" and a quick update for my husband, and then I'm stuck inside my thoughts again as I do my transcription work.
Mar. 27th, 2013 11:16 pm (UTC)
They smell of bleach and cookie dough.

I LOL'ed.

I've seen several of my friends stagger down this dark, frightening path, and it's quite unnerving! Every once in a while, one of them will reproduce yet escape this terrible fate and still be recognizable as an independent humanoid life form, but all too often, only a pod person in a minivan remains.
Mar. 27th, 2013 11:43 pm (UTC)
I don't see why you have to stop being yourself just because you have a child (although I concede that modifications are often necessary). Fortunately, I've met lots of moms who are much cooler. That is, if bonding over the fact that They Might Be Giants recorded a couple children's albums can be considered cool.
(no subject) - kandigurl - Mar. 27th, 2013 11:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alycewilson - Mar. 28th, 2013 12:00 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 27th, 2013 11:47 pm (UTC)
Memo to myself, do the dumb things I gotta do, touch the puppet head?

I LOVED THIS SO MUCH. I must have quite a few "mombie" friends on Pinterest, because despite having no children of my own, my feed is inundated with exciting activities to do with them. And you aren't lying about them being more complex than a Rube Goldberg machine! That part made me laugh out loud.

Excellent read. :)
Mar. 27th, 2013 11:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! You got the quote. :) I am running around with far too many They Might Be Giants lyrics in my head for any semblance of normalcy.
(no subject) - kandigurl - Mar. 27th, 2013 11:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alycewilson - Mar. 27th, 2013 11:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kandigurl - Mar. 28th, 2013 12:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alycewilson - Mar. 28th, 2013 11:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 28th, 2013 05:05 am (UTC)
Brilliant! ::applauds::
Mar. 28th, 2013 02:50 pm (UTC)
*curtsies* Thank you very much!
Mar. 28th, 2013 02:11 pm (UTC)
hahaha this is gold. I applaud!
Mar. 28th, 2013 02:50 pm (UTC)
*takes a bow* Thank you!
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