Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wine Mothers

This is a post I wrote in May 2011 and pulled from a previous, now-shuttered blog, to go along with new writing I will post momentarily. For anyone who may not have seen it before, it may illustrate a progression of thoughts. Sorry about the funky spacing. I have no idea when it comes to some of Blogger's quirks.

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Real mothers do not live on sitcoms and, moreover, we don't want to. My generation has fought being boxed in by governments, stereotypes, glass ceilings, the Martha Stewart phenomenon, and every manner of marketing trick designed to define who we are while simultaneously emptying our pockets in order for us to successfully be that person. Why on earth would we want to step out of June Cleaver's prison and into Clair Huxtable's or Jill Taylor's?

"Jill Taylor"
Wikimedia Commons.
I have been intensely aware of my children's television-expectations of motherhood ever since we let cable into our lives, when my oldest daughters were about 13. Immediately I had to begin explaining.

No no no, girls, that's not a middle-class family, that is a rich family coming into our living room and acting like a middle-class family.

OK, Dears:  I know she's 13 on the show, but she's 20 in real life and she looks like a total slut. Etc. etc. etc.

My personal favorite is when we, as parents, don't turn out to be the dopes in real life that all parents on The Disney Channel are. The universal formula for preteen television: The kids' schemes go badly awry. By pure force of luck they are not harmed, maimed, or killed. Their parents (teachers, principals, adult authority figures) almost find out, but because they are dopes, easily distracted with pretty, shiny things, the youngins get away with their misdeeds. Lesson learned, without the unwanted side effect of punishment or guilt associated with getting caught.

I am thinking about this again in terms of "legacy," as my daughters enter their adulthoods, and their opinions of who I am and my performance as a mother solidify. That is not to say my job is completely finished  --  my youngest is in high school and still at home. A year or two ago, she asked me, "Why can't you be a Wine Mother?"

Ah, the Wine Mother. For those who may not know, a Wine Mother is super cool. She spends her entire evenings still sharply dressed from her day working in upper level management. Sexy silk blouse and pearls. She directs the family from the kitchen island, with her glass of white wine nearby. She is extremely popular with her children's friends, because she is so funny after about the second glass. She still manages to get up for her 5 a.m. aerobics class, though, and she could still drive her brand-spanking new SUV to the movies at any second, if her children want to go.

Well. I do love white wine. And I think I'm hilarious after the second glass.

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