In my experience, any enlightened housewife doesn’t blog post regularly if she is (A) Worried about her kids. (B) Helicopter parenting. Or (C) Just Plain Pissed Off.
I do, I have to say I spend some time being,’Just Plain Pissed Off’. Usually at institutions more so than people: Schools. School boards. Political bodies that don’t align with my current political views. ¬†When my children and others are hurt or treated unfairly by society at large, Momma Bear comes out of lurkdom. At the barest whiff of injustice.¬†It’s a useful instinct in this respect; ensuring the well-being of your own children and others in the same herd.
But Anger, by and large, is not a productive emotion. ¬†The¬†Buddha says: “You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.”
I cordially disagree. In these days of digital media, it’s more a case of:
“You will not be punished for your anger and in fact you will be able to rant angrily and candidly into the early hours of the morning on obscure blogs with other like minded souls.”
Personally I can’t see how being angry hurts in the short term. ¬†I don’t know if I’d be the same person had I not wasted all those hours being silently teed off and fuming! For example, in the workplace back in the day; “Who do they think they are to be treating me this way!” ¬†Why don’t they see my potential greatness!”
And, inevitably into the fray, rock Anger’s cousins, Resentment and Judgement! Goody!
It’s like a party! With invisible friends who will stay as long as you want them too!
It’s got to be fun! Who would harbor these emotions if there wasn’t some fulfillment to be had in the process?
Surely Anger is the ultimate wind up toy for adults: Wind Anger up for endless hours of fun and best of all no-one can see it but you!
Excepting the sorry pricks who over serve themselves on a long haul flight and lose it at the cabin crew or a fellow traveler. That’s pretty visible.
Never mix Anger and alcohol. It hurts you and your chances of getting home or more importantly, getting lucky.
After a while, all negative emotion becomes unproductive and you inevitably become bogged down in circular thinking. I find I can’t write when I’m pissed off so I eventually drop Anger.
I drop Anger like I did the Dickhead¬†who got his Mother to ask me out for him in 10th Grade. Initially I was like, “Well everything’s gotta start somewhere.” But I lost faith and the relationship ended when he delegated to his friends the job of writing me a Valentines Day card. It was a no-brainer: Goodbye Loser!
So, recently it’s been option (B) or Helicopter Parenting that’s keeping me from the keyboard. In May and June I spent countless hours weekly, driving three children around to dance lessons, culminating with a professional production where I spent a total of 19 hours over one weekend in June at a theatre in Alameda. Three dancers. Six outfits and four performances. It’s a special kind of madness being a Dance Mom.
And now dance is over, it’s Summer swim season. Daily practices and meets on Wednesdays and Saturdays. We are part of the swim team at our Country Club.
I wasn’t overly familiar with the concept of a Country Club before we emigrated to California from New Zealand. I’d once seen a quaint reference to Country Club folk in an old Archie, Betty and Veronica Comic Book.
But nothing prepared us for the phenomenon of entire sports facilities including golf courses (one or more), tennis courts (floodlit to allow twilight matches) and of course the mandatory Olympic sized swimming pool. These facilities are attached to a clubhouse with full day dining and event facilities with a dress code so patrons are encouraged to maintain an exemplary level of conduct and presentation. The club is usually surrounded by neighborhoods of tasteful homes. Houses inhabited by lovely folks. Some of whom do spend an inordinate amount of time comparing their house values to those in other Country Clubs. But the Moms do a lot of volunteering and do their best to hide their painkillers and stimulants from their offspring in order to suppress the adolescent market for such contraband. Lord love us.
Yesterday we swam at a neighboring Country Club. We take swim seriously in Northern California, so all are required on board early. Warm ups start at 7.00am Most parents work jobs and are required to check in by 7.45am. All swimmers by 8.30am. I aim to leave by 7.40am as two of our sons are in the first four races. We inevitably leave for the 20 minute drive at 8.15am. We arrive promptly at 8.45 to hear the Star Spangled Banner following the team cheer.¬†I’m late and I’m panicking as I try to get my boys to their start positions for the 6 and under and 7-8 yr old mixed medleys. I’m gently admonished by another parent clerking the kids in to get ¬†there earlier next time as they’ve been looking for my boys for twenty minutes. I ¬†totally understand and in the spirit of solidarity, wish she could have witnessed my pissed off demeanor during the trip over. For the entire twenty minute drive I radiated disapproval at the other adult family member’s complete inability to get out of bed to ensure a timely departure for the swim meet. Unfortunately my best ‘Cat Butt Face’ impression was completely lost on my husband.
I’m angry and he’s thinking about when he might get to eat! Talk about an exercise in futility.
The whole process requires a lot of emotional investment. Moms are generally up early¬†(5.30am start for me) packing the car with towels, goggles seats and tents to ensure the comfort of swimmers and cover from the sun. A picnic basket with baked goods, fruit and beer. Food will be available for purchase but at a premium. No-one wants their pockets picked ¬†by their own Country Club, let alone being overcharged by another.
Later in the day, I ask myself. Why? “What are we here for?” Coming back down the hill from the¬†bar, the dawning realization hits me
We’re all here solely so a bunch of Grown Ass men can spend their Saturday mornings racing their own kids against other parents kids!
Men. Given enough time; groups of men will eventually congregate and conspire to build golf links and a swimming pool in the middle of nowhere.
And gain enormous satisfaction racing their own kids against other kids!