Sunday, August 13, 2006

Confessions of a Baby Boomer Mama

We all have visions of ourselves the way we wish we were. My dream since early on in my motherhood adventure has been myself as the Martha Stewart of mothering -- without the inside trader scam and time in prison of course. Envision it... beautifully sculpted and planned days full of delicious, healthy and visually attractive meals, glorious educational activities and with plenty of time for creativity, fulfillment and quality time with my children, my pets, my friends, my spouse and myself. Aaaaah - Calgon take me away .

But I digress. Back in reality world, my mothering style is far closer to that of Erma Bombeck. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE Erma and her writing - I'd just rather be a better mother than I feel that I am. That said... while feeling good about myself on my way to a meeting, I realized I was short on time and that the kids needed to eat. The only thing between my office and the highway and my meeting was GASP - McDonald's. Oh well... it can't be that bad I thought. Needless to say I was wrong.

Now let's step back a bit in time to when I was a young one...I was raised in a different time full of junk food, HoHo's, ding dongs, twinkies and TV trays (which we used every night during our shows and while eating ice cream and drinking soda). The mother I wish I was - that mother - would have never introduced my children to fast food -- not even once. Remember those sumptious healthy home-cooked meals I mentioned earlier? The realities of mamahood when you are less than perfect however occasionally lead us to do things less we later regret -- fast food, movies, television, plastic toys rather than wood, etc.

So anyway... Here's my experience at McDonald's O'Rama: 1) Order 2 kids meals and they ask "for girls or boys?" I'm thinking "and what does that matter?" Oh I might even have said it out loud but I give in and indicate one boy and one girl. Then I attempt the best Martha move I can think of in a hideous fast food chain by asking for chicken nuggets, chocolate milk and apple dippers instead of french fries. We get the chocolate milk alright, but to my disgust our two kiddie bags are filled with the fries of the french. Nothing against the French. I used to be proficient in their language and very much love their wine and cheese.We are pressed for time so I tough it out. Then we pull out the Happy Meal (I'm not smiling yet) toys and here's what we find: For the girlie - A Polly Pocket doll and accompanying carrying case in the prerequisite pink. And for the boy: a mini HUMMER!

I take a deep breath, remember my meditation and chuckle to myself before thinking... "Oh my God... how bad can this place be?"While I commend them on coming into the 21st century and finally bringing up the rear to actually offer semi-healthy choices, I am stunned at the level of ridiculousness and backwardness that McDonalds puts forth - beyond the pale really - although also all too indicative of what's wrong with this country and the consumer mentality into which we've bought. Different toy options depending on your gender - I mean really. I've never been in a fast food chain that's pulled that kind of bias. Then there's the mini Hummer. Has anyone in their ranks heard of Global Warming, Peak Oil and the like? Blind and deaf consumerism gone rampant. They should be giving out little toy bicycles or bus passes, seed packets or guides to why feminism should matter to both sexes. Pulllllleeeeese.Wake up world. We all need to see similarities and common struggles. We need to realize that this world we are spinning on has serious problems that will not (should I repeat that?) be solved by perpetual war and Orwellian idiocy made real. War is not peace. Peace is peace and its the only thing that's been worth fighting for (and by that I don't mean with guns, bombs and other weaponry) -- that and love. Peace and love. That's it. That's all. Tomorrow I'm going to feed my children at home, take a bike ride or the bus, visit a garden
and make something homemade. Back to basics.

I may be Erma Bombeck in my mamajourney, but like her I've got a brain and I can use it. I'm a person and a mother and I will do my very best to get real and give my children the best of what's real and true. Sometimes I'll fall off the Martha wagon and take the kids for ice cream or let them have a lollipop or whatever - watch a few Saturday morning cartoons (like they are right now). Gotta keep trying to be Martha-esque while accepting my Erma mama self. Anybody got some great and easy ways to kick the consumer habit?

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