Monday, April 29, 2013

Identity Crisis

No one knows this is what I've escaped!
A few weeks ago, before I started my new consulting gig, I went to have my gray roots head of hair colored back to a recognizable shade of brownish. I left Henry with a babysitter, as he no longer deems it worthy to sit still for more than 14 milliseconds in a row.

On the subway platform, I felt oddly vulnerable, almost naked.

You see, up until recently, I was with Henry wherever I went. Henry in the carrier. Henry in the stroller. Henry in the stroller and Hudson peeing on the curb. Henry screaming as I pried his little fingers gently from the door to the playground swings.

I imagined people viewed the specter of my disheveled, frumpy, makeup-less facade with sympathy (if not always empathy):

Look at her, she's the mom of a toddler! No wonder she's such a mess. And by the look of all that dog hair on her black yoga pants (in need of a hem, incredibly), she probably has a neurotic corgi shedding-machine at home, too! 

With Henry I can smile that wan, weary mom-smile. Other moms return the knowing glance.

But alone? Alone I have no excuse. No one knows I narrowly dodged gooey pesto fingers and a mad barking fur ball on my way out the door. No one knows I had to sprint to the subway to arrive only 15 minutes late to the salon.

Alone I'm not a mom -- just a mess.

I'm a mom! To a toddler! I wanted to scream to my unsuspecting fellow straphangers. At least I don't have a huge rip in the crotch of my jeans this time!

Desperation is unattractive, isn't it?

I'm the only one who cares, of course, and if I care so much, why don't I throw on some mascara once in a while, right?

Cut me some slack, I want to say to everyone in the world.

Truthfully, though, the only person who needs to hear that is... me.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /