Sometimes people ask me why I blog. Well I don’t always have a good answer ready. But if I could, I would memorize the entire book - The Big Rumpus, by Ayun Halliday. I just started this paperback (50’ish pages in). But so far, it is fantastic. Ayun, who has been called “a new generation’s Erma Bombeck”, writes of the isolation associated with being a stay at home mom. She addresses much of what so many do not dare mention...everything from feeling like you are always pulling your grain before the horde of flies arrives – to never getting to do the activities you had previously taken for granted – such as peeing alone.
I whole heartedly recommend this book.
In the interest of enticing all of you, I offer the following excerpt with great hope that I will not be sued by the fantastic Ms. Halliday for plagiarism.
...We might not see eye to eye on the best place to raise our children, but we are all in the same boat.
I used to think that this expression meant that we all shared one boat, that your paddles are made lighter by the presence of others. That’s not what it means. Even on a good day, my paddles feel like they’re filled with buckshot. I’m willing to bet that every other mother’s do too. Shortly after you give birth, most of the activities that defined your identity are suspended to let you make apple juice, deal with somebody else’s snot and develop a lot of highfalututin ideas about television. You’re not being paranoid or melodramatic if you feel like you’re the only grown-up in your boat. The kids never leave the boat either, but what help are they with the paddles? Their arms are hardly bigger than celery stalks. Also, as delightfully surreal and repeatable as their beginning syntax might be, their conversation cannot sustain you through the tedious stretches. If it weren’t for those little kids waiting for you to harpoon a fish so that they can tell they don’t like fish, you’d go right over the gunwales. You can’t leave them to fend for themselves, even though they are the ones who got you into this mess. You’re stuck choking down soggy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in that leaky skiff.
The inviting blast of an ocean liner taunts you as it glides by, its portholes twinkling like a string of white Christmas lights. Damn the passenger list of merrymakers in bias-cut gowns and party hats. It’s always New Years Eve nineteen-thirty-something on the ocean liner. Too bad you’re missing it. Then in the middle of some dark night, when you’re up, dog tired, struggling to keep your sleeping children out of the bilge water, you notice another crappy little boat a few yards out. And another. And another. The ocean is fairly crawling with boats as crappy and little as yours. Each one holds a mother tethered to a baby, a sleeping toddler or a jacked-up-three-year-old still gibbering from an ill-advised late-afternoon sugar fix. We’re all in the same boat, all right. It smells like mildewed life preservers. There are millions of these boats in the sea. We shout to each other across the waves. Nobody will get offended if you have to interrupt her midsentence to seize your daughter by the ankle before she dives after a birthday party favor she dropped overboard, possibly on purpose.
So, yeah. I don’t always have a good answer for why I blog. But I think it might have something to do with waving out to the next little boat.
My great thanks go out to Ayun Halliday for writing this refreshing book.
If anyone would like more info about The Big Rumpus, A Mother’s Tale from the Trenches. I have added a link in the nightstand section of my sidebar.