Friday, April 8, 2011

Book Clubs, Lutherans, and Mommy Blogs

I’ve reached a phase in my life where I need community and social networks to reaffirm this decade's decisions; which have led to the following reality slash non-dating website bio: 32 years old, married, career oriented, slightly neurotic, Mommy. I've gotten past the sleepless nights and the crippling anxiety that tells me it's logical to link my success as a mother to whether or not my son's nursery has matching furniture but I'm still trying to find that 'not hanging by a thread and a hostess cupcake' balance that I so desperately crave.

So, the only sane thing to do is acknowledge it's time to join a book club, find a progressive church I can force raise my family in without feeling like a hypocrite/traitor to all my lefty, inclusive politics, and lastly, get back in touch with my 'creative side' by reading and writing blogs (IE: find an 'outlet' for the all consuming crazy-mommy inner monologue that quite frankly, needs a new home, because my brain is getting a little tired).

But. You know. These are serious pursuits and take a lot of time to ponder, plan, and implement. And I don't have a lot of time because, in addition to parenting and working full-time, my Wednesday evenings are already booked with 'Teen Mom' and 'The Bachelor'. But despite these obstacles I seem to be on a roll. I am officially...

1) In a book club (attended 2 session, read 0 books, consumed a lot of wine. Check)

2) Contributing $2 dollars regularly into the pass-around-donation-basket at the ‘We Love Everybody Lutheran Church’. If that’s not commitment I don’t know what is. I even baked cookies for the Pastor (WHO IS A WOMAN!AS IN, NOT A MAN! MOM AND DAD, HOW WILL YOU EVER GET ME BACK TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH NOW?!!) and signed up for the “Homosexuality and the Church” workshop. Basically, I’m to the point where I can comfortably make statements like, "Well, as a Lutheran we believe...." and pretty much piss off anyone standing next to me in the room. Mission accomplished. And I have somewhere to go on Easter.

3) Dutifully stalking reading a set of well known 'mommy bloggers' who I view, hypothetically, as part of my closest friend circle (they are unaware of this development). I can read their posts everyday during my lunch break or while ignoring my husband at home. Following these blogs helps me fine tune my best skills: secretly coveting other people's lives and, alternately, self righteously judging and condemning them in a very enthusiastic manner. In addition to the massive personal growth opportunities this activity provides, I've also won a year's supply of free toilet paper by being a regular commenter on Girls Gone Child. Nothing more to say there. Justification DONE.

I have some theories about my need to fill the scary black hole that consists of the universal questions we all struggle with everyday: What happens after we die? Am I a good mom? How did that bag of McDonald's get into my car? Why does my hair look like this? How does one end haunting nightmares about rotten bananas hiding everywhere? But, instead of exploring these important questions further (let's leave that for the therapist) I'll indulge in why I think Church, books I would never read if left to my own devices, and hip-bloggy-moms are FAR SUPERIOR (fighting words? I think so!) to some other Portlandia sanctioned lifestyle activities that I have neither the pretention, energy, or patience for:

FARMER'S MARKETS: I'm very anti-farmer's market (I'll post more on this later and get everyone really hopped up mad at me) so I can't spend my Saturdays filling a basket with beet greens and chard.

HIKING: Hiking is out. (It doesn't involve a lot of sitting around, so I don’t do it.)

POUNDING THE PAVEMENT IN A NORTHFACE FLEECE(say that three times fast!): I'm not joining a mommy-baby-jogger group. Not happening. Same reason listed for #2. Look it up.

PROTESTING: I already attend a lot of sign waving rallies for my job (YEAH!) So, that can't really count as a hobby. Although I do love me some good protesting. Not gonna lie. Getting arrested is just icing on the cupcake.

To summarize, can I just say this about the book club: I really believe the driving force for joining these things (every single one of my friends in their 30's is in one) is that none of us have read anything besides US Weekly since we were in college. And, like, we've built our whole life on being smart and intellectual and feminist and stuff. Hence the internal embarrassment we feel when trying to figure out our answer when asked, "What have you been reading lately?" at all the non-existent dinner parties we think we are going to be invited to or host.

The book club is our fail-safe.We can just say "Well, you know we are actually reading ___________ in Book Club right now. It wouldn't have been my choice, but I'm actually finding it quite interesting." My other motivation for joining a book club is to co-opt all the members and start a alternative one where we read trashy romance novels and/or just watch TV. And then, somewhere deep inside our hearts, we'll feel a little smug and safe. Which is what we all secretly crave. Right? That and beet greens.