To Dion’s (a la Runaround Sue) “Dream Lover”
I bet Dion’s mommy made him all those sweaters.
Every night I hope and pray a dream mother will come and stay
A mom to do my all my chores so I can lay back and snore
Because I want, a mom, to take care of me
I want a dream mother, so I don’t have to be an adult
Dream mother, where are you?
This life is more than I can chew
I want your hand to hold
Like when I was a ten-year-old
Because I want, a mom, to pay my bills
I want a dream mother, so I don’t have to go to work
Some day, I don’t know when
I’m gonna be a kid again
So what about Thing One and Two?
Well, she can be their mom too
Because I want, a mom, to do my laundry
I want a dream mother, so I don’t have to wash undies
Dream mother, you aren’t real
How am I supposed to feel?
I can’t take care of me
Maybe I can get a nanny?
Because I want, a mom, to live my life
I want a dream mother, so I can finally take a nap
“What a drag it is getting old.”
Oh, Rolling Stones, you do know what you’re talking about. And I’m not just saying that because all of you are incredibly old. I mean, Mick Jagger is 70. Fortunately, he was always ugly, so it’s not like he could look much worse. And I’m fairly sure Keith Richards actually is dead, but is now performing onstage as a zombie. But, looks aside, you guys write some pretty good songs. Songs with maybe a bit too much truth.
“Things are different today,”
I hear ev’ry mother say . . .”
That’s for sure. I mean, yes, we have a lot more technology than mothers did 50 years ago. On the other hand, we have a lot more technology than mothers did 50 years ago. We have washers and dryers, which makes cleaning clothes easier, which means we clean our clothes more often. Wait – what did we save here? We’re no longer trapped in the home. Nope. Now we get to work and get trapped in the home after work. Yes, it’s – it’s different today.
“Cooking fresh food for a husband’s just a drag
So she buys an instant cake and she burns her frozen steak.”
Hell, yes. I do love frozen food. I mean, it’s food, and you heat it up. And then you can eat it. But wait – that’s not good, they say. Oh, no, you should eat only organic. Organic vegetables. And then you should use one of those things, you know, those cookbook things. And cook from scratch. It’s so much healthier that way. What do you mean you’re tired because you worked all day, either racing after children or digging through paperwork, or both? You are woman! Roar! But not too long, you have to get supper on the table.
Unless you have your husband do it. Me, me! I’m raising my hand here. Not only that, I often get my husband to cook with frozen steaks and cakes! I am a horrible mother, according to Parents, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, and every other women’s magazine. Well, except for Cosmo. All you really have to do in Cosmo is find unique ways to give your man pleasure. Well, Cosmo thinks you need unique ways, but really, all you need is you minus the clothes. At least that’s what humor writer Dave Barry says, and I’ve yet to have a man disagree with this assessment. But there’s just one problem . . .
“They just don’t appreciate that you get tired
They’re so hard to satisfy. You can tranquilise your mind . . .”
No shit. I mean, you do get tired. In fact, I do believe I’ve been tired ever since I got pregnant with my first child. And it has never, ever stopped. Tired. Always. So much so that I made my username in one forum Tired42. And I’ve devoted more than one blog post to this phenomenon. Kids + Spouse / Significant Other + Life = Freaking Tired. It’s a complex equation, but you’ll figure it out if you decide to let yourself become an adult. I’m told that people without children also get tired. I don’t know. I got married and 18 months later I was a Mommy, and I freaking don’t remember anything before that. Really. I mean, I think there was a childhood in there, and some college, and a wedding . . . and . . . yeah I’m getting nothing here. Sometimes my husband and I just sit together, both exhausted, and ask “What do people without kids DO?” We have no idea.
“Life’s just much too hard today,”
I hear ev’ry mother say
The pursuit of happiness just seems a bore . . .”
Yes, it’s the whine of the privileged American. Life is hard. I realize it’s nothing like what people in third world countries go through. On the other hand, those people, if you look at pictures, often look happy! I highly doubt poor African women spend time criticizing the child rearing techniques of their neighbors. “Hey, Nala, I practice attachment parenting. I wear my baby all day and nurse her and sleep with her at night.” Nala looks at her and says, “Yeah, so do we all. It’s cause if we set baby down, she’s eaten by a wild animal, you idiot. And we breastfeed because our water sucks and using formula is unhealthy here. And we sleep with the kid because hey, we don’t have another bed. You are not so special. Pick up a hoe and get back to work.”
Okay, maybe they don’t have conversations quite like that. They also probably don’t consider the pursuit of happiness. Like, hey, I have a hut and some crops and most of my family is alive – I’m good! Whereas here in the states, it has to be a house with at least 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, and you must have a high earning job, and your kids must be involved in several activities as well as make straight As, and on and on and on . . . And after all of that, a woman gets to bed, and she can’t sleep, because her mind still turns.
“Mother needs something today to calm her down
And though she’s not really ill
There’s a little yellow pill
She goes running for the shelter of her mother’s little helper
And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day.”
This song was originally written back in 1966. Three years before, the drug Valium was approved for use in the United States. Valium is a tranquilizer in a class of drugs that revolutionized the treatment of anxiety. It was safer than drugs that came before it. You could get it through your family doctor. And guess who most users were? If you said women, bingo, you get a gold star. Or maybe a little yellow pill. Take your pick.
This song touches a bit of a, pardon the pun, chord in me. I take a tranquilizer. At first I feared that I would get addicted. I asked my psychiatrist’s nurse. She said, “Yes, Alice, you could get addicted – if you took half a bottle every day.” See, I take a very small dose. But still, I need that dose. And sometimes it feels like I need it more and more. How else to get through my busy day?
How do any of us get through our stressful, busy days with the many, many demands upon us? They’re different for different people, but everyone deals with stress. Whether it’s work stress, or being without work stress, or children stress, or chronic disease stress, or holy crap why did I get married stress – whatever it is, it’s stress. And we have it in spades. And we all need helpers. But at some point, we have to figure out how to relax. Or no pills, or yoga techniques, or spa treatments are going to help us. As the song says,
“They just helped you on your way through your busy dying day.”
Personally, I’d rather live. But the rest of the world won’t slow down. I’m not sure when I got on this ride, but I wanna get off.
“A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
At the end of it all, I am fortunate to have enough energy to bathe myself and flop into bed. Except then I have the elusive free time, which I can use to keep myself up longer and thus make the next day even harder. I am always running, it seems, just to stay in place. Often I think that I don’t really do anything, as the house is in constant disorder, and I’m always forgetting stuff like appointments, library books, and the location of my glasses. But then I get sick – as I am now – and I realize that I do stuff. I stay in place. When I’m sick, I fall a few steps back, and I see that the house can look worse as it edges toward getting us a guest spot on “Hoarders”. Oh, my husband helps, but it takes two, especially when one also has things to do, like play with tools. So I am hoping that the doctor, after relieving me of that burdensome 30 dollars, will cure me so that I can once again stay in place. And maybe, just maybe, I can run twice as fast one day, and get somewhere else.
I wonder what that place might be?