Going Incognito

Sometimes a well mannered mother may find herself seated in an evening French class, at a downtown book signing, or even a lecture by a semi-famous person, surrounded by strangers, all of whom appear to have come from work, some in their twenties, others over 60, but by all appearances all without children at home! Has she entered a parallel universe? If she has come directly from a frenetic house full of cavorting children, even a well mannered mother may be tempted to make small talk with those seated nearby, with something like, “Sorry about the spit up on my sweater – you know babies!” Or, “Oh I love your orange bag -- my son loves anything orange.” Or, “how about that parking? Sure was hard to find a spot big enough for my mini-van.” However, in this situation, we suggest, “Don’t blow your cover!” Go incognito for the evening; try to pass. If someone attempts to make small talk, rack your brain for non-child-related topics, or better yet, pull up some conversation topics that you have stored just for this type of occasion: the antics of Stephen Colbert, the financial peccadilloes of the local library, or even the class/author/speaker that you currently await. Surreptitiously look around the room at all these people who live in this other world where one goes to work and then comes home to do whatever one feels like doing. Bask in the adultness of it all. Imagine some of your fellow audience members going home to their tidy households, where there are no toys on the floor, no backpacks or jackets spilling from the mudroom, no broken plastic party favors heaped on the kitchen counter. After they wake the next day, you can imagine that they may even sit in an actual chair at the breakfast table and peruse the paper or check email before heading out to their offices. Imagine if your life were this calm and orderly; remember what your life was once like. Then, think of your children, sleeping snugly in their beds by now (or at least picture them so) and think how happy you will be to see them in the morning. With all this imagining, you might not hear a word of the class, book reading or lecture, but you’ve gotten a lot out of the evening, nonetheless.

6 comments:

Megan said...

I cannot even imagine doing such a thing! ;)

Sometimes when I go somewhere with my little one, especially at night, people look at me disappointedly. "Why didn't you bring her?!?!" Um, I do love her, but there are times when we don't have to be attached at the hip. This would be one of them. Thanks.

RTP said...

this is really funny. as it turns out, my son loves orange too!

Elizabeth Baxter Butcher said...

what a coincidence!

Megan said...

And I meant to say "without my little one"! Yes...evidence of mom-brain turned to mush.

Who is Stephen Colbert???
;)

Anonymous said...

What great advice. It's definitely OKAY to leave the little ones at home on occasion!!

Elizabeth Hammond Pyle said...

Oh I know what that's like: when you get a rare night out and everyone asks for "the baby" as if you alone are not company enough. But of course its all with good intentions.

Plus, put Colbert link in the blog.

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