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We’ve come a long way, baby?

January 9, 2010

So yesterday was Colonial Day for my daughter’s fifth grade class. It was just pure joy and exhilaration….not. It was pure fucking hell.

See, there’s this little thing called women’s lib? Feminism? However, apparently private schools in southern Orange County haven’t heard of these concepts. They think that doing stuff the old-fashioned way is “fun.” What kind of stuff, you ask? Oh, making corn husk dolls, cookies, soap, candles, quill on parchment, sewing quilts, stencil painting…the list goes on. And some of you are thinking, why that sounds like SO much fun? What is this woman’s goddamned problem?

Weeeelll, let tell you. Do I start with the fact that they wanted us to go out (or sew-hahahaha) costumes for this enjoyable day? Need I remind you, based on the descriptions above, that this was a very messy day? Most kids completely ruined the pricey costumes their parents had purchased for them at the stencil and quill tables (my station–more on that later) within minutes. I laughed in the face of…of…all this costume pressure and wore a peasant-y top I somehow still had from my pregnancy days w/ the boy child and yes, some jeans. Girl child had begged me not to wear jeans (“Mo-om, you’ll be the only mom there in jeans. It will be so embarrassing”) but I figure this won’t be the only time I will mortify her as a mother. She needs good source material for future therapy. Daughter also picked out clothing from her own closet and to her credit, she was pretty good about it–not that I gave her a choice.

Also, I kind of resented the fact that we women were placed back into the roles that we’ve spent literally what, one hundred years pushing our way out of. Where the heck were all the men? In my house, JP does most of the cooking or frankly, we wouldn’t eat. He does a good proportion of the laundry, and usually showers with the kids. And he grocery shops. Come to think of it, what the hell do I do? Damn…

My point? With the exception of maybe one dad (who was there to snap photos and didn’t want to get his hands, or little outfit with the silly kneesocks, dirty), it was just us moms there doing all this dirty work. No surprise there. Many moms at this school don’t work outside the home, and therefore have the “time” to volunteer for this kind of thing. However, I’d say that at least 30-40% of the moms there DO work and either took a vacation day or rearranged their work schedules to help out. Did the dads do that? Nooo. Because their jobs are what–more important than their children? I know that’s an extreme statement but come on! It’s just so sexist….

The work itself: okay, I get it. The kids (and in turn, us moms) were supposed to experience what life was like back in the day. Ugh. I don’t enjoy messy, and somehow, silly me, thought that quill writing and stenciling would be fun given my love of writing. Funny how I can still be naive at the age of forty-six. I didn’t know that the powers that be would decide that stenciling would be with globs of paint and that the kids, overstimulated from the structure of all the other activities, would decide that instead of lightly sponging small amounts of paint on their parchment, would rather oh, cover their entire hands with paint and act like my four-year-old and start smashing their hands all over their papers and the table. I kind of understood actually–I wanted to cover their little heads with paint at that point.

By the end of the day, my back hurt, I was covered with paint, and all I wanted was a drink. Thankfully, I wore jeans (!) and a top that washed up easily. I took enormous satisfaction when I noticed that the chick with the bustle and lace-up high-heeled booties was paint-splattered and whining by the end of the day as I whisked on by her to pick up my kids in my cozy low-heeled boots. I came home with a plate full of pretty yummy cookies that I washed down with an excellent dirty martini made by my wonderful husband–served to me as a I sat reading a mag with my feet up.

We’ve come a long way, baby.

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