I am more and more convinced lately that women need at least a smidge of a secret life in order to maintain their feminine autonomy in the midst of motherhood. While this could come off as a very left-leaning feminist rant, I’m talking less about finding out one day that your very proper mother was a madame and more like sneaking off on an afternoon under the guise of “errands” to sit in the sunshine, steal an hour at the coffee house or get a manicure. Either way, having those simple recharges that make you feel fabulous, relieve the stress or let you go to the bathroom by yourself are what I consider the Motherhood Emergency Kit.
I have a couple of go-tos in the midst of a mom-related emergency (defined as I am either going to yell or burst into tears without serious intervention). The first is a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. While it would be lovely if someone sent them to me, there’s no way I’m waiting around to potentially suffer an unrecoverable blow to my already fragile psyche (at that point, it’s not always on the brink). I love going and buying the perfect bouquet for that day. It’s never the same, sort of like my mental state.
The second is chocolate. Years ago a close friend told me about the secret stash of good chocolate that she hides in her car. No kids allowed. I’m right there with her as chocolate disappears in our house faster than I can blink and I usually am on the short end of the stick (or the bar). I have a super secret stash located in an undetermined cave of chocolate that can be located only by estrogen. Chocolate-related emergencies are serious business. Being caught empty handed is akin to, well, let’s not go there.
Next on the list is the latest edition of a favorite magazine. This is my “I have a new magazine, you will be giving me time to read it” play. When a new issue of Chatelaine or Martha Stewart (I know, I am soooo not cool) come home, the crew knows that’s the code to leave mom alone for a while.
No emergency kit would be complete without a cocktail. Mine is and always will be lavender gin and tonics. When the gin comes home, mom is announcing that she is off duty for at least an hour.
When I go for a while without employing the emergency kit I have to pull out the big guns. Cut and color are when I reach Defcon 5 and pretty much can’t take any more. 2.5 hours at the salon makes any woman forgive and forget. The post-hair ride home is always bliss.
When a cocktail is out of the question, I resort to other liquid salves. Coffee is my cure-all for afternoon burn-out. Pretty much, if you are looking for me between 2 and 4 p.m. I am frequenting one of my favorite houses of sanity including Purple Onion Deli, The Zoccalo, Rhodos or – when complete desperate to caffeinate – Tim Hortons.
The zen trick in my bag is music. I have a secret mix of all things that – when hormonally challenged – will either make me remember some of the best times of my life or give me a reason to forget why I was about to lose my shiz in the first place. Music is one of those intimate, personal things that I selfishly keep to myself – at least the music in my emergency kit.
Finally, I take my camera with me everywhere. Ken said to me when he first bought me one that I should go find the beauty in the gray. That pretty much applies to the weather and everything else in life. My camera is like a reality-check lens and I take my best pictures when I stop by the side of the road alone.
I’ve got to go pack my kit up as it’s all over the house right now due to frequent use. Hopefully, I can go at least a few hours without digging to the chocolate stash.