I don’t know about you, but I became hooked on “The Amazing Race” this season. I loved the dynamics of each team, the strategy used to beat out the other teams to each destination, and seeing all these colorful and different places around the world the teams traveled too. It was like escapism for me, which really, isn’t that what good TV is all about?
I could nestle into my couch every Sunday evening and strap myself in for a ride around the world, soaking in the views and relishing in the personal drama and cat fights. I even got sweaty palms sometimes and grew to hate and love certain team members. Who doesn’t love a good cat fight on a Sunday night?
But then, a work conversation with a colleague got me to thinking. Suddenly I realized that maybe I like “The Amazing Race” because really, isn’t that what every day is like for the working mom? This particular unmarried colleague inquired about why I don’t use my GPS in my car en route home, what if I wanted to know where the closest Starbucks is?
I must have looked at him like he was growing 24 heads and had puss excreting from his pores at the same time, because I retorted “Starbucks? Dawdling? There’s no time for dawdling in my life. There’s no moseying around Starbucks as I make my way home. Not when I have a baby waiting for me and a Nanny anxious to get home to her kids.”
He was dumbfounded. His response: “God, your life sucks.”
And I was left thinking about my life.
Isn’t every day a race from Point A to Point B? Strap yourselves in Kittens, I’ll give you an example:
Camera Pans to KT, driving somewhat recklessly from the gym to her house, darting in the door, to start the first challenge of the day: Getting to work. Will she select option A – shower first, while husband feeds daughter, or feed daughter while husband showers?
Which option will allow her to squeeze in more coffee time, is really how she deliberates over that choice.
Morning progresses to switching back and forth between baby duty and getting dressed for work, all the while squeezing in quality time with daughter and short fragments of conversation with husband. Viewers wonder – can KT pull off a high fashion outfit while getting dressed in the dark and sucking down coffee and putting on makeup? How does she manage to look like Gisele each and every day, you find yourselves thinking?
Surely I have a stylist and my hairdresser is my BFF, Jessica Simpson style, right? Isn’t that how all gals roll?
That is how it would play out on TV, anyway. Really – KT is left wondering – how does post baby body look in that pre-baby outfit? Rule #1 – any hint of camel toe, undress immediately.
But really, the first true challenge of the day is driving to work…camera pans to KT as she weaves in and out of traffic – green lights – they are my best friend at this point in time. Slow drivers and red lights, my mortal enemies. Out of my way, is what I say, as I honk and wave my fist, darting past them, hoping they aren’t psycho paths with road rage even if that’s how I’m driving…
Afterall, like the Amazing Race participants, mere seconds can count towards how the rest of the day plays out. No time is meant for lolly-gagging around town. Even if I’m perpetually late.
The days of lollygagging came out with my memory and my placenta.
Same is true for the weekends. Which line is shortest at Target? What time is Trader Joes the least crowded? How fast can I cross the beltway, run these errands and get home before darling daughter arises from her nap?
I can spot the childless a mile away. They dilly dally through the mall, glance in store windows and wonder if they will peruse that store or move on to the food court.
Hell – those people will be my lunch if they don’t move out of the way!
Sometimes I look at them with longing, and think about the days of yore, the good old days of free afternoons with nothing to do.
But there’s not much time for that. I have to meticulously plot out each fragment of each weekend when darling daughter is napping so as to maximize the most of that time – finish all the tasks, cram in my garden time or gym time, stock up on groceries – whatever it is that needs to be done.
Unfortunately for me, I’m not given a GPS tracking device, an envelope of money or free trips from Expedia.com for winning each different segment. Hell, I’m lucky to have fresh clothes from the dry cleaner and a baby that sleeps in until 7:20 on a Saturday morning instead of 6:45am.
But really – the thing is – my life doesn’t suck. That’s really what struck me most about my conversation with my work colleague. I sorta thought his life sucks if he’s looking for a Starbucks at 6pm on a random Tuesday.
I’m thrilled to not have the time to dawdle around Starbucks on my way home from work because it means more time with my darling daughter and more time to see whatever small pleasure she gleans from our backyard that day. Plus you can get away with camel toe and tight clothes in your own backyard.