Friday, June 22, 2012

There's a place in hell for me and my friends

Tonight's cocktail is a grapefruit gin and tonic. I was too tired to make anything fancy, so it's just 3 oz gin, 2 oz Ocean Spray grapefruit juice, mixed in ice-filled glass and topped off with diet tonic water. The staging of the photo reflects the average state of my dining room table on a weekday. Actually, I did clean it up a bit before taking the picture.

Honestly, I don't remember why the children's Motrin was there.

Just to editorialize about cocktails for another moment, why can't you get diet tonic water in small bottles? Regular tonic water, which does come in little bottles, is very caloric, which  seems wrong given that it doesn't taste like either bacon or chocolate. You can't get diet tonic in bottles smaller than one liter. Which means either (a) it'll go flat before I finish the bottle, or (b) I'm drinking too much gin.

Who needs this much?
On to the topic. Any mom will tell you that it is imperative to find mommy friends who aren't crazy, which is sometimes more challenging than you'd think.  Middle- and upper-middle class neighborhoods in major urban centers are vortexes of highly educated type-A women who approach raising children with the same level of control-freakish zeal that they have successfully applied to their careers. They think that they are supposed to be, and if they work frantically enough can actually be, Perfect Mommy. I'd describe Perfect Mommy, but it has already been done so well that you need to click the hyperlink and read, then come back.
Really? You fed your children McNuggets in front of the TV?
I'm just going to go over ... here.

Thankfully, much of Perfect Mommy Crazy Syndrome fades over time, because unless you are Gwyneth and have a professional staff, the center cannot hold.  Eventually you're going to find yourself pulling over for Happy Meals and letting the kids eat them in the car. Then you'll arrive home, turn on Elmo, pour yourself a large glass of wine, and realize that the world has not imploded. Welcome to the land of my people.

Elmo thinks Mommy looks like she could use a cocktail!
But in those early years, I thought I was the crazy one. The other stay-home moms I saw every day seemed to have it so together. And I just ... didn't. I would go to playgrounds, and between telling Tweak not to throw sand or pile-drive the other children, I would try to befriend the mommies. Most of them scared the crap out of me. They used calm sing-songy voices and spouted phrases out of child-rearing books I'd been too overwhelmed to read. Eventually I would crack a joke to break the ice. They would look at me like deer in the headlights, then go back to discussing which co-op preschool might be best for their little preciouses. I would back away slowly and try not to make eye contact. Usually this is when I would notice that Tweak had taken off his pants and was peeing on a tree. Again.

Then one day I was at an interminable Gymboree-style birthday party, trying to avoid having a seizure, and one of the mommies walked over to say hello. Within the first 15 minutes she made a dick joke, and after I finished clearing my airway from the cake frosting I'd inhaled, I knew I had found a friend. It all fell into place from there, and I have a wonderful stand-up posse of mommies who I am proud to call friends.

When I decided to leave my ex, one friend flew in from upstate New York and convened our mutual friends so that they could collectively assure me (repeatedly) that everything would be all right. When I moved out, another friend spent a day riding around in a U-Haul with me for moral support to get all the Craigslist items with which I was furnishing my new place. Then she and two others of the crew came to the house with tools to help me get everything in the kids' rooms hung up, installed, and put away. My mommy friends have been bedrocks of strength and have assured me that I'm not crazy or horrible and that whatever whacktastic things my kids might do, their kids have done the same or worse.

But what I like best about them all is that they share this with me:

When I was a little tyke, I remember an earnest churchlady Sunday school teacher describing heaven as "a big church service that lasts forever and ever." I don't personally believe in an afterlife (not that there's anything wrong with that), but if there is a heaven, and it's really like that, I'll pass.  Instead, I envision a trendy martini bar on a pretty little corner in hell, upwind from the lakes of fire where the truly evil people go to suffer. There's great music, stimulating conversation, and kick-ass cocktails. No jackholes allowed. Every time one of my friends says something completely inappropriate, irreverent, raunchy, or sarcastic, I get a warm fuzzy feeling about how much I'm looking forward to spending eternity there with them.

Image from Vlad Solomon Photography


  1. "Guess what Elmo's thinking about today...ya ta ta TA! Vodka!"

  2. "Oh, look! Here come Mommy's friends, Mr. Martini Glass, Ms. Vermouth, and the Three Dancing Olives!"

  3. my god woman... there IS place in my hell for you! we have VERY good parties there.

    check out the link:

    i think you'll like!

    1. Definitely! I remember once someone describing heaven to me as a church service that never ended. I have to say, I'll pass. The bar service at church is *terrible*.


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