Friday, November 21, 2008

Sex and Suburbia, Never say Never

Sex and Suburbia, Never say Never
By Julie Stankowski

A week later and, yes, I am still a Carrie Bradshaw wannabe. What is it about that character that draws so many people in? Is it the ultra chic wardrobe? Is it her girl-next-door despite working for Vogue sweetness? Or is it the fact that, in spite of her absolute glamour, she personifies the typical gal. The gal in all of us who wants to look great, wants to pursue a career she actually enjoys, wants to be in love, wants a “Big” in her life, wants amazing girlfriends, but also has normal problems.

On the one hand, I like to think of myself as this fabulous Carrie Bradshawesque type of girl, who is sexy, stylish and of course, totally hip. On the other hand, however, I sometimes think of myself as this completely boring, unaccomplished mom whose biggest decision of the day is what to serve for dinner. My days are filled not with Jimmy Choo shoes, bottles of Crystal, CEO’s or IPO’s, but instead with a myriad of KIO’s “Kid-Issues-Oh how to handle them!”

KIO’s can range from minimal to severe. Think tiny pricks you-can-barely feel of botox injections versus a full-on chemical peel that leaves your face red, raw and blotchy and forces you to not leave your house for a week (remember Samantha with the black veil over her face at Carrie’s huge book party?). KIO’s can be as insignificant as your child wanting to survive on Captain Crunch alone for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or KIO’s can be much more serious. The stomach flu, for example, (aka vomit on your designer couch, Frette linens and the fabulous, expensive rug you bought on your cruise to Turkey). Or the ear infection (aka mind-numbing screaming for hours which starts at 1:00 a.m. when no doctor’s office is open and your children’s Motrin must be defective since it seems like a placebo with no effect whatsoever). Or, what about when your kindergartener comes home from school crying because her best friend yesterday is her arch enemy today and wouldn’t let her play with the “cool” group on the monkey bars (when did high school start at 5 years old?). Or, what about every mom’s most dreaded KIO, the biggest whopper of all, worse than your son throwing up all over your brand new Mercedes - - Lice!

Omigod - - the big “L”. A front row seat at Fashion week in Bryant Park wearing a designer Ralph Lauren suit and drinking a cosmopolitan versus hair fairies, Nix, vacuums, trash bags, sweats and laundry, laundry, laundry. Oh, and did I mention laundry? Okay, pretty clear, Carrie Bradshaw - - I am not (at least not this week).

But then I got to thinking. How would a married in suburbia Carrie Bradshaw deal with a massive KIO? Would she sit at her laptop, look out her window and ponder the philosophical reasons of what she did so wrong in her life that colic, chickenpox, bullying of her kids, or even the big “L” would be thrust upon her? The one issue she prayed she would never have to deal with. Worse than Miranda’s water breaking on Carrie’s brand new hot pink Manolos. Would she sit there scratching her head, wishing God would have given her a yeast infection instead? Would she call her good friends and whine and feel sorry for herself? And open a bottle of chardonnay and a pint of Coffee Haagan Daaz in the hopes that wine and ice cream would help drown her sorrows? Maybe. And maybe I am more like Carrie than I thought.

When you’re still single (and childless) in the city, you are quite sure of what your future will look like, and it does not involve any KIO’s. First, when you marry your prince charming, you will NEVER stop wearing sexy lingerie and you and your husband will continue to have sex at least 5 times a week. You will NEVER wear frumpy sweat pants and an old t-shirt when you leave the house. You will continue to wear your chic clothes (with high heels) even if you’re just dropping your kids off at school. Speaking of kids, yours will NEVER run around in a restaurant, screaming, going under the table and clanking their spoons together creating a headache-causing noise akin to the scratching of a chalk board. NEVER will your kids be allowed to act like that and NEVER will you be the kind of parent who accepts such behavior. And what about while you are at the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade watching those parents with three kids who are all attached to leashes, like they’re animals! What are those parents thinking? Treating their precious children like dogs? You will NEVER do that. And finally, your clean, well-dressed and well-groomed kids will NEVER get the big “L.”

However, you’ve now made that journey from single sex and the city to married sex and suburbia. You have 2.4 kids and a dog. And all of the sudden, you realize that the prior you was the most ignorant, na├»ve and judgmental human being alive. That realization hits you constantly, like a pesky fly which flew into your house while you were bringing in the groceries and you just can’t seem to catch (even with your really cute flip-flops-attached-to-a-stick fly swatter). And you discover KIO’s.

When dealing with a moderate to severe KIO in married suburbia, as soon as you walk in the door, you take off your bra (if you were even wearing one to begin with) and change from your sweats with no holes in them to the 15-year-old sweats which look like you bought them when Miami Vice was the hottest show on TV, but who cares, they’re the most comfortable clothes you own. Go away, fly. In KIO suburbia, after you’ve shuffled getting the kids to three different schools, soccer, ballet, softball, tutoring and religious school and after you’ve done snack, homework, dinner, baths and bedtime (all before your husband gets home from work), you crawl into bed yourself and go to sleep - - no lingerie, no sex, just Don Johnson-era sweats serving as pajamas. Go away, fly.

Now, when you are out to dinner, you ignore the fact that your kids are crawling under the table trying to pull some stranger’s chewed gum from underneath it just so you and your husband can have a moment of quiet, chew one piece of food in peace and finish one conversation (the conversation is about how soon you can get your parents to watch the kids for the weekend so the two of you can get out of town to have sex, something you haven’t done in months). Go away, fly. When you go to Disneyland and you’re freaking out about losing one of your kids in the happiest place on Earth, you curse yourself for not having a child leash with you. After all, it’s better to not lose your kids than to have judgmental childless thirty-somethings looking at you with a disapproving eye for “treating your children like animals,” right? Go away, fly.

In married suburbia, when your kids come home from school with the stomach flu, chickenpox or even the big “L”, you go into super-mom mode (because you have no choice). You call the hair fairies to come and do their magic on everybody’s heads. You make the dreaded phone call to the parents of the girl whose house your daughter had a sleepover the night before. You continue to comb the kids’ hair for hours and days on end, using oils, mayonnaise, potions, voodoo and anything else you’ve heard may help. You do more laundry and vacuuming than you ever thought was possible in a lifetime. During this time, you feel you are the epitome of the un-Carrie Bradshaw. You’re way more like Mrs. Cunningham (not that she wasn’t cool for her time, but you know what I mean).

And at the end of the day when you sit down at your computer to check your email and you are happily gazing at your peacefully sleeping, big “L”-free child, you may think to yourself that in suburbia, being a combination of Carrie and Marion is not so bad. You have a husband and kids you love and adore. You surprised even yourself that you could actually get through colic, vomiting, poop, bullying and the big “L” without having a nervous breakdown. You secretly enjoyed having sugar cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And despite all the KIO’s, you wouldn’t trade this week with anyone, even someone with a front row ticket to fashion week in NYC.

BUT, the fabulous sex and the city Carrie Bradshawish gal in you is yearning for some blingy-over-the-top-type of sexy fun. So you call your parents to confirm the babysitting arrangement for next weekend and you log onto Expedia to make reservations for a childless, KIO-free, alcohol, gourmet food and gambling filled weekend in Las Vegas. Dreaming of Martinis, Manolos and Men (well, your man, of course), you log off the computer and start putting away the kids’ toys so the house will be clean enough for them to mess it up again tomorrow. And there you are, almost ready to get into bed, not pondering what cute outfit to wear tomorrow, but instead, remembering your sex and the city days and thinking to yourself, I will NEVER use the word NEVER again.


CarrielovesBig said...

You would love

I think she's selling her blog.

Anonymous said...

SO funny and so true! You are a fabulous writer!!!!

Joslyn said...

Oh man can I relate to this one!! Loved it, Julie!