This week was a particularly hard week for me. VBS/Camp was fun, but with some work commitments changing for my husband (basically he has to work more and be away more), my oldest son starting football (I worry about him getting hurt and the time commitment is flipping insane) and my feeling of life simply spinning out of control. I needed something to get me feeling better. A good run, which is what I did this morning. And I found a new song that I am obsessed with that helped me get my swagger back, Otis by Kanye West and Jay-Z.
All of you may be surprised by my love of angry rap music. Sure I let the cat out of the bag that I love eighties hairband music. But there is nothing like a good angry rapper. Even though I am honest right now about my love of rap, I do get the irony. Me, a suburban, white, church going, custom van driving, married mother of four who is in love with Kanye West. Not their typical demographic I assume.
The classic scene from the movie Office Space comes to mind where the guy is rapping Tupac's music in traffic until he sees a black man coming by. That clip is funny (and you can watch it at the end of this entry).
Kanye's music, along with some Eminem, T.I., Missy Elliot and Nicki Minaj and classic Tupac are all on my playlist. This music is the only music I can run to. I tried to run while listening to soothing, folk music (which I also love) but I ran waaaaayyyy too slowly. I tried listening to Miss Tina Fey's book BossyPants on my ipod while running and was laughing waaaayyyy too much; I decided it was a better idea to drink wine or eat ice cream, or both in bed while listening to the fabulous Miss Fey read her book to me.
So why do I run like an angry young black man? Why do I find such joy in running to music that makes me feel like saying f-you to all my haters?
Because I have some inner rage, more like frustration. This is where I start complaining about being a stay at home mother and mothers that work roll their eyes. I get it, the whole "mommy wars." I want to clarify, even though my frustration grows with doing so, that motherhood is hard. Parenthood is hard. Being responsible for little people and making sure they grow up with the right nutrition, values, kindness, activities, opportunities and education can be and most of the time is completely overwhelming on a good day.
But being a stay at home parent is different, especially today. There are many days when I feel the need to defend how I spend my days and I feel pressure to keep the house clean and cook great dinners. I feel like Betty god-damn Draper from Mad Men. My husband doesn't make me feel this way. I do it. I feel like I chose this path and had the great fortune to be able to do so (you know I mean fortune as in luck, unfortunately not personal wealth!), so I better make the most of it.
I think a lot of women are like this. We are an educated lot, we mothers of small children. Many moms I know that stay home left great jobs to devote time to their kids. Many moms left great dreams to devote time to their kids. And yes, most of them are happy a lot of the time and they love their kids and all that jazz.
BUT....there is frustration. It may be because the pay off or the results take so long to see...the goal is to raise happy, well adjusted adults who can cope. Seriously? I am going to be completely nuts by that point.
There are many days that I feel unworthy, inadequate and like I am failing.
I told my father recently that I felt like I just wasn't doing anything right and everything was falling apart. He looked at me after spending a week with two of my children and said "You must be doing something right because those kids are wonderful."
Well I didn't hear anything else anyone said, their voices turned into the grown up's voices on a Charlie Brown cartoon.
I guess we don't have to wait until they are grown up to have some results.
But on those days when I need to say f-you to my haters, there is the rap music. Stay-at-home mothers generations ago had Betty Friedan, today we have Kanye, Jay-Z and Nicki Minaj. They aren't rapping about my issues exactly, but damnit they help me get my swagger back (as Jay and Kanye would say).
And of course I only download the clean version...again with the conservative mom side coming out.