If Clark Kent Were a Working Mom

by Abby on July 18, 2011

SuperwomanI’ve said before that my days seem to end up being either all work or all play. (And by “play,” I mean feeding and caring for 2 rambunctious sons.) It’s like I’m mostly Mommy with an alter ego, Writer Woman, who occasionally puts on some lipstick and shows up for meetings. Last week was no exception.

“I like your shoes, Mom.” Given that I am married to a man who doesn’t notice when I get a haircut, I find it funny that my sons are so observant. Both of them were awed by my “work” footwear – patent-leather wedges, instead of my usual flip-flops. (BTW, for someone unaccustomed to heels, being suddenly taller was a weird sensation.)

Who, me, a professional? It wasn’t until I arrived at my first appointment that I realized the parking lot was directly in front of the glass-walled entrance to the office building. Meaning that my snack-strewn Subaru with the car seats and the pool noodles popping out of the back was clearly visible to everyone entering or leaving the building. All that was missing was an “I’m Proud of My Preschooler!” bumper sticker.

No one knows I’m a mom. Separated from my car, however, it was strange and liberating to realize I could walk amongst regular civilians without wearing my mom identity on my sleeve. What I mean is, in my regular day-to-day life I am clearly The Mom, with the diaper bag and small sticky people in tow to prove it. Without them, I could be anyone – an international spy! A ruthless business tycoon plotting a hostile takeover! A Brazilian supermodel! OK, not that.

It’s all coming back to me. As I sat and wolfed down overpriced cafeteria food in my stiff clothes, memories of my former life came flooding back. The parking passes, the conference rooms. The camaraderie with coworkers, the office jargon and inside jokes, the daily hunting-and-gathering of lunch (sushi or sandwich today?), the smells of coffee and burnt microwave popcorn, the sea of cubicles, the view from the 14th floor.

And when it was all over, like Superman slipping into the phone booth to transform back into Clark Kent, I climbed into my cluttered car and headed home amidst piles of file folders and pool noodles. Back to my laptop, my flip-flops and my small sticky people. The best of both worlds.

TIP O’ THE DAY: I asked my English-teacher mother whether to use “was” or “were” in the title of this post. Here’s her answer, for all you grammar enthusiasts:

If Clark Kent WERE (it’s called a “contrary-to-fact condition” and is therefore in the subjunctive…) You’d say “If I were Queen” (but you’re not).

Good to know! And thanks for pointing out that I’m not the queen. 🙂

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Lou Mello July 18, 2011 at 7:59 am

I think we all have an alter ego of some type or another. You are Super Mom and Writer Professional and it works.

My wife, the lovely Miss TK, says that she can always tell who I am when she hears my “business voice” as compared to the Lou guy. I guess that’s probably true as I know that I am so much more relaxed away from the office environment where time and things to do are always at odds.

The weekends are usually when I can be the “Lou guy” and just enjoy friends, TV, doing the yard and generally just goofing off.

Glad to see you get to do the “Writer Professional” all dressed up and in tall shoes every so often. It’s probably fun now and then since you know you get to go home to the little sticky creatures. 🙂

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Kim July 18, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I love this!! It feels strange to me when I am out alone and without my daughters who label me as a mother. I like Lou’s comment, too, how even on the weekends we can be different than who we are during the week. When my husband comes home at the end of the day in his military uniform, the firs thing my daughters want him to do is put on his “daddy clothes.”

I too feel liberated when I am out in town alone, writing in a cafe, but the feeling doesn’t happen often enough so I am not entirely comfortable with it. It feels too foreign in some way. I still enjoy it though!

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Angie Mizzell July 25, 2011 at 12:08 am

I had a meeting Friday, and when I dropped my kids off with another mom friend (a mental health counselor who traded in her shingle for raising children–hmmm, irony?) she was like, “Wow! Look at you with your sassy shoes and makeup.” I didn’t realized I had become so far removed from the professional version of myself, but apparently the “mom” me and the “off to a meeting” me look just a wee bit different.

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