So I’m sitting here in my damn pants, as I have for the past four months. What are the damn pants, you ask? I didn’t coin the term–my friend Marina’s husband Ryan did. As in, “Are you wearing those damn pants again???” Many years ago she agreed not to wear the same goddamn pants every day. I, however, have only recently embraced the freedom of schlump. Given that I’m on maternity leave and living in Rockridge, close to Berkeley, where the fashion bar is low indeed, it’s not surprising. It’s impressive, really, that I pull off my PJ pants to put the damn pants on anyway, isn’t it?
For who would care, around here? I swear people wear their pajamas to get groceries. I see my neighbors, and they’ve seen me, in states of schlump absolutely unacceptable in the city. There, even my choice of hoody was carefully considered. On a hungover Saturday morning, would I wear the dark gray one with the black skateboard-inspired graphic, or the black one with the light gray graphic? Today, everything I have has washed to the same charcoal shade, so it REALLY doesn’t matter anyway. I haven’t bought new clothes since my large and disheartening expenditure on maternity garb. Until I bought my damn pants, that is.
Fine, I’ll share my very Rockridge/Berkeley clothing secret with you: I’ve got expensive fat pants. They’re from this place called Lululemon, and they’re called Groove Pants. (The name of them is so embarrassing I feel like I’m confessing to eating Ding Dongs, which by the way, I’ve also done recently.) But, I’m telling ya, they’re COMFORTABLE! And they kinda make me look like I’m in slightly better shape than I am. In all honesty, I’m fatter than I’ve ever been. It’s okay, I’m not that worried about it. People keep telling me that I look great, and I know it’s ’cause I’m happier than I was a year ago. Happiness, not slenderness, is the elusive elixir everyone’s looking for. And oh yes: Groove Pants. Of course. Of course.
While I’m being honest, I’ll also say: it’s not easy to be calm, even when you’re at home caring for one of the most chill babies in the universe. ‘Cause you see, I’m still me. And while I’ve taken one of the longest maternity leaves I’ve ever heard of in inhumane America, it’s been hard to stay “in the moment” and not count my days. I can’t spend the time I have worrying about how it will be in the future.
My friend Rachel gave me a book called “Buddhism for Mothers.” Other friends have mentioned a book called “Zen Mama.” I’ve also strongly considered doing regular mindfulness meditation, but I haven’t quite got it locked and loaded. Even finding 20 minutes every day seems like an impossibility, though I believe it would really help quiet my chattering brain.
Are there any working parents out there that are able to balance all of it? For that matter, are there stay at home parents who feel content? Let’s talk about it. I want to share your secret sauce, ’cause I think all of us deserve to have rich, fun, and meaningful lives.
I’ll take off the damn pants when I go back to work, but meanwhile, I’m gonna enjoy them.