When you become a parent, you enter into a form of madness. ‘Perfect Madness’ as Judith Warner lays out in her book of the same name. You lose sight of how frantic, neurotic, and completely illogical your day-to-day decisions become. Any mother can tell you of times when she’s set the half-naked children out on the sidewalk to sell. Or about the time she somehow agreed to carry three book bags, an oboe, two sweatshirts, a water bottle, and three illegally picked flowers home from school all while having inane conversations like this one that I had today with my seven-year old daughter Katriel:
Me: “How was your day?”
Me: ” Why?”
K: “The vision!”
Me: “The vision? What kind of vision?”
K: “I don’t know. It was so complicated.”
Me: “Complicated to see, or complicated to interpret? I mean, where were you when you had this vision? At lunch? On the playground?”
K: “What? What are you talking about? I said DIVISION!”
These episodes of perfect madness seem to be going on all around. One random act of crazy seems to be playing out on the national stage as I type this. There’s news today that in our newly agreed-upon budget cuts, we’ve collectively decided as a nation to slash funding for high-speed rail lines. Ugh! http://transportationnation.org/2011/04/11/high-speed-rail-takes-a-hit-in-budget-deal/ Like a woman who’s paid a babysitter and then been seated next to a table full of toddlers in a sit-down restaurant, I want to pull my hair out. We have lost our senses, folks! What better way to improve the economy than by creating jobs, creating infrastructure, creating more energy-efficient travel options for all?
As Judith Warner notes on the misguided notions of the modern-day mother, “How can we be so foolish? So caught up in trivialities? So small in our scope and in our concerns – so distant from the big issues?”
Our country is having a moment of perfect madness. I say we all need a time-out and a good, long nap!