March 23, 2009

Panic Room

Do you like my self portrait?

I had my portrait painted centuries ago. He was an amazing artist to capture just the right angle and depth of a mother’s emotion. The face I made wasn’t because I had another diaper to change, or that my daughter plastered her body in honey, Vaseline, baby powder, and peanut butter….(I refused to take pictures of the peanut butter episode because by then, it wasn’t funny any more...)
(If you’re new to ‘Mean Mommy’—refer to previous posts for the full story.)

And I’m not making this face because my 3 year old ran out of the house into the front yard--stark naked--and I had to chase her down the block just to bring her back, bribing her with chocolate chips because she is a gifted sprinter and I could never catch up with her.
Nor is it because I walked barefoot into the pantry to grab my kids some snacks and stepped in water—but horrifically discovered—it wasn’t water.

The expression so perfectly painted on my face is because I have 4 kids. Notice in the picture that I am bald, having pulled out all of my hair. Mr. Clean has nothing on me. He thinks he’s tough—I have 4 kids. Imprison him in a room full of kids in a torturous day care experiment -- and he’d crack like an egg shell into a thousand pieces.
He’d cry like a baby when my kids were done with him.

And they say grown men don’t cry….
This painting should be dedicated to mommies everywhere. It was always a creepy picture to me, but truthfully, the more kids I accumulate, the more sense it makes to me. I know exactly what this picture is about.

This picture reminds me that I need a panic room.

Not the kind of room Jodi Foster runs to when the bad guys come to terrorize her home. In fact, she plays a great mom. She TOOK her kids to the panic room with her. How kind. She didn’t leave the bad guys any bait.

I need to construct my own one-of-a-kind panic room. The kind of room where I can flee from the whining, the tantrums, the messes...the smelly, odious, laundry…

I feel like I’m in a game called “terrorist.” I don’t like being the victim. Truth be told, it’s not my favorite game.

“MOM!” my daughter shouts from the opposite end of the house, in a voice football stadiums would pay top dollar to have her broadcast their games. “I just walked into the bathroom and there is toilet paper everywhere! The entire toilet paper roll is in the water and I’m not reaching in there and getting it out! And I have to go to the bathroom! UGH! And I slipped on the floor and now I’m all wet! My clothes stink!” (insert her gollum growl here) “It’s such a bad day! Everybody hates me!” she rants. “And plus, there is poop all over the--”

This is where I groan, squeeze my eyes shut, and block out the conversation. I flee to my panic room, my haven. Why is cleaning poop MY automatic job? I don’t want to do it either! Just because I’m home I’ve become the official toilet paper cleaning, scoop-out-of-the-water, pee scrubbing, poop mopping janitor.
“I’m young!” I sob. “I don’t want to spend every flippin’ day cleaning up someone else’s 'EWWW!”
Somehow when I, Cinderella, said the magical words “I Do” and my prince and I had kids—neither the mice, nor my fairy godmother— told me that as queen and ruler of this kingdom, I would become: “Poop Mommy.” (although, I have to confess that my 1 year old baby thinks the word “on” is squeezed in between those two words….and that’s another story…and too gross and NOT worth blogging about…the mice are sworn to secrecy…)

Needing to escape my world, I would run frantically down the hall, kidnapping the cookie jar on my flight and make a mad dash to my secret room. A trail of kids would follow, some crying because they’re wet with “stuff” and others would be screaming for snacks, but I would ignore it all as I punch in the secret numbers on the keypad (because I may as well go high-tech. Kids are smart these days, I need a fail-safe system.)
I punch in the code on the average-looking wall in my bedroom--but which is in fact--my secret bungalow. This is mama’s panic room.
Beyond my average looking wall is this:

Forget "open sesame." My magic words are: "Let me in! Let me in!" I pound on the door, frantically glancing over my shoulder as children are dangerously near. It opens promptly and I throw myself inside and kick the door closed and it automatically locks as it shuts.
Breathe in…..breathe out…..1,2,3…..breathe in…..breathe out…..

WoW. I can’t hear the kids anymore. The walls are super padded, I can hear nothing.

I have now entered HEAVEN.

“Welcome Camryn,” says a heavenly voice. (She’s related to Kit, Knight Rider’s cousin in fact.)

“Hello Kate,” I say, regulating my breathing.
“It’s been 4 hours and 22 minutes since your last visit on March 22nd. The temperature is a comfortable 74 degrees and the fridge is pleasantly stocked with fresh cookies and delectable pastries. Your Cheesecake Factory cheesecake just arrived twenty minutes ago.”

“Thank you, Kate,” I grin.
My favorite music begins to play. I dance “the happy mom dance” to the fridge and check my wonderfully stocked inventory. My body is tingling with anticipation. I load up my plate with everything sinful ever made on the planet and I plan to indulge. And because I am in heaven and this is my personal fantasy, I’m not going to gain a single pound.

I can hide out in here FOREVER.

I have entered a realm of perfection. It’s comfy, beautiful, organized, and most importantly--ALL MINE.

I recline on the world’s comfiest couch. It’s all soft and plush—no stains or markers scrawled all over it. Everything here is clean. And it smells like fresh, folded laundry. “Heaven,” I sing under my breath, taking a bite of my Cheesecake Factory cheesecake.
Everything in this moment is perfect. Who cares if the kids are banging on the door? I can’t hear a thing. I’m eating dessert, resting comfortably and feeling so good! Tonight, I won’t hear my thighs stretch out another inch in my jeans as I settle comfortably back on the couch.

I glance around the plush room full of indulgences. Everything I need is here—even a potty. No need to leave the room. There’s a TV with all my favorite shows tivoed, a computer, a phone—a private number—I now have the ability to make calls without being interrupted. AH! THE LUXURY!!

Sure, my panic room is a cell, but this is my personal heaven.
I stretch out on the plush couch and close my eyes. Soft music is playing. The temperature is just right. It’s quietI can take a nap….WOW.
Is this place for real?

A soccer ball slams against my head, dissolving my daydreams and I am painfully thrust back into “reality.”

“MOM!” my daughter yells and points at her sister. “She’s throwing balls in the house again!” (Yes, I am aware of that…) “And I STILL have to go potty!” she whimpers.

Well—there goes my daydream, but someday I plan to add an extension on to the house. Forget a secret garden. I want my own secret room.
Some people dream of having a bigger living room—I dream of a heavenly panic room—one where I can escape from the kids for awhile.

EVERY mom deserves a panic room, right?
At least--every mom deserves to dream.


Amy said...

I absolutely agree, the closet just doesn't do the trick does it??? So good idea about having all our favorite treats, Cheesecake Factory, yum yum, in there with no single pound gained. LOVE the idea. So how do we make this a reality??? We could become billionaires you know!! Loved this!!

tina said...

You are a funny lady. I love it! Have fun in your panic room today...

Heather said...

Oh you silly silly daydreamer! I have a dream also....I am traveling, all my kids are grown either in AWESOME jobs or getting straight A's in college to become the next genius. Now that all the kids are gone, and I am making TONS of money in my dream job my husband and I are traveling to all those exotic unreal places like.....OHIO, and ALASKA,(just kidding) more like SCOTLAND, and SPAIN, or the CARRIBEAN! We don't have to rush home, or take care of those little emergencies that kids somehow manage to make EVERY SINGLE DAY!....... and then the kids scream and I am back home...

although I do like the picture of you daydreaming at the kitchen table and a soccer ball slamming against your unsuspecting head. I can only imagine your facial expression and the painting that would make!!

AnnieAd said...

Loved it!! I S0-0-0-0 remember those days.