Hip Mom: Cures for the Hip Mom Blues
Lately I have been suffering from a bit of a mom funk. You know the feeling: The same mad rush every day to get kids here and there – but you don’t get a raise, gold medal or even a thank you; the sometimes soul-deadening routine of driving in the same two-mile square, around and around, with never a glimpse of new scenery. Oh, and the housework: The Sisyphean task of cleaning up three meals and four hundred snacks and the resulting million and three crumbs in a 16-hour period. Layer on top of this a case of mid-pregnancy blahs. And the peed-on toilet seats…OK, OK, this is getting bleak!
So, how do you wrestle yourself out of a mom funk? Of course, I’m not talking about full -fledged depression here; if you can’t get out of bed, are losing or gaining an excessive amount of weight, want to hurt yourself or your kids, please see a professional! But if you, like me, are suffering from garden variety ennui, surely there are some mojo-building, low-tech remedies in this town.
Luckily my girlfriends come to my rescue when I pose this question: Is there anything you do regularly that accrues no benefit to your husband or your children? Some little self-indulgent dalliance (no, not a pool boy!), the sole redeeming value of which is that it is simply FUN – for you, the mama? To get you out from under the crumbs and 18 tons of laundry? And I get some offbeat, enjoyable ideas beyond the tried and true going-to-the-gym or girls’ night out.
One friend, Debbie H., has an idea I never would have come up with on my own — she ice skates! Just recently she signed up for private lessons right here at the Oilers Ice Center at 61st and Mingo. She takes lessons three times per week during their public skate time at 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. And Debbie, a mom of two boys, finds that she feels like a glamorous girly princess during her lessons. The lessons are relatively cheap – just $20 for an hour and a half, plus a $7 skate rink fee (which can be purchased in bulk at a discount). And while Debbie skates just for fun, it is also a great workout – she is using muscles she didn’t even know she had. But mostly she just has a great time, feeling like a teenager skating around without a care – or a kid - in the world. How liberating!
Another good friend, Melissa C., a mom of three, suggests I check out the River City Trading Post in Jenks. I had never heard of this emporium, but head over the river to Jenks’ Main Street. I don’t know how I could have missed this place – it is huge! River City Trading Post is a vast warehouse filled with a maze of booths that vendors rent for a monthly fee. In fact, there is a two-year waiting list to rent a booth. Once you’re inside, you feel like you’re in an Oklahoma version of a bustling Moroccan souk — so much stuff everywhere! If you love to search around through flotsam and jetsam to find treasures on the cheap, this is the place for you. A serious bargain hunter could spend hours here perusing clothes, furniture, knick knacks, books and really almost anything you can think of. I found a darling pink vintage-looking desk that my daughter could use in a few years – and look! A funky Chanel purse! So if you need a little atypical retail therapy that won’t slaughter your pocketbook, come spend some time at the River City Trading Post.
If you have a saintly partner who will take over mommy duty for you for a couple of days, my dear friend Karen F. has another suggestion: STITCH CAMP! Now I’ll admit that the word “Stitch” in that little phrase gives me a minor case of hives – I am about as crafty as 16-year-old boy. But Karen (who actually is a crafty goddess!) goes for more than just the opportunity to stitch, but for the camaraderie of a great group of women who have a cross stitching mission like her. Camp Wannasew is just an hour’s drive out of Tulsa in Oklahoma’s Sequoyah State Park near Fort Gibson. The program is hosted four weekends per year, in March, April, October and November, by the Silver Needle at 61st and Sheridan. The Park has a full service restaurant and a “Bunkhouse” that holds bedrooms for four to six. Camp Wannasew even imports a massage therapist for the weekend.
So, food, maybe a massage, and then all the time in the world to stitch away (wonder if I could get away with going and just reading US Weekly…? Alas, the lady from Silver Needle is pretty adamant that attendees know how to do needlework. Darn!). Karen, who goes with her friend Sherry annually, says it’s so nice to escape with no pressure to look good or be responsible for anyone else; your only job is to sit around in your comfy mom pants, relax and enjoy yourself.
Finally, my girlfriend Heather R. alerts me to a wonderful new phenomenon — fun painting class that involves wine! Oklahoma Canvas meets at various restaurants around town – Chimi’s and Abuelo’s are some usual venues – and they supply you with paints, brushes, aprons, and a painting for you to recreate. You will bring home your own 16 x 20 masterpiece (well, I suppose if you didn’t drink TOO much wine.) I check out the festivities at Abuelo’s one night, and the class is full of attentive painters following an original floral painting by Bekki Reynolds, the owner. But she also recreates it step-by- step right along with you. So you spend a creative night eating, drinking, painting, chatting and laughing – sounds like heaven for a mom starved for conversation that doesn’t involve poop jokes.
Oklahoma Canvas posts its calendar on the website, and you can register for whatever venue you like, or whatever type of painting or artist piques your interest. Sometimes you will be painting an original painting by Bekki; other times Bekki brings in a local artist to showcase his or her talents. You can also host a private party through Oklahoma Canvas — a little more interesting and original than just a girls’ night out.
Clearly, Oklahoma Canvas is on to something because a similar company, Pinot’s Palette, just opened in March on Cherry Street. Here, you go to the studio, bring your girls and a bottle of your favorite wine and enjoy a painting class, too. Recent paintings include works by Van Gogh and Monet – works even those of us who didn’t major in art history love.
So, I think it’s time to take my own advice. I need to drag my pregnant butt out from under the table where I’m picking up individual grains of rice and get out of the house for a minute for a little mommy adventure – where I can think about something besides homework, soccer practice and whose turn it is with the still-wet markers. Because a mom in a funk isn’t good for anyone!