Last week, Smartmom tried to wean herself from writing about her children — but it was just hopeless.
I mean, how do you stop fixating on the people with whom you share a rather cramped Park Slope apartment?
For one thing, they leave their clothing like a Hansel and Gretel trail from the front door to the bathroom to their bedrooms.
Smartmom is so sick of tripping over the Oh So Feisty One’s Uggs, her silver Pro-Keds, and her black rubber boots in the hallway that she’s thinking of leaving them on the street with a “Free Stuff” sign when she’s away at school.
She knows she should write about the weightier issues on her “To Do” list like the local group, Parents Against Climate Change, or whether kids should wear helmets while sledding.
After all, when The Brooklyn Paper wrote a story about Smartmom’s “To write or not to write” dilemma, almost two dozen people wrote in (mostly telling Smartmom to stop writing about her kids!).
She’d love to “move on,” as RK from Park Slope suggested, but Smartmom gets creatively mugged when she sees what the kitchen looks like after Teen Spirit makes an elaborate sandwich.
Look, she’s happy he didn’t ask her to make him “a little midnight snack,” but couldn’t the kid learn to put away the Applewood Monterey Jack cheese and the Trader Joe’s Not Mayonnaise?
Or how about Sunday night, when OSFO was making a photo album for her Facebook page and she turned the apartment upside down looking for her bright pink wig, kooky sunglasses and a pocketbook so she could do a photo essay posing as Hannah Montana’s fictional cousin?
Sure, that OSFO is one heck of a comedienne — and those pictures are a stitch — but it’s really distracting.
After OSFO went to bed, Smartmom sat down at her computer fully intending to write about something, anything, but her children when Teen Spirit came home from who knows where.
No doubt she was miffed when he had no explanation for his lateness. But it was the clomp, clomp, clomp of the black boots he bought at a thrift shop on the hardwood hallway floor that drove her to distraction.
Ah, inspiration! She began typing an ode to the annoying sounds one’s teenager makes. But then she remembered the gag order and she deleted all the words that had anything to do with Teen Spirit’s black boots. Instead, she stared at a blank page on her trusty computer.
There was a Zen-like purity to the whiteness of the screen.
It made Smartmom feel calm, miles away from the chaos of her Third Street apartment. Staring into that white screen, Smartmom felt like she could reinvent herself. She could reinvent her children. She could even reinvent her husband.
Why, her kids could be fictional characters with names like Phoebe and Jasper. Hepcat could be a millionaire inventor named Zebulon and they could all live in a huge house in Marin County, where Smartmom’s writing room would have views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Mount Tamalpais.
There would be no clothing in the hallway, no clutter on the dining room table, and no makeshift wall separating Hepcat’s workspace from the living room.
They’d have no money troubles and no arguments with Teen Spirit, aka, Jasper, about homework and college.
OSFO, aka Phoebe, would have as much space as she needed for her imaginative art projects and clothing. And Jasper, would have his own out-of-the-way wing of the house with a recording studio.
In Smartmom’s fictionalized world, Jasper would have rubber soles on his boots.
And Smartmom could have different name, too (and maybe a more attractive illustration next to her byline). She would be 15 pounds thinner and 10 years younger. She’d be a critically acclaimed — and best-selling novelist — with two, maybe three, movie deals in the works.
These characters would have to have all-new back stories, too. No turquoise turmoil, agita about a gap year, blues about leaving PS 321, angst about turning 50, ugly red chairs and trips to Babeland.
Smartmom liked the idea of creating a new life: a new self. New kids. A new husband — and this one wouldn’t need to save every issue of Wired Magazine since its inception in 1993.
But it made her feel sad, too.
Smartmom’s eyes fell on her messy desk, the El Pico coffee can full of sharpened pencils, and the messy web of wires on the floor.
Fiction is one thing. But it’s the trials and tribulations of her life as a parent in Brooklyn that she gets paid the big bucks for.
Sure, she could just make it all up. But what fun would that be?