I didn't give much thought to finding a role model until I read a tweet a while back by The Most Awesome Lady On Twitter, a 94-year-old quilter who tweeted, "I have to love Downton Abbey for so many older woman characters who r smart, funny & non cliche. Nice 2 have role models at 94." Wow. Role models. People have those?
In my 20's I thought having a role model meant you were a copy cat and I was determined to be a maverick (in my black dress pants and tramp stamp like every other lady at the club). I misunderstood having a role model to mean you didn't know how to do your hair or pick out an outfit. Or maybe I was scared that choosing role models for myself meant admitting I was directionless.
That was fine until it dawned on me that I'm soon to be at the helm of a family of six. In the absence of religion or regime, it's just me here, blind. Leading the little blind. I need a damn role model, people! I need an EXAMPLE. I'd settle for a calendar with a daily inspirational message at this point. I heard once with twins you need a mantra. I am mantraless! There's a cultural drought for big families with lefty beliefs. Where are the other vegetarian families of six, for example?
I now realize role models are not just for children or beta people who need to bask in the imaginary glow of the greats. A good role model can set a template by which you don't go completely insane. It's okay, and even necessary, to find people in your life situation who have attributes you admire and pattern yourself after them. I'm here to admit, I'm in my 30's and although much of my life is set (two kids, twins on the way and I am never moving again so long as I live) I am completely directionless. I need to get a role model.
How are you supposed to find role models anyway? I don't really pay attention to what other people are doing. I'd need to be kicked in the face in order to recognize a person whose life plan was magic and whose attitude said, "confident!" but also "humble" and of course, "passionate, brave, trailblazing and dignified". No one ever struck me I guess, so I winged it. That unplan worked, huh?! I just licked the crumbs from the bottom of a snack bowl that contained BBQ chips. So dignified!
So let's wing this together. Choosing a role model seems like it should follow the same rules of envy: if you're going to be jealous, you have to be jealous of the whole package. This has kept me from being jealous at nearly every opportunity. Maybe another lady had the job I wanted, but if I looked at her man or her apartment, it became a whole package I didn't want to trade with. And so it goes finding a role model. Who has it all who I can frame my life after? Who really has the whole package I can study? Who can I look up to? Who is a person who is enviable in all facets of life, yet who has similar circumstances to my own that I can relate to? It turns out, I might need a little imagination.
1. Lots of kids
3. Moderate creative skills, yet under employed i.e. Stay At Home Specialist i.e. Domestic Engineer i.e. Haus Frau
Here are my possible candidates for role modelhood. Don't laugh. And yes, they're mostly blonde and if you don't like them, then get your own blog and write about your own quest for role models. I'm running out of time here and I need a plan!
1. The lady on the Oreck vacuum commercial. She always has her little sensible outfit, her home is clean and her (many?) kids must be under control or else where does she get the time to shill vacuums? She might be the wife of the Oreck man, which means she probably stays home. Doing what? This is the question. How does she spend her days when she's not doing Oreck commercials? Is this what I'm supposed to be doing? Does the Oreck lady take an active role in the PTA, or is she more of phone-it-in-so she-can-meet-with-her-book-club person? So many questions!
PS, Lots of stay-at-home moms lament not having one second in the day to use the bathroom alone or wipe the sweat from their brow, but the big secret is there's lots of down time with this gig. It's working motherhood that would feel like a grist mill to me. Staying home is hard on the ego, but not really "hard" you know? So what am I supposed to do when the kids are playing besides, like,
blogging preparing healthful meal plans? Oreck lady, someone, guide me!
2. Martha Stewart. Here's my brotha. I like to brag that I met her once on the set of Oprah. Stop me if I've told you this one (You: Umm, yeah you told us about thre-) Sorry, I'm telling it anyway. So I was in the Oprah audience and I got to ask Martha a question. I asked if she ever ate peanut butter from a can. The answer was nope, but she does like sardines. Howdaya like that!? Honest, funny, perfectly imperfect. She has a successful daughter who she pretend fights with, but who's really her best bud. She has an empire, does what she loves and knows how to live. Martha would be the best mentor. However, this might be too lofty of a role model for me. I don't see me starting any empires and besides, one kid? Child's play. Moving on.
3. Lady at the gym in head to toe Lululemon. Hear me out! While I don't like Lululemon because they hire mean little poodle people to look down their nose at customers and act like you're doing them a favor by buying their stupid pants. Oh! While I'm on Lululemon, let's ask ourselves why everyone's up in arms about Abercrombie & Fitch not selling XL and yet Lululemon cuts off at size 12. What, fat people don't do yoga. INCORRECT! Anyway, back to the made-up persona I've cast on Gym Lady. There she is, on her iPhone, probably curing cancer, taking very good care of the body she works hard to maintain. Her many kids are in swim lessons (learning a life skill!) while mine are stuffed in the day care area as I float in the pool like a rotting whale carcus. There she is with her manicure and cool shoes. Damnit, I should get it together like that instead of sitting here like a creeper staring at people. Do you think she really does yoga?
4. Gina Crosley-Corcoran, aka The Feminist Breeder. Now we're cooking with gas! Not only was she in one of the greatest bands of the 90's (okay, maybe I did have role models in high school) but she's also a feminist and she has more than two kids. I need an edgy woman with a large family to study. Forget Lululemon mom, I need a badass mom whose beliefs align more closely with my own and yet who also has a big family. This non-religious, big family thing is kind of unchartered territory. I need this lady's teachings. First lesson: She found a way to actually make some damn money blogging. I'm not worthy. No seriously, I didn't pay to subscribe, but I remember reading her stuff before that paywall and it was good. She even live video blogged her home birth. Favorite quote, "Where do you think the future feminists will come from if the feminists aren't breeding them? Do you think Michelle Duggar is reproducing feminists for us?"
So there you go. I've got some options and plenty of work ahead. Luckily, my mother-in-law is a pretty badass liberal mother herself so I've got some direction. If only there were a progressive version of the Duggar family. Hey, maybe that can be me? Better grow my bangs!
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