It occurred to me recently, that those of us who grew up in the seventies had terrible role models on t.v. and by terrible, I mean perfect. My most vivid memory of a mom is Carol Brady. She was the biological mother of 3 girls, and the adoptive mother of 3 boys equaling 6 kids. The house was always in perfect condition, the kids always clean and well dressed and she always had her shit together, happy, smiling, with words of wisdom for all six of her children. Now, I know that she had a full time housekeeper/cook so she really didn’t have to do any of the grunt work, but nonetheless, I thought she was the mother we were all going to grow up to be. She too, was always well dressed (or as well dressed as anyone could be in the seventies) and perfectly coifed, although that flippy-dippy hairdo is not something I ever aspired to. I guess the main thing, is that I thought that when you grow up, you somehow get all the answers, that life somehow gets magically easier, and that dinner is always on the table. In fact, the complete opposite is actually true. Adults are just older kids, life gets harder (bills, mortgages, demanding jobs, spouses, houses) with less answers to questions like how to keep the kids always safe, let alone dressed well, what to make for dinner, how to trap the rat that comes and goes as he pleases, how to explain where grampy went when he died, what koala bears’ vaginas are like, etc. These are not questions I ever saw posed to Carol. The other thing that I remember is that Carol was always Carol or Mrs. Brady. When I became a mom, I lost my own identity. When my son started preschool, I became Jalen’s mom, when my first daughter started school, I became Marley’s mom, and now I am Tessa’s mom.
Anyway, the main thing is, it has taken me a very long time to understand that Carol was no more a real mom, than I am a t.v. star. And even though I understand this on an intellectual level, I still struggle with the aspiration to be a very Brady mom.
Life is messy, parenthood is wicked messy, and while I know that my life is busy every minute and that on any given day, I perform dozens of tasks, many simultaneously, what the hell did Carol Brady ever actually do with her days?