Urban Dweller

The Next Family

By: Tosha Woronov

This week my 4-year old told me he needed “two mommies”: one to take care of him and one to do “I don’t know. Water the garden or something”. I was making his dinner when he announced this, not watering my garden (although I had just before stopped by the patio to notice its sickly, limp leaves, like dark-green deflated balloons).

His proclamation adds a fresh layer of guilt, already aware – at all times -that I’m meeting only half of each responsibility: I planted a garden, but the tomatoes are dying. My marriage is strong, but on auto-pilot. I text – but don’t see – my friends. I workout, but my ass is fat. I drive to work, but get nothing done. And although I love him fiercely, my boy needs an extra mother.

I know this isn’t new material for mom-talk. We all feel it, joke about it, read about it, blog about it. Why then, do I feel so alone in it?

We live in Los Angeles, which still surprises me. My husband’s from central New York, where the entire town gathers for the Memorial Day parade. I grew up fishing, skiing – and going to the mall – in Colorado. And yet here we are, the four of us: 2 displaced parents, a friendly dog named Charlie, and our little Angelino.

It’s not easy to raise a child in L.A. It’s expensive, noisy, scary, smoggy. But, like other urban families, we must look past all that and relish instead the culture, the opportunity, the diversity. We have all that in abundance and it’s good. Know what else we have in abundance? Gorgeous moms with clean cars, their own businesses, and organically-fed kids who speak Spanish, French and English. Moms who have it all together, who are completing more than half – if not all – of their maternal duties, whose children don’t ask for a second mommy. Moms who, by the way, have more than one child (an entirely separate guilty subject for me, which I’ll address another time). I can’t step foot into a CoffeeBean without getting blasted by it: the sight of a mom doing it all better than I.

I know, I know: the cardinal rules of motherhood are “thou shalt not compare thyself to others” and “thou shalt not covet the professionally landscaped lawn of thy child’s classmate”. On good days, I follow these rules. But it’s been a tough week. I can’t help it.

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