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A stay-at-home state of mind

Dec 19, 2013 - By Clair McFarland

A stay-at-home state of mind

Mothers, especially of the stay-at-home variety, are prone toward reclusiveness. This is a state of mind, life, and cell phone in which the stay-at-homer forgoes the company of other adults to become consumed with the phases and languages of toddlerhood, over which she has less control than she'd like to believe.

I can be found in this error -- often. It's not that I do not want to be around other adults or listen to their tales. It's just that I've tuned my ears to best perceive the voices of small children.

In fact, I would like to give more time and attention to others: peers, elders, slightly estranged friends.

One woman from the generation of my mother once lamented to me that young moms of today are missing out because they refuse to "get together." I didn't have the heart to tell her that I'm the queen of non-togetherness. I'm not part of the ongoing Facebook yard sales (or even Facebook itself), I'm not committed to a periodical girls' night, and I've never invited a fellow mom to use a public restroom simultaneously with me.

Because of women like me, moms have invented the sales-mom party night. This is a party at someone's house whereat one or two ladies try to sell home or beauty goods to 30 other ladies.

For this, the sales-moms get compensation, the hostess gets a little free swag if she is able to invite x-number of paying guests, and the guests (paying or not) get fancy snacks that won't be accompanied by the likes of Easy Cheese.

These events are designed not only to turn a profit for those doing the legwork, but also to lure people like me out of the house before we start calling the vacuum cleaner "Hoover" and waging arguments with it like we're in the domestic version of "Cast Away."

("Uh, honey," The Husband might say, "why are there tally marks and an escape plan etched into the stove-top?")

For anyone to attempt to save me from my reclusive ways is certainly noble, and I feel privileged every time I receive an invitation to a sales party.

However, I respectfully decline to attend more often than not, for the simple fact that I have a ravenous appetite for snacks of both the high-born varieties and of the Easy Cheese-inclusive sects, but I don't have much interest in scent-diffusing goods, kitchen oddities, fashion or make-up. It seems unfair of me to show up, eat, and leave, but it's really all I'm good for.

The other reason I tend to decline the sweet invitations is because the first batch of these parties I remember attending (around five years ago) represented a shaky start to a now-booming tradition.

At the early sales parties, ladies would file into an immaculate home, collect a few pieces of chocolate-fondue-fruit, and pretend not to be hungry while listening to someone explaining the "correct" pairing of blouses with certain necklaces.

It was like a final exam setting of a 1950s home economics class. I kept expecting someone to ask me what shade of lipstick I ought to wear when my husband has a bad day.

Uneasy in any circle that seeks to mimic southern belle society, I've withdrawn even further into the sound of my children's voices, even amid the growing frequency of opportunities for escape to the company of ladies who know which necklace to pair with which blouse.

This month I broke the mold. My mom and sister invited me to their very own "skirt party." At first I was skeptical, as shopping for clothes while nearly eight months pregnant with twins is about as fun as changing kitty's litter. But my mom explained to me that the skirts at these parties have "yoga tops." I don't know how to explain the yoga top as anything but amazing.

I went to the party.

When I arrived, I did not see props set up for lecture, nor did I see messy, dainty, or otherwise nerve-wracking food. What I did see was 30 girls rummaging through huge bins of skirts, pulling one after another over their leggings and then strutting around. It was absolute madness. The women were like wild animals that cared only about attacking the perfect skirt before anyone else, and about the visual effect stripes may have on their back-sides.

This was a party. This was a cause for which one could leave home without feeling strained. As the fury of the fashion Savana abated, I carefully chose my own "kill." Then I bought it.

I suppose congratulations are in order. So good job, girls, for getting me out of the house and into some comfy clothes. It's good to get together, especially with 30 skirt-hunters -- and zero Hoovers.

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