The End of Nothing by Monica Crumback

My daughter strides through the doors of St. Something or Other, sits herself sideways in a seat at a low table, and starts to color. So begins her life as a school-aged child. Consequently, this moment also serves to kick the life out of my five year stint as her fulltime stay-at-home mom.
 
Well then. What now?
 
I should really have an answer on hand for this one, as I am about the zillionth person to ask it. To all other inquirers, the answer that blooms in my brain sounds like this: Well, I thought I'd pull my thumb out of my ass and finally get on with it. Mothering! For five years! Really? That was just incredibly stupid of me. Kind of you to ask, though. Oh, and please Fuck Off.
 
Please do. But still, what now? Well, I guess I still mostly just want to be Sophia's mom — first, foremost, and forever. Is that ultra-feminine or anti-feminist? I'm not entirely certain and I don't really care to figure it out. I think of it as being simply my life choice. This is still my life, correct? Hmmm. Or have I handed it over, lock, stock, and lack of trade, to my daughter?
 
Regardless, I have signed on as her kindergarten room mother. Good for me, right? Yep, except for the fact of all of the other mothers in the room (those that belong to Sophia's church-school chums). I seem to be a bit of a frown-maker in this crowd. Could be my red lipstick, crazy hair, mushroom print t-shirt, or my braless chest (complete with post-lactation sag). Perhaps it's something else, though, that I've managed to overlook. I fancy that this is really the result of their being intimidated by my indie movie beauty — but I doubt it.
 
Sometimes, a mom just can't win for trying. Take pick-up time, for example. Who should I stand and wait for the bell with? The other stay-at-homers don't quite cut it as a hang-out crew. We are a frazzled bunch, some of us too baby-crazed to be at all coherent. Plus, these other women seem to pray a lot and want to talk about it, which makes me want to sigh — a lot. There are the lovely Spanish ladies whose language I don't speak. And then there are the working women, slashing through the crowd in their wide-legged pants and high-heeled loafers while talking loudly and importantly on cell phones. They may be nice enough but, even if I wanted to, I couldn't muster the energy to keep up with the likes of that.
 
So I stand by myself or by just one person each day. Big deal, it's not as if I'm twelve years old with a burning need to fit in. Still, it would be nice if I could happen upon a mom similar to myself. Maybe one of these afternoons I will raise an arm high and yell I'm so over this let's hate women and gays thing! Who's with me? Who else stays at home to try to raise a brash girl into a brazen lady? That's likely going to be a while, though. I'm actually rather shy in crowds. Maybe I'll just wait in my car like the dads do.
 
My statement must be that this is where I am and this is what I am choosing to continue to do — be Sophia's mom. At least that's what I'm reading while I type this. And it could be that I am over-reading everything else. Maybe people only ask me what it is that I am going to do now because they find me to be beyond brilliant in some capacity and would weep to see such promise wasted. Perhaps the other moms at Sophia's school only look at me sometimes somewhat askance because they wish that they had the time to invest in their child's educational experience. And it could be that there is another mom like me in the parking lot who is staying at home for her own radical reasons. She probably has a liberal manifesto stuffed into her dashboard and is just dying for someone to read it with behind her tinted windshield.
 
All of the above could be absolutely true. But, who the hell knows?
 
For now, we are all just going to have to come to an agreement. Let's make it that even though Sophia has started school, I still get to be her fulltime mom. And everyone else gets to shut the fuck up about it.
 
Let's hear it for the end of nothing!
 
Monica Crumback is a married stay-at-home mom to one daughter. She has written for Brain, Child: The magazine for thinking mothers.