There’s a car commercial that has several women—all of whom are roughly my age and presumably mamas—pulling out of the driveways of their identical suburban homes, getting into identical beige cars, and generally acting like Stepford wives, although they most likely have professional jobs they go to Monday through Thursday, with a work-at-home day on Fridays. The voiceover says something along the lines of “everyone says you need a beige car now to fit your beige life. Break out of the beige and go bold!” (totally paraphrasing here). Then some woman breaks free from beige and shoots down the freeway in a bright red car. The commercial cuts off just before she gets a speeding ticket and a visit from CPS for child endangerment.
While I don’t have a beige car (but want one!), the outside of my house is beige. The inside of my house is beige. (Well, at least the remodeled parts. The yet-to-be redone parts are a shade of grayish-yellow that can’t be found on even the most inclusive color wheel.) Today I am wearing a beige shirt under a beige sweater, and I would have switched to a beige purse but I was running late, and does the woman at the DMV really care if I’m color coordinated?
My baby’s highchair is beige, as is his crib set, as is my kitchen granite, as is my kitchen tile. Someday we will redo our bathrooms in slate grey, another lovely neutral.
Much to my teenager’s surprise, my favorite color is no longer red, but is instead sage green (but red is a close second, mainly because I wish it were Christmas year-round).
So what’s with all the boring neutrals when everything in my life used to be fiery shades of red and bold swaths of black and animal prints? Why do 30-something-year-old mamas have a reputation for being so “beige?”
That’s easy: we must be beige to maintain our sanity.
When you have to hit the ground running at 5:45am after sleeping roughly 4 hours for the 10th night in a row (and no alcohol was involved on any of those nights), and your day is mired in total chaos by 7am, who wants the mental stimulation of zebra pillows and leopard print blankets? Or even a red car? The brain can only take so much. Of course, the number of kids one has probably influences this, as does ones natural resiliency; perhaps I’m just not that resilient.
But let me tell you, my kiddos don’t stress me that much. I mean they DO stress me, no doubt about that. But not as much as they could, based on what other people tell me. Why? Because when you live in a crazy house it’s smart to crazy-proof yourself, and that’s exactly what I’ve done.
That may sound like an exaggeration, but trust me: it isn’t.
Punk music? Nope.
Bright colors? Nope.
Emotion-laden movies? Nope.
Fist-pumping Irish anthem rock? Well, sometimes.
This is called self-preservation, not boredom.
It’s also why I had the following text conversation with a friend the other day:
ME: “Who is this booby $ person?” (referencing my friend’s recent FB post)
ME: “You know, this person whose breasts write her songs for her.”
HER: “Kesha!?? Tik tok?!? Oh boy.”
ME: “Hey, you have 3 kids [she has 1] and a husband who isn’t a DJ [hers is] and then see how cool you are!”
HER: “Awww. Where is C going to college?”
ME: “You still haven’t enlightened me.”
HER: “About Kesha?”
(She sends me a Google link, which is not helpful at all, because although I’m too busy to keep up with pop culture, I can certainly use a computer. When I looked her up, I found her debut album was released in 2009, the year Rachel was born. Case closed. Also in my defense is that I strongly dislike the majority of pop music).
ME: “Yesterday I was going somewhere and my husband told me I looked nice. I said, ‘No, I don’t. I look like a 34-year-old mom.’ And you know what? I did.”
She said nice things to make me feel better, then we went on to have a discussion about Capri pants, which she was also wearing. That made me feel somewhat better because my friend is still cool. (Did I mention she only has ONE child?)
The next day I went somewhere where many 30-something-year-old mamas were present. I started to count the number of women wearing Capris, but then I ran out of fingers.
But seriously, I am not apologetic. I am okay with being beige (and no, this blog post does not prove otherwise). You know that poem that tells old, empty-nest women it’s okay to wear purple? I’m here to say that, until your own nest is empty, it’s okay to wear beige.
PS – about 5 minutes after writing this, I realized this post may sound dismissive of the hard work parents of 1 do. I definitely do not mean to do that! Having 1 kiddo is terribly hard, so if you’ve got only 1, please feel free to go beige! (aren’t you so glad to have my permission? ;)) For me, personally, 1 was hard but not as hard as 3, but some people say the more you have the easier it gets! So I guess it all just depends (like most of life.)