Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 11:55AM
ESCAPE FROM SUBURBIA
by Sherri Caldwell - The Rebel Housewife®
The suburbs offered one form of happily-ever-after; but, at a certain point, we had to get out.
As far as suburbs go, "Stepford of the South" was very nice: big houses, two-and-even-three-car garages, enormous lawns. It was like having your own private park, front and back. Of course, the front yard was for show, purely ornamental. The back yard was for living.
Not that anyone wanted or needed privacy. Stepford was a community, a haven for People Like Us, with families and neighbors destined to become Friends For Life. It was written into the sales contract, and the neighborhood bylaws.
After all, we paid extra for upscale family storage. The corporate bosses of our hard-working commuter dads paid well to keep the family far enough away, with a large enough mortgage and household expenses, to ensure job dedication and healthy separation.
Every Monday, the husbands went to work. The children went to school. The wives kept house, shopped, socialized and maintained a busy schedule of community and school-related commitments, basically running the world from their designated PTA regiments.
In the afternoon, the children came home, briefly, and were then carpooled to their various activities. Dinner was inevitably a la drive-thru. The husbands came home late and scrounged for leftovers. Exhausted from the daily round, bedtime came early, after homework and school projects. Repeat through Friday.
The weekends were sacrificed to the Gods of Lawn Care-- Olympics-worthy competition amongst the men, all weekend, every weekend.
My Prince Charming became a commuting, work-in-the-city, weekend-lawn-warrior stranger. When I realized I was spending far more quality time with my crazy neighbor, a doctor’s wife, than my own husband, the suburban fairytale started to break down.
The big, roomy house with lots of space became too much to maintain, to clean, to keep track of young people and family pets. I realized I hadn’t seen my middle child for five years in this mausoleum.
As for the lawn... You know, the city offers and maintains municipal parks. They are generally bigger and better-equipped. And you don’t have to feed every random child who wanders through.
Friends For Life and People Like Us had been selling points, but who can stand their own company interminably, without any variety? We began to plot our escape. From Soccer Moms and Minivans, to the diversity of the city, where we belonged.
The stranger we called Daddy transformed from an exhausted commuter/weekend warrior to a healthy, happy and involved father who walks to work and is home every night for dinner. All of a sudden, he’s always there, where and when he hadn’t been before. While it takes some getting used to, we got out just in time.
--- Sherri Caldwell, The Rebel Housewife®, is an author, columnist and reviewer at www.RebelHousewife.com. After many years as a PTA Mom in the suburbs, she now lives happily-ever-after with her husband, three teenagers, and Mocha-the-Dog, in a midtown high-rise in Atlanta, Georgia.