Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Good Morning Guilt And Shame

Why do educated, liberated women wake up to television morning programs? 
Highly paid pundits fluctuating between grim and giggly in the course of fifteen seconds – is this the first thing I want in the morning?  Blizzards, flooding, death, despair, and destruction -- and it isn't even 7 am.  I have to avoid the top of the hour until at least noon.  That's where all of life's tragedy is.  It's too much for any of us to drink in. 
I start feeling hopeless before I even start.  Why must I wake up and learn all about the bad things that happened overnight while I blissfully slept with an eight year old’s knee in my kidney?
Thankfully, it's not all news.  Besides, I have this suspicion that the rest of the hour exists to make we women feel guilty.  I’ll admit I want this commentator’s life, complete with a makeup and hair person and someone who picks out my clothes and Spanx.
I’ll share another secret.  I have never had much fashion sense.  After many years of fighting and trying to convince people otherwise, I now accept this.  My sense of style dictates that sweatpants, sneakers, and a t-shirt reading “Where Are We Going And What Am I Doing In This Handbasket?” might be considered business casual, depending upon the business that you are in.  (I write from home.) 
Thus, a haute couture fashion show first thing in the morning by women as thin as pencils makes my ankles swell.  So much for those knee boots she’s wearing that are ‘back’ and ‘in’ this Spring.  If I bought those $5000 boots, my husband would have me buried in them.  My tombstone would read, “She died with her boots on.”  He’d see to that.
There is always a food segment, where something I’ve been doing since I was five years old with the women in my family is now considered ‘novel’ and ‘chic’.  Pie crust, for example.  Or noodles that you roll out and cut yourself.  Or using a leftover to chop up in a salad to save money.  Riveting.  No one has ever thought of doing any of this before.
The commentators gush at the food presenter before taking bites from the same plate and sometimes they use the same fork.  (This always makes me a little squeamish.) Generally, one of the commentators makes a big scene of taking the plate from the others, giggling while calling this her “breakfast.”  She then sets the plate down as another novelty is presented, like making your own from scratch soup. 
It is in this moment that I want to jump through the screen, grab her abandoned plate, and feed those skinny waifs from the fashion segment. 
But instead of exploding, I am haunted by a question.
How can two bites be ‘breakfast’?
Interestingly, the food segment is generally followed by the weight loss segment.  I’ll let you draw your own conclusions here.
Lest we become too depressed by the middle age spread, we get to hear all about how last evening, our leaders spotted the latest celebrity at the latest club in New York.  It was a divine night.  All the stars were out and wearing their favorite designers.  The drinks were divine, the uneaten food amazing, the dancing, the glitter and glamour. 
I’m usually matching long lost socks at this point, watching my daughter lick oatmeal from her forearm.  I run a comb through my hair and sit up a little straighter. 
The medical segment inevitably gives me hypochondria.  After learning about rapid-cycling bi-polar manic depression with episodes of attention deficit and seasonal effective disorders and how 300 million Americans suffer in silence, I decide to start a round of self-medication with Little Debbies and Diet Coke.  (Of course, this is only after my vitamin regimen rich in Omega-3 oils and antioxidants.  I strive to be heart healthy.)
There is always a segment on parenting.  The gist involves packaging your infant in bubble wrap until they are eleven, then letting them have whatever they want.   
Nothing is safe enough.  And no lengths are too long to go to make sure a child will never suffer.  Anything less is considered child abuse.  But then, at the magical moment of junior high, kids are to be completely free to explore their passions while you become a virtual ATM.
No wonder my girlfriends with kids all twitch a little.
Stupid questions are asked in this segment. 
“Should you monitor your child’s cell phone usage?”  Really?  I’ve actually considered bringing Peter Falk out of retirement for this very task. 
“When should girls shave their legs?”  Um, when the boy next door refers to her as Sasquatch? 
"Is there a perfect way to diaper?”  CYA.  Well, theirs, not yours.  Get the right bum, and that’s pretty much all there is to it.
Then there is the woman who spends $3.67 on $6000 worth of groceries a week.  They trot her out on the set as a hero.  I fluctuate between pity (this woman clearly needs a hobby beyond her ‘coupon caddy’) and green-eyed envy at her racket.  She only spends about twenty-six hours a week clipping coupons, and “it isn’t much of a bother at all.” 
My coupons are always stuffed into the bottom in my purse, used to catch some kid’s gum or even a stray booger in a pinch.  Again, I’m deflated.
Before I am completely undone, I notice that this woman’s ankles are a bit thick.  Even though with her $654,834.75 that she saved last year, the Jimmy Choo boots from the fashion segment (and she could afford them with her OCD penny pinching) do not allow for girth.  Trust me on this one.  Jimmy doesn’t understand cankles.  I brighten up a little.
So I’ve given them up, these morning wake up shows.  If there is traffic, I’ll know it when I get there.  If it’s going to snow, again, much like my ancestors before me, I will look up at the sky.  If my kids are texting Thailand in the name of education, we’ll figure that out when we go through their texts every night.  Yes, you read that right.  Texting at our house isn’t private until one pays one’s phone bill, and no one has yet signed up for that plan.
And, let’s face it, my thigh-high boots days are over.  Heck, who am I fooling?  They never existed.  Besides, they’d never go with my sweatpants.


  1. Great post, Andie! As I was reading the part about the breakfast segment in particular, I was thinking,"That is SO TRUE!" Hahaha!

  2. I gave morning news shows too! Besides, Twitter and the blogging world are so better for the important news of the day. Great post!

  3. very refreshing and understood well, thank you and i hope to see you on facebook telling and sharing these also...thank you for a great laugh this morning

  4. Are you tired of being told what an awesome writer and woman you are yet?

  5. Loved it, Andie!

    It's so nice to get more than just a bit of you from a fb post here and there. :) I really love your writing voice--you're very funny. You remind me of Jennifer Weiner (both being funny writers). I recommend her book "Good in Bed" if you haven't read it.

    Also, I couldn't agree more on the morning show stuff. Breakfast IS NOT two bites for me, nor can I afford $5000 shoes. I've given up high heels, actually. I wear flats and jeans to work, and I come in with wet hair (yep!) and no make up. I still haven't been fired. In fact, I got a raise.

  6. Hee!!! I think we were watching the same show!! I can still see the halo of the coupon woman. Thank you for this! :)