The first thing that hit me when I landed on Planet Supermom was its perfect houses. They all looked exactly the same—two-story Colonials with spotlessly clean windows. In front of each house sat a mother who was perfectly dressed, with an assortment of kids in matching outfits. Clearly, this planet was deserving of its name. Every new inhabitant got her own personal robot to help teach her the rules and proper etiquette for this part of the solar system. My robot’s name was Anna, and she had a perfect little voice oozing with patience that would have annoyed me even in the best of times, and moving to a new planet with five little kids was more like the worst of times. So try not to judge me when I tell you that I was almost tempted to kill her with my bare hands.
Anna followed me around the house, sweetly advising me how best to organize my possessions. She informed me that scrambled eggs wasn’t considered a supper, and then gave me a step-by-step recipe for a culinary masterpiece. The next morning I was sound asleep, safely tucked into bed, when Anna rolled in and abruptly woke me up. She cheerfully pulled off my blanket and proceeded to inform me of the day’s plans.
I was to go to the main office to register my status. Was I planning on working, or was I planning on being a stay-at-home mom?
“Please note,” the application read. “Working parents are granted certain rights. They may order take-out food once a week, have a cleaning lady and send their toddler to a playgroup. SAHM are not granted these rights. They must also agree to always be available if a working mom needs their help. They must offer to let the working mother go ahead of them in line, and always be on hand to open the door for their delivery guys.”
I had actually planned on continuing to stay home, but this paragraph quickly changed my mind. I dutifully wrote down my intention to work and left unhappily. It was time for me to re-enter the workforce.
My first day of work began with pure chaos. All of my children woke up late and refused to touch the fancy omelet mixed with vegetables that Anna had taught me to make. The youngest kid broke the real china plate Anna had set out and the house looked like a war zone. It was simply one of those impossible mornings. I’d just about reached my breaking point when I turned around and suddenly saw a stranger standing in my kitchen. “What are you doing here?” I asked her, shocked. “Hi,” the stranger-lady said, smiling politely. “I’m a member of the Yenta Club. We reserve the right to walk into your house at any time. It’s up to us to decide if you are worthy of staying on this planet.”
Without another word, she began to walk around my house. In front of my eyes she took out a pen and started writing down all my flaws, making note of the unmade beds, crumbs on the floor and dishes piled high in the sink. With pursed lips she finally left, holding an overflowing notepad in her hand. I can’t say it was an honest mistake when a raw egg was lobbed in her direction from an upstairs window.