The Whole Foods on Columbus Avenue and 99th Street in Manhattan has a large dining room for customers to eat their goods recently purchased from the behemoth “Whole Paycheck” grocer. This dining area appeals to me greatly. I get to sit and work on my computer with no fear of (a) annoying a waitress who wants more than a tea-drinking customer; and (b) feeling guilty that I’m taking a table that someone else wants. There’s no table service here and plenty of tables for everyone, and then some. I buy my tea and I sit, unafraid of imposing on anyone. Free of guilt. There’s another type of person who loves the Whole Foods dining room: women taking care of small children.

This dining room is practically overrun by stay-at-home mothers and nannies, all with children under 2 years of age in a stroller. The children either sleep in their strollers while the nannies chat with their nanny friends or the toddlers sit in their little booster seat (thanks for providing, Whole Foods) while their mommies feed them mashed up and small pieces of food. I’ve never brought my kids here. The older one is too old now (sitting at a table in a big room she could otherwise be running around in = no fun) and I’m never alone long enough with the little one to require a place to go.

Do these women absolutely love the California Rolls at the sushi bar? Do they dream of the cous cous at the pre-made foods bar? No. They’re looking for a place to go. Yes, I’m making a grand generalization. They need a place to be OTHER than the living room. God save me from being at home all day with a small child.

On a rare day, you’ll meet a woman who looooves staying home with her kids and not working. On a rare day, you’ll meet a woman who looooves working a 9-5 and only seeing her kids for bedtime and on the weekends. But the majority of us yearn for a happy medium: lengthy, quality time with our little ones as they learn everything in front of them and time away to build our careers, our sense of independence, a sense of being something more than a mother.

Note: one of my tag words for Search Engine Optimization on this post is “stir crazy”.

I get two hours every day at the Whole Foods to work on my script. Not bad. I could use a lot more time, but childcare is too expensive for us right now. So I sit here in the morning, surrounded by women looking for respite from the howling on the living rug or the flashy noise of PBS Kids programming (on the Upper West Side, we watch PBS Kids. None of that Disney Jr. for us educated folk… okay, maybe a little Handy Manny and some Charlie and Lola.)

handy manny cover

30 minutes gone while writing this post. Now back to work on my screenplay. I’ve got 90 minutes left to find my career, my independence and feel like I’m not a liar (or a poser) when I say: My name is Awesome, and I’m a writer.