People often ask me, "How did you know you were lost in suburbia?"
I tell them there are varying degrees of being Lost in Suburbia and you don't even have to be IN suburbia to be Lost in Suburbia. It's really about being lost in motherhood.
Then they give me a vacant stare, which is probably from not sleeping through the night for seven years, or having to answer too many questions from a 5-year-old that begin with the words, "But how DOES the baby get in the mommy's belly?"
Still, I know that for many moms, it would be helpful to know if you really are Lost in Suburbia so you can make some adjustments, such as realizing that the jeans that come out of bin from Costco are probably not going to be the ones that are most flattering on your post-baby body.
So, I came up with a quiz you can take to find out if you are Lost in Suburbia and, if so, just how lost you really are and what you can do about it.
Presenting the "Are You Lost in Suburbia?" Quiz. Don't cheat or try to make it seem like you're less lost than you really are. There is no shame in being lost in suburbia, only the satisfaction of knowing that you are not the only one out there wearing mom jeans and trying to pretend your minivan is cool.
1. When you drive your kids to school in the morning, you wear:
a) A fabulous outfit you painstakingly put together the night before
b) Jeans and a t-shirt
c) Your fluffy pink bathrobe and bunny slippers
d) Whatever item, clean or dirty, that may or may not belong to you, that's closest to the door
2. Somehow you were able to bribe a babysitter to watch your kids on Saturday night. You and your husband:
a) Get all dressed up, drive into the city, have dinner and see a show
b) Meet up with a couple of friends and go out to dinner locally so you can be home by nine
c) Buy a couple of six packs, hide in the backyard and get drunk
d) Go to a movie and fall asleep
3. You would describe your current hairstyle as:
a) Super cute and super expensive
b) Easy to maintain
c) Very, very high with lots of hairspray
d) A cross between a chia pet and swamp vegetation
4. You would describe you car as:
a) Super cute and super expensive
b) Very practical for a family of four
c) Cool in an exploding Ford Pinto kind of way
d) Is there a car under all those Cheerios?
5. The last time you bought new jeans was:
a) Yesterday, duh
b) When you lost the baby weight
c) When disco was king
d) Wait, aren't baggy, striped jeans still in style?
6. The last time you got a spa treatment was:
a) Yesterday, duh
b) Spa treatments are an unnecessary expense
c) My husband massaged my feet once while I was giving birth, does that count?
d) When my kid flung mud at my face
7. When your kids ask you what you did before you became a mom, you say:
a) "The same thing I do now that I'm a mom -- play tennis and shop at the mall."
b) "Mommy used to have a paying job but she chose to stay home and be with you because it is so much more fulfilling."
c) "The same thing I do now that I'm a mom -- pick up after your &%$#? father."
d) "What was that, like five years ago? I can't remember back that far."
8. You decided to get a dog because:
a) It matches your furniture and looks cute in when you carry it in a bag under your arm.
b) Dogs teach children responsibility and unconditional love
c) They were out of roosters
d) Really, what's one more family member peeing on the floor?
9. For Halloween, you dressed as:
a) Miley Cyrus
b) Hillary Clinton
c) Honey Boo Boo, but no one thought you were wearing a costume
d) Yourself, but everyone thought you were wearing a costume anyway
10. The day your baby went to kindergarten you:
a) Didn't notice -- the nanny took him
b) Took lots of pictures and made a whole page about it in your scrapbook
c) What's kindergarten?
d) Cried like a baby and then later did a happy dance in your family room.
If you answered mostly a), get over yourself. You're not lost in suburbia. You're lost in your own little world. Make some room for your kids and the other occupants of planet earth.
If you answered mostly b), you are a little bit lost in suburbia, but you have done a great job acclimating to the 'burbs. However, you could be a tad less practical. Try to live a little bit more on the wild side and eat a cup of yogurt that is one day past it's expiration date.
If you answered mostly c), you are not lost in suburbia. You are lost in the boonies and quite possibly, the '70s. Try to add some nice new clothes into your collection of sweatpants and overalls, and get a haircut that reflects the person you want to be -- unless, of course, who you want to be is Dorothy Hamill.
If you answered mostly d), you are definitely lost in suburbia. The good news is, it won't take much to get your groove back. Find some cool girlfriends, take some time away from the kids and be good to yourself. You deserve it!!
Tracy's new book, "Lost in Suburbia: A Momoir. How I Got Pregnant. Lost Myself, and Got My Cool Back in the New Jersey Suburbs" is now available. To get a copy for you or a cool mom you love, CLICK HERE
Follow Tracy Beckerman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/tracyinsuburbia