MOTHERHOOD: OR, HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE COSTCO
Motherhood does strange things to you. It rearranges your body and untangles your heart. It teaches you strange new words like meconium and colostrum and pitocin. But could it really, possibly, do the unthinkable? Could it make me love Costco?
There are so many reasons to hate Costco. Buying that six-pack of deodorant only to realize you abhor the scent. Trying to stuff that jumbo canister of salted nuts into a too-small cabinet. Recognizing nuclear winter will arrive before you ever make your way through all those simmer sauces. In the meantime, you have to store all that crap. And those are just the inconveniences — never mind the dull nausea of your environmental impact, lingering like a box wine hangover.
You go to Costco anyways, you need to make the most of that membership your Uncle Herbert gifted you. The gory scene begins in the garage. A labyrinth of numbered parking spaces, layered like three asphalt tiers of a wedding cake. Red-lettered signs scream at you: WAREHOUSE ENTRANCE. Cars streak in all directions and screech to halts before harried pedestrians or too-tight corners. The furious search for bargains leaks onto the pavement, where wild-eyed animals graze for parking spots. All to get to the press of the so-called entrance — a football field-sized gash in metal siding, a gaping hole ushering you into the fluorescent-lit capitalist cathedral.
Save your soul with bulk goods! Layers upon layers upon layers of products arch towards the ceiling. Big screen TVs and high-powered juicers fill the nave; mattresses and boxer briefs crowd the transept. The cavernous space of the warehouse sweeps in wayward drifters, shuffling them towards salvation in the form of free samples and product demonstrations. Conversations about car washes drift skyward. Oversized metal shopping carts knock into each other, the grating sound echoing across vast aisles. I am suddenly seized with a deep desire for a paper shredder. How have I lived my life so far without one?
Forget turning back — the ocean of shoppers flows in one direction, and woe to the one who tries to beat back against its current. If you’re lucky, the checkout line will only be seventeen people long. If you’re unlucky, it will be forty-seven, and you’ll be forced to smell 99-cent hot dogs and gooey mozzarella pizzas for an eternity as you suffer through the inane beeps of scanning wands. The horror! Why am I here? I look skyward, but only corrugated steel meets my gaze.
Imagine my surprise — my horror, really — when I begin to love Costco, the illegitimate love child of TJ Maxx and Grocery Outlet. What prompted my conversion? Was it the allure of random finds like sheepskin rugs and banana hangers? Was it the mounds of Babybel I could put into Baby? Could it be that I too had fallen in love with the shimmering mirage of a good deal?
The bottom line is I no longer give a shit, and that is the gift of motherhood. Your instincts are primal; your needs are survival. You leave the house daily with dinosaur stickers stuck to your ass and yogurt smeared across your shirt. You discuss unicorn poo on a regular basis. How could you take yourself so seriously? There are the bleary times, when your only goal is to make it to the end of the day with everyone fed and clothed. Maybe you’re too tired to care about anything anymore. Or maybe it’s something else. Because beneath that dull, constant hum of daily maintenance there is a vast ocean of love, one you never knew was inside of you. It allows you to judge less and complain differently. It allows you to see that everyone struggles. It shortens the distance between you and me, our humanity. It lets you dissolve hardness with laughter. So why not love Costco? It runs in the family.
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