Does A Mother Ever Stop Mothering? (Please Say Yes)


My mom stopped by this morning, theoretically so we could talk about Little’s wedding and Middle’s upcoming cross-country move. But it quickly devolved into me crying with my head in her lap, summing up in glorious detail how I was completely overwhelmed, and sucked the fat one with my ability to manage three kids, and I didn’t even know what to do with myself in the three minutes of my day where I wasn’t breaking up a fight, feeding someone, or cleaning something up. And Who The Fuck invented this whole summer business and for the love of God, WHY?

My mom, (probably thinking: When the fuck will my kids grow up and stop crying in my lap?) patted my head and told me in a conversational tone that July 4th marked the beginning of child abuse season—emergency rooms were inundated and social services went bonkers with reports, because this was right about when, every summer, it got too hot and kids got bored and irritable and everybody suddenly realized summer wasn’t even halfway over. So, she tells me, I at least I am not resorting to violence. And P.S., Anne, the only thing remarkable is how you are continually surprised, lo these 8 years later, that caring for kids can be a pain in the ass. Wake up and smell the Otter Pops.

grown mother and daughter

And through my chest-hitching snot fest, I had to glance up at her and wonder if I, right then, was being a Pain In The Ass Kid, and making her miss her tee time. And if so, was this some kind of mobious strip time warp in which I could see into the future that even 30 years from now, I will be dealing with bawling, clingy kids and trying not to get smacky? Because: Noooooooooooooooooooooooo.

I am also coming to the end of the first draft of the story I've been writing. Since I have become a SAHM, the things for which I get non-momming validation are pretty minimal. It has taken 18 months to get this new story done, and during that time, it has been my escapist fantasy, the realm in which I have total control. It’s the guilty place where I hide from everyone with the promise that I’m doing something deeply important, so could they please make dinner for themselves tonight? And it is also what I’ve done lately instead of socializing with other moms, or watching TV, or drinking.

Next comes the part where I let it go and someone else will read it. Am terrified—so desperate for positive reinforcement that I can’t bear not to show someone and probably too fragile to let anyone look at it for the same reasons just stated. It makes me suspect that writing has only served to make me more crazy and not less so. And that makes me so. mad. Because I already started with a whopping dose of crazy that I’ve been trying to get rid of by writing. So how did I mess this up so badly I’ve ended up giving myself more?


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