You go watch it, then come right back here, okay? I'll wait for you.
Speaking of mothers, you know that this Sunday is Mother's Day, right? Don't freak out. Even if you live on the other side of the planet, it's still not to late to order flowers. In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to tell you I'm normally TERRIBLE at remembering the made-up holidays. It's amazing what becoming a mother myself has done for my memory.
I wanted to write a beautiful, moving post about motherhood that would leave the sensitive among you all weepy and feeling much like one does after watching a really good commercial for long-distance phone service. So I struggled with that for a bit, and then abandoned it. I'm just not in a weepy space right now. Maybe I'm ovulating. (Ovulation time is the antithesis of PMS time, but nobody ever talks about it, much less gives it a catchy little acronym. I've decided what better time than Mother's Day to drag O-time out of the closet and give it the public praise it deserves. Yay, eggs! You go, you yolky little buggers.)
Being all clearheaded and focussed (at least for a couple of days) has put me in a left-brainy, list-making frame of mind. And mentioning acronyms has gotten me to thinking about all the terms I've heard to describe the many sub-sections of the mom demographic. You've got your SAHMs, WAHMs, and WOHMs. You've got your MILFs (or as I prefer to say, referring to myself, MYLFs). You've got your soccer moms, your mommy bloggers, your cybermoms, your dot-moms, your hot moms, and your yummy mummies. And then you've got Freud bringing up the rear (so to speak) with his Oedipal moms, but we're just not going to go there today, thanks anyway.
Are there this many daddy types? I mean, duh, I know there are this many (and then some) varieties of father, but have they been so neatly identified and labelled and publicly acronymed? I think not, but maybe I haven't been paying attention.
You can go two ways from this observation, one negative, one positive:
- In our world, women get watched and assessed. Not surprisingly, mothers come under close scrutiny and analysis by an opinionated, judge-y public.
- On a deeper level, mothers are powerful, nigh-mythic figures. Not surprisingly, people spend a lot of time trying to figure them out.
Clearly, we moms are elusive figures, many things to many people, and difficult as all get-out to pin down. Except for me: I'm an open book, yo. And speaking of books, have you ever thought about how mothers are represented in literature?
For starters, you've got The Bible, starring the mother of all mothers. Mary is a virgin who bears God's baby, a young lad who will ostensibly go on to save all mankind. As characters go, she's a tough act to follow. So nobody bothers to try, and instead we get generation after generation of... well, of bad moms. It's okay, though, because some of them manage to have some fun along the way.
You've got your unwed moms, such as poor Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter. Then you've got your fallen moms. Edna Pontellier from Kate Chopin's novel The Awakening. Emma Bovary. Anna Karenina. What's the lesson to be learned here, moms? That's right: keep it in your pants or poetic justice will kick you in the butt. Point taken and duly noted.
Then you've got the Cathys. Cathy from Wuthering Heights is a self-absorbed drama queen who, if she were alive today, would probably be a Suicide Girl or somesuch other annoying emo kid. And Cathy from East of Eden is pretty much a sociopath. If she were around today, she'd either be in maximum security or else she'd have a nationally broadcast morning talk show. You can bet on one thing: neither of these Cathys would be scheduling playdates, getting up five times a night to nurse, or whipping up a last-minute batch of cupcakes for the PTA bake sale.
And then you've got assorted literary mothers of the grey, drab, henpecking, fade-into-the-background variety. Who doesn't want to be lumped in with them?
You know what kind of mom I'd really hate to be? A mom in a children's book. Mostly because they're dead. E. Nesbit's Bastable clan? Motherless. The kids from Elizabeth Enright's Melendy family series? Also sans mere. Mrs. Finch, wife to Atticus and mother to Jem and Scout? Sadly no longer with us. The biological mom to pretty much every single child in a fairy tale? Kaput. You can almost imagine the conversation between the authors and their editors:
"I have this idea for a book about a bunch of kids who have these really fantastic adventures."I would like to go on record as stating that I fully support adventures of every kind, unless said adventures require running while carrying long, pointy sticks or staying up so late that you get overtired and cranky.
"Yeah, but you know who always gets in the way of great adventures? Mothers. What do I do to get her out of the way."
"Wonderful idea. Thanks!"
So. Mothers. Can't live with 'em. But apparently killing them is an option.
One final note: Rusty, if you're reading this, Sam wants to give me a gift certificate for this spa. He told me to tell you.