I Am Mommy, Hear Me Roar
Excerpted from Humor for a Mom’s Heart
A long time ago, I gave up using the name on my birth certificate and just
started referring to my self as Mommy. As in:
“Come give Mommy a kiss.”
“Tell Mommy where it hurts.”
“I told you Mommy’s ears can’t hear whining.”
“Mommy’s face looks like this because Mommy just found out that somebody
used her lace tablecloth to wipe off fingernail polish”
I knew I wasn’t alone on that either. I know for a fact that none of my
friends have names. We greet each other in the market:
“Hi, Sarah’s mom!”
“Hi, Laura’s mom!”
The vet even calls me “Blackie’s mom.”
I may not have a real name, but you know who I am. There’s a container of
Gak dumped in a corner of my living room carpet and the moldy remains of a
peach deemed too gross to eat stuffed in the cushions of my couch. I walk
around the house with dryer lint and used Q-tips in the pocked of my robe. I spend the majority of my day behind the wheel of a car - traveling
hundreds of miles to and from softball practice, cheerleading, and trips to
the market - yet never leave the city limits. I can’t do a quadratic
equation, but I can tell you how to get to Sesame Street.
My prayers are often frantic and generally specific. (“Lord, please help my
child to throw up in the bucket and not on the wall.”) At times I pray to
be made invisible, like during PTA meetings when they need someone to chair
the fifth grade fundraising car wash or during the Christmas program when
it’s my child up on stage singing “Let there be peace on earth and let it
begin with me,” as she proceeds to slug the boy standing next to her.
I know you know me. I wash my children’s faces with spit and my thumb.
Pick at the dirt behind their ears. Whine about their whining.
Nag abouttheir nagging. Worry that I’ll never live to see the day they’ll change
their underwear without coercion or threats of bodily harm.
I have eyes in the back of my head and a nose that can sniff out doggy
doo-doo on a sneakered foot fifty yards away. I have ears that can hear
Oreo cookies being eaten underneath the covers by a child who is supposedly
asleep. With just one sideways glance, I can tell who sharpened her crayon
with my eyeliner pencil sharpener and who accidentally-on-purpose let the
bathroom sink overflow.
A few years ago, you would have recognized me as the one with strained
chicken and peas plastered in my hair and a faraway look in my eyes, as I
dreamed of a life that was not planned around nap time and late night
feedings. I was the one who, when asked by a poll-taker to name my
favorite male television performer, answered without hesitation, “Ernie
from Sesame Street”.
Once upon a time I had a stomach that didn’t fall to the floor. Once, I
had hips that didn’t serve as a baby saddle and a shelf for grocery bags.
Once, I could even take a bath. Alone. All by myself. Without someone
pounding on the closed door, asking if she could use the blue food coloring
or “just wondering” if Super Glue ruins dining room tables.
If you looked in my closet you’d find baggy sweats with elastic waists;
big, long sweaters; and pull-on pants. Forget Bill Blass and Anne Klein,
give me Hanes Her Way any day.
You know who I am. I eat standing up. “Breakfast” consists of the soggy
cereal left in bowls on the kitchen table, the ends of bread left in the
bag, and blobs of strawberry jam scraped from the counter. I grab lunch on
the run from a drive-through window and nibble on dinner as I cook it. I
finish everyone else’s ice cream, then wonder why I can’t ever seem to lose
Don’t tell anyone, but I live for bedtime. I yearn for the sounds of a
child’s slumber. I long for my own head to hit the pillow. I pine for
You know me. I’m the one with the knot in her stomach, praying her child
will figure out how to turn over on the playground turnover bar so she
won’t be humiliated in front of her classmates during gym class. I’m the
one who drinks the powdered milk so that everyone else can have the “real”
stuff. I’m the one who eagerly counted the days until both daughters went
to school, then cried when that day finally arrived.
I’m the one who willingly suffered through morning sickness, swollen
ankles, uncontrollable crying jags, and overwhelming desires for lemon
meringue pie and out-of-season blackberries. (Not to mention pushing a
bowling ball through a part of my body a bowling ball doesn’t normally fit
I’m the one frightened voices call for in the middle of the night. I’m
who changes wet sheets at three in the morning, rocks a
nightmare-strickened preschooler back to sleep at four, then gets up at
five to let the dog out.
I’m the one who, despite an utterly selfish nature and a propensity toward
evil (in addition to an inadequacy in and of myself and a definite lack of
experience), God chose as caretaker, teacher, and nurturer of two totally
dependent little sinners.
With apologies to the Peace Corps, I have the toughest job anyone will ever
love. I am battle-weary from refereeing squabbles over who did or did not
do the dishes last and battle-scarred from getting smacked in the thigh by
a line-driven softball during backyard practice. Still, I endure.
Who am I? I am a cooker of oatmeal and cleaner of soap scum. A taxi
driver, spider killer, purchase of folders with pockets and prongs, pencil
finder, and dental appointment maker. Loudest cheerleader and most fervent
pray-er, encourager of dreams and holder of hands. I am a tear wiper and
boo-boo kisser, the toothbrushing gestapo and an example of faith. You
know who I am.
I am a mother.