Girls and Moms
May 11 2012
I did a zine called “Ghost Mom” when I was mad at/not speaking to my mother and even though it’s fine and appropriate—what is finer or more appropriate?—for a changeling-girl-thing to be mad at/not speaking to her mother, I’ve never gotten over the self-inflicted wound of it. Surely it’s still there as a soldered X over a prison-tattooed <3 on the skin of my real, beating, bloody heart. I mean, my mom. I love her so much. Like a lot of nowness-girls I am zero percent like her, and revel in the difference, but I like her more than anyone or anything. As the mini-twin-figurine of my moody, funny dad, and often in collusion with him as one will be with their future self, I once said “I love her more than you.” I hurt his feelings and felt really weird for a while because of course I love my dad, to the max, and started calling him my best friend again after my dog died, but definitively stating that my mom is who I love the most in the world also felt like coming back from war with medals and treasures and heads on sticks. It can be hard for a me-type girl to acknowledge how everything a mom is when all you’ve wanted ever is to get the fuck away.
So haps Mother’s Days you guys!
BEING OF THEM
In 1952, WASP rat king John Cheever wrote in his journal, about his mom, “Sitting with her, I feel that I do not have the eyes to see her.” It’s just like how you can’t ever actually know what you look like, even with your vast archives of digital photos. You, and your mom… both ghosts.
THE ALL-CONSUMING IMMORTAL HELLBEAST THAT IS MOTHERHOOD
Richard Yates (yeah, I’m having a suburbanality literature moment; something about the smell of cut grass and gasoline) wrote “If you wanted to do something absolutely honest, something true, it always turned out to be a thing that had to be done alone.” That was about both art and abortion—dude is a genius.
Almost everything that applies to artistic effort applies to mom-ing because moms still do almost all the work and even if they don’t they still are thinking about you/their kiddos constantly. It is inalienably in the way. And what the current/passing/meek wave of exhausted debate between French feminists who blow smoke in their children’s faces (luv uuuu) and American mothers breastfeeding middle-schoolers (not so sure about this) is all about, really, is how regardless of what you’re like as a mother, if you are a mother then that is what you are. Yeah? Yeah. Nothing Obama can say or do at this moment is going to make the deal any sweeter for girlies, I can tell you that much. This is not something I am particularly interested in as a theme or topic because of how it’s boring, but it’s important to note that, like, your doctor is officially instructed to consider you “pre-maternal” from whenever you are a biologically viable baby-vessel onward, until you’re a husk. It is still, still, still the defining thing that you are supposed to be in the world, after being pretty, and while that idea only exists to you in the same kind of paisley-shaped glutinous micro-germ that a baby is before it is made, you should try to know that this is what you’re going to be up against, what every girl is eventually up against, and so you should be nicer to your own mom, OK?
Mine is very kind and beautiful in a way that is both ideal and traumatizing. Loves navy. Has never yelled at me at all ever and I was a strange and disappointing child. French is her first language so she is somewhat haunted. Whenever I moved into a new apartment she would make my bed because she makes beds perfectly but she would/has never told me how to arrange my things in any certain way. She never calls me but is always thrilled when I call her. So this is what perfect is.
Maybe you have a bad mom or no mom or something in between and I really do want to understand and stroke your cheeks with my thumbs sometime but right now I can’t bring myself to do that, because my mom and therefore my inextricably connected vision of all moms are like delicate glass ornaments, and if my thoughts about her/them/this are expanded on or fucked with that glass will shatter or blow up.
Nobody talks about how Medea was just like the original spurned Real Housewife, amirite?
Surely there is some whatevering to be done about how we came out of their bodies and are inalienably and entirely of their bodies and how that is as sci-fi as it’s ever going to get (and maybe a sub-whatevering about how my mom won’t give me her PIN or share Chapstick or accept a Cloret that I only had in my mouth for a half-second when it’s the last Cloret in the pack, even though she had me) just because that’s kind of grody. Instead, how about I tell you about the time that the 7-11 on Yonge Street was giving out free Slushies the same day I got a medium-painful tattoo and I skipped back to my office after lunch with a Big Gulp cup and a bunch of gauze taped to me? It was summer.
The somecards version of Mother’s Day—the one where you congratulate your mom for having you with something you would like for a prezzie instead of what your mom might like for a prezzie—is for people who never progressed past the “MOM MOM MOM MOM MAM MAM MAM MAM” understanding of the woman who made you. The wo-man! Show some respect for 15 minutes, you turd-nugget. Oooooh this reminds me that I hate other people so, so much.
Anyway, Mother’s Day is caaaawny as the Field of Dreams, but so are you (have you read your tweets?), so make sure you put in a really good effort for your mom in advance of that date or whenever you see or interact with her.
Most songs about moms are disgusting. Drake’s Splenda-flavored numbered “Look What You’ve Done” is a good example of this. Maybe listen to it for a second. The relationship that rappers, R&B guys, and Ozzy Osbourne have with their moms is curious to me because shouldn’t homeschooled pop girls be the ones pulling their moms onstage instead of guys who are otherwise on about how many acres of pussy they plowed that year?
Still feel about party moms the way I felt as a fourth-grader about teenagers who smoked cigarettes in their cars on the way to school. Like, I get that the superfluity of adulthood of course lends itself to being a mom while also being someone who grows pot, dates, says swears, is not always within the tight embrace of high-functioning normality. I know all this. Still can’t believe it, though. CANNOT BELIEVE that there are moms who have something funner to do than knit, which is objective proof that you’re never not your parents’ kid. Sorry.
#2 problem with having kids after how it is social suicide (an 80s phrasing that I just decided we’re bringing back, OK?) is interacting with other parents, and other parents are more desperate and judgmental and FUCKING BORING than adolescent girls. All of them want to look real, real deep into your eyes and do knowing smiles, and want to share all of these precious moments with you, even if you are CLEARLY just knocking back coffees in the presence of your shorter BFFs while their moms are at Ralph’s and you are CLEARLY not going to engage with them. Imagine being at your job and never getting to leave, that’s what it’s like hanging out with parents. And look, I love kids! I love going to the park with kids! Kids don’t ruin parenting; parents ruin parenting. Ooooooh I am smart.
I also like babysitting because there is hella candy, BUT the second after kids are still in front of me when I would rather be with adults is the most searing hell. So there is that as an argument against running toward a life that would necessitate/form itself around the having of children. Plus my sister told me once about her and her kid being sick at the same time and lying on the floor of her beautiful beach house staring at each other and I decided it’s not worth it and every time I’m sick I close my eyes and pretend there is a mucus-dripping three-year-old a foot away from me and how would I feel about that?
I believe in birth order with an intensity and absent rationality usually seen in born-agains. Like, look: Oldests are just terrifically bossy, but also the kings, so, I’ll do whatever you tell me to do, that’s fine. Middle children cry a lot and get very little accomplished. Youngests are spoiled and annoying.
Only children, who I accidentally know a lot of because they understand how much I need to dramatically sing at them when we’re driving somewhere, because they’re all, “me too”… you’re fucked, or “fuckzored” as we used to say in the business. Seriously-serious want nothing to do with you terminally weird Nells-from-the-movie-Nell forever. I suppose none of that is about moms, per se.
I definitely included this in the last Girl News (which was about crying I think?) but it bears repeating, that my friend told me when you hear your mom’s voice on the phone it’s so comforting and familiar that it relaxes you into a laxative state which is what I am calling “going” for now.
Don’t even care about my own having-kids schedule because I’m going to adopt three babies when I am 39 or 42 and push them around in super-heels and have a townhouse in Chelsea and life will be like all those insect-women in Vogue but hopefully a lot less airless, because there has to be a way to do that.
Previously - Girls and Crying
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