Super Mom Bear photo courtesy of Vermont Teddy Bear.
I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard some blowhard repeat the lie that women “forget” the pain of childbirth. If women really remembered the searing pain of it all, they claim, the world would be populated mostly by ants, who would be fighting over slim pickings at small picnics made by one-child families.
I have news for you: Mothers remember their labor pains with terrifying clarity. The only way I can explain the addition of three additional kids after the trauma of my first experience in childbirth is my Jewish DNA, which hardwires me with an unquenchable drive for motherhood martyrdom. If women didn’t remember their labor pain, how else can you explain the advent of Mother’s Day and the spectacle of husbands and kids madly waving soppy greeting cards in front of our faces, proffering bouquets of roses and lilies, Godiva samplers, and Vermont Teddy Bears with a “Mom for President” theme? Clearly they understand that unless they ante up with the booty and take us out to dinner, too, we will begin to reminisce, like war veterans, about our labors. Nobody wants to take that kind of chance.
Any mom who finds herself opening a box that contains a garden hoe on May 11 may as an act of revenge regale the family with anecdotes about how we tried to induce our own labor by chugging slowly on the hilliest streets in the neighborhood until we convinced ourselves that the indigestion we felt was really labor. But how would we have known the difference? After the seventh month, pregnant women live in a perpetual state of indigestion. We might also vent our anger – no longer repressed – about being denied an epidural because of the natural childbirth scam. Didn’t we want to really be “in the moment” with our pain? Hmm. When’s the last time you heard of a dentist asking a patient about to have root canal if she wanted to forgo the Novocain so she could be “in the moment” with her pain? Amnesty International would have made those people Exhibit A in a human rights abuses trial.
Under these circumstances, mothers may be excused for trying to juice everything they can out of Mother’s Day. One creative mom I know had dropped hints about wanting a tasteful little diamond bauble for the occasion but instead ended up with a new condiment caddy. As retribution, she unearthed a tape recording of her screams during labor and played it for the whole family to hear when hubby brought out the fruit salad during a Mother’s Day brunch. After that, she didn’t have to do laundry for a month. I’m a little surprised that this practice hasn’t caught on, as it would at least break the monotony of yet another pair of fuzzy slippers for Mom.
When we were kids, my sister and I saved up our money and bought our mom an electric can opener for Mother’s Day. We thought she’d be thrilled, and she never let on otherwise. That’s what moms do. We will love whatever we get, or least pretend to.
Listen, I’m not asking for much. But in case my family is reading this, here is my wish list for Mother’s Day.
1. For the entire day, I would appreciate it if everyone could remember to close the kitchen cabinets and drawers, the refrigerator door, the bathroom door, the front door, and the back door when these are not in use. Extra points for lowering the toilet seats.
2. I’d like to walk through the house and not find dirty socks or boxer shorts masquerading as modern art on the floor.
3. I’d like to see a kid – any kid with my last name will do – sorting laundry, cleaning the hamster cage, and picking up after the dog. This would reassure me that I have managed to teach them some modicum of responsibility.
4. I will promise to make my morning prayers with focus and dedication if only the kids would not to argue for a twelve-hour stretch. Please.
5. If it isn’t too much trouble, start saving up so I can get a tummy tuck to get rid of those 5,472 stretch marks that are not my fault.
If this list is too difficult, however, I’ll happily settle for a Vermont Teddy Bear and a kiss.
Happy Mother’s Day.
Need more humor for moms? Check out Judy’s award-winning humor books today! Coming soon: A Kindle edition of Carpool Tunnel Syndrome: Motherhood as Shuttle Diplomacy, Judy’s classic collection of motherhood stories.