Sure, I’ve been up on a broomstick a time or two. Terminally crabby is another one of those, “Caution! Mom Working!” on-the-job hazards. I mean, really, it is entirely possible to experience cramps, nausea and all those irritatingly annoying gestational symptoms as well as a multitude of postpartum letdown reflexes all in the same fiscal year, only then to be plagued by several decades of sleep deprivation and to top it all off hot flashes from hell.
I know. I’ve experienced these cruel twists of nature several times and so have most of my friends. I know this because one of the first orders of business at any given mommy meeting is a mandatory 15-minute “witch” session in which we all take turns hopping up on our collective cauldrons and airing our grievances. “What happened?,” we wonder. We had such good intentions at the start of our mommy careers. After all, we were mutually weaned on the idea that in some fairy tale rerun we’d defeat the forces of evil, marry Prince Charming and live happily ever after emulating passively pleasing fictional characters like June Cleaver and Mrs. Brady. At the very least why couldn’t we be charmingly bewitched like Samantha and twitch our perky little nostrils, purr a few magic words and poof the (darn) house is sparkly clean and our little monsters have morphed into angelic little darlings doomed to live out their childhoods in a perpetually compliant transcendental state.
But this is the age of reality TV. And look at us now we’ve grown up and become (sorry, Mom) twisted versions of Roseanne Barr and our mothers on steroids!
Because of the many unwritten girlfriend codes of confidentiality, and due to certain media laws regarding language restrictions, I am bound not reveal my sorceresses or quote them verbatim. I can tell you that one of my many other mother heroines, Anne Lamont, in a nonfictional tirade, once openly confessed that she did not know she was psychotic until she became a mom:
“When you think that you’re somebody who is so peaceful and loving and giving that you will probably start dating the Dalai Lama soon, only it turns out that you’re thinking about picking your child up by the ankles and spinning him over your head, or leaving him on the front steps until he stops crying, it’s very confusing.”
The title of Lynda Eyre’s book, “I Didn’t Plan to be a Witch: And Other Surprises of a Joyful Mother,” speaks for itself. In her book she recounts how her image of being a perfect mom disappears with a flash of fireworks as she is replaced by the wicked witch.
Where was I? Oh, yes confusing. It’s been a busy week on the mom front. Besides endeavoring to accomplish a multitasking multitude of household duties, shopping for an endless list of school supplies and Lunchables, conjuring up three nutritious and delicious meals each day while trying to evoke an ever-pleasant maternal facade, I’ve been attending the RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) women’s self-defense class.
On the first day we all introduced ourselves and were each given a training manual. I was not surprised to learn that many of the women in attendance were moms and grandmas, and even great-grandmas. Once the lecture portion of the class was completed, we were required to put our new moves into practice. Now, if you’ve ever been spooked by a bump in the night or witnessed a charging brown bear, you ain’t never seen anything like a coven of women, armed with maneuvers specifically designed to put a serious hurt on a would-be attacker, and given permission to evoke a screeching “NO!” at the top of their lungs. Deafening.
One, (unnamed) mom confessed that she’d been looking foreword to throwing a punch all day. As a whole, I believe we frightened the instructors a little during the combat simulations.
During our break times we compared notes and ritually exchanged gripes. One thing we all agreed on was that, while we wanted to know how to adequately protect ourselves, we would stop at nothing to defend our kids even if they were on our witch list.
Fay Weldon once wrote, “ The greatest advantage of not having children must be that you can go on believing that you are a nice person. Once you have children you realize how wars start.”
I couldn’t agree more. Maybe Mother Nature designed us this way. I believe that as soon as that umbilical cord is cut she casts a spell on every new mother: “A little bit of sugar, a little bit of spice, now that you’re a mommy you’ll be quitting nice.”
Anyone who has been present in a birthing room could testify to the sudden transformation from expectant glowing mommy to “Call the exorcist!”
For me this entire week has put a new spin on that popular bumper sticker, “Alaska girls kick @*&^#*!”
My favorite sticker? “My other car is a broom.”
Jacki Michels is a writer who lives in Soldotna.
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