oh no, of course I know YOUR mom is the best, Im not talking to you. I'm talking to the girl behind you whose mom once left an eighth of yayo laying out in reach of her small children. *
I lay doing my routine morning scroll today (ya know, before my feet touch the ground like the experts suggest is the healthiest) and I came across an article about Vanessa Bryant, widow of the late and great Kobe Bryant, being sued by her mother ,Sofia for some absurd amount of money. It is something like 5 million USD , which she , Sofia, is claiming is what she is owed in backed child care fees for having watched the Bryant's children for years. I didn't read too much into the details but what did strike me was how the comments reflected a deep shock and aww of how a mother , in what is surely the worst year of her daughters life, what with having lost her husband and child in a very tragic and public matter and all, could go after her for something so trivial like money. Mothers are after all held to the absolute highest standard of esteem. It's as if there's this social contract we are all bound to that says mothers are the closest thing to God we will know in the mortal world. Mothers, the vessels used to bring us to this life from the last.
As a certified Mom now though, I must say, the whole thing is very strange if you ask me. You mean I dont even have to try? I earned my Mom badge and the privileges that come with it by simply pushing these little crotch goblins out ? I don't know man, seems a little participation trophy-ish.
What I'm getting at is, the makings of a good or bad mom are subjective. Im convinced now more than ever.
I'm not sure how or where to begin to dissect it , but put it this way, not only will my mom and I not be starring in a season of sMothered any time soon , we won't even be starring in so much as a an IG story because we are hardly ever in the same room and don't speak when we are. In fact we see right through each other. Simply put there is just nothing there, and its really challenging to describe it if you're not there to experience the nothingness for yourself. To explain the genesis of this dynamic would really be like explaining why the chicken crossed the road. In that our relationship is a fucking joke of course.
To keep it short for you kind reader, I was and am, for all intents and purposes, her canary in the coal mine child. First in line . A mere practice run.
One of my earliest memories is sleeping in the trunk of my moms car while she worked graveyard shift at her job as a corrections officer. I dont say that in a "My mom was so irresponsible " kind of way I say that as "My mom was a determined woman and did what she could" kind of way. The timeline is blurry because I was about 5 or 6 years old, but I'm pretty sure I had to go with her because her husband at the time was cheating on her with some skonka from his job or something , so it was just her and I again after that. We knew noone else in the city we lived in at the time and she either couldn't afford child care or didnt trust anyone enough to leave her prized possession (😆) alone with them. Her efforts to raise me, however valiant and noble still fell flat in the end, for I knew, even then, she expected that my purpose was to let her re-do life through me.
What a played out storyline right?. For fuck sake, if I had a dollar for everytime she barked down the approved blueprint of my life I wouldn't be living paycheck to paycheck thats for sure. And Yes I'm aware of the irony in that . Blegh. Let's go ahead and skip right over the years and years worth of "I need you to do all of the things I didnt get to do for X, Y,Z reason". To sum up, I did none of the things, and now we don't talk . Only, I can not for the life of me tell you an exact reason as to why. I guess thats because there is no "real reason". Atleast not for me there isn't. I dont know about her but if I had to guess I'd say , apathy is a pendulum that swings both ways here.
I dont , hate her in any way, shape or form. I wouldn't hate the woman who taught me I should "pull a girls shirt down so that she uses her hands to cover her chest" to gain an advantage in a fight. I wouldn't hate the woman that sent pre-teen me on solo trips to New York and Hawaii with my financially better off, two parent household, White , suburban friends (as part of the things she didn't get to do I guess) . And I most certainly wouldn't hate the woman at the root of my affinity for true crime. I just don't feel a sense of deep connection to her nor do I feel indebted to her for giving me life (against my will might I add). She was to her credit, a wonderful , superb, provider and got the job done. If getting me to the cusp of adulthood alive counts as getting the job done then she did just that. ✔ But you know what, what even is a bad mom ? Seriously, if Tupacs mom could be a "crack fiend" whilst still remaining a "Black Queen" its clear everyone uses their own metric to measure what a good or bad mom is right? Idk about you, reader, but where I come from we even normalize and make light of ruthlessly beating our children with an array of household items from belts to electrical cords to the imfamous chancla. And yet, we , along with almost every other culture in existence and extinction have long worshipped thy mothers as walking deities. And for what ? For why? Huh.? Just because?
To be fair, this is not to take away from those of you with Moms like that lady from Tik Tok that fixes her kids those elaborate lunches EVERY SINGLE FUCKING DAY. Or those moms that lift cars off of their children after a bad crash. Shit this isn't even to take away from those of you with moms who were mediocre to you growing up but have redeemed themselves now that you've made them grandmas. And some, for what it's worth, thoroughly live up to the mom hype ! My Abuela and my Nana are great mothers for example. With all of their combined cooking and sewing and loving and just all around momming I dont thirst for maternal love and thankfully never have.
I get it, our moms chose to raise us and we should be thankful because most did their best. Id like to think mine did. She really did her damnest and I dont for even a second take her efforts for granted. But since I and my siblings , are the only people walking this earth who can critique her performance as a mother fairly since ya know she's OUR MOM ,I'd say the whole experience has been about a 5/10 overall. Would maybe recommend if placed under new management.
If you're still here chances are you're either appalled by what I'm writing because you are of the "my mom is my bff" variety or you're slightly bemused because you feel the same way about your mom and / or the mommamania that has plagued us since the dawn of time. And it is you in the latter who Im speaking directly to now. You're seen. Its ok to not fuck with your momma.
Im almost 30 years old, I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt , my mom, though an effective and stellar provider as I mentioned above, is simply not a pleasant person to know or be around for any extended period of time. There is no real discourse, no one single event, no cataclysmic falling out. There is nothing wrong with me or us. She's just not "my vibe", as the kids say. She's controlling, self centered, overly serious (and not in a funny Redd Forman sorta way) , stuffy, high maintenance yet low effort and whatever other words the DSM-5 is using these days to describe one who needs the whole room to know they're bothered with something trivial going on in their surroundings. In short, she is not someone id willingly just happen to hang out with. So why should I ? Frankly, after all the times I heard this woman say something to the extent of "Im not one of your little friends", why the hell would I even want to hang out with her anyway? Friends after all are family you choose to keep around, not people you're obligated to keep around because "family is family" . Are you familiar with the popular quote "Blood is thicker than water?" . Well that's a common misquote actually, the real phrase is "The blood spilled by the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb" meaning it is our experiences that bond us in life, not genetics. That's why I in fact do want to be friends with my kids and I'd do whatever possible to keep them around me well into their adulthood. Why wouldn't I want my kids to choose to be around me vs be around me because they feel a societal obligation to do so?
And that, reader, is why I'm here. To remind you, and those like us, that we give Moms way too much credit. Yup I said it and I'll do it again ! Moms get too much credit for meeting the standard requirements of being a parent, simply for having shot us out their sacred places at one point in time and housed, clothed and nurtured us in accordance with the law. We don't even feel the need to do extra or demand extra from mothers. Its as though just having a baby making WAP is enough to earn you the accolades that come with motherhood. No need to actually try.
I know there are some of you who feel the burden of explaining away or covering up or even ignoring the weird dynamic with your mother because you feel nature ,not man, dictates you must borderline worship her. But I'm here to tell you thats bullshit. Ok? Fuck yo momma! Ok. Maybe that's a tad aggressive. But, I'm just saying, Its ok to love your mom for what she is or was or what she means or meant to you at some point. But its also ok to have a distant or even nonexistent relationship with your mother. You don't have to subject yourself to emotional stress or tension to prove the point that you're appreciative for not having been tossed in the compost upon birth, placenta and all. And what's more, if you're a mom you should consider you have to do more than just be present to qualify as a good mom.
To be fair, I got off easy. On a scale from Andrea Yates to Tik Tok lunch mom , I'd say my mom lands just above a Joan Crawford. Maybe right around the Kate Gosselin zone if we're being specific. Still, I know some of you reading this who have moms that would blow my mom out of the water if they were in the Bad Mom Olympics. One little stroll down the r/JustNoFam , r/JUSTNOMIL subs on Reddit will straighten you right up if you think you have a terrible mom.
I'm thankful for all that I got out of being born to the only mom I'll ever get. Good and bad I'm thankful for it all. And to be transparent, I did get alot of good! Maybe ill write about those things one day. But as of the time of this writing, as an adult and mother myself, I have moved on from the societal standard of having the image of my mother be that of one of her sitting on a throne made of iron forged by the hands of Hephaestus himself. And I KNOW for a fact I'm not the only one who feels this way. But if you perhaps needed a reminder that you're not alone, then again, here it is.
I know with the holidays on the horizon , we're all about to start getting bombarded with festive images of families and extended families uniting to shower each other with gifts representative of their deep undying love for one another. Its ok to barf in your mouth a little bit because that's not you or your family. I'm looking at you, with Moms who prioritized their boyfriends. Moms who let their boyfriends diddle their daughters. Moms who never stopped the party after becoming Moms. Moms who beat you til you fell asleep. Moms who never cooked for you or made sure you had lunch money**. And Moms who went through the motions , did all the "right" things but ended up still just not being your vibe.
Whatever your story, its okay. A Mom is just a woman. Fallible and flawed.
* This did not happen to me or my Mom. It did happen to a close friend of mine however.
** Again, these things didn't happen to me they did happen closely around me. The point is a "good" mom is subjective.