Stories and Essays From Our Mom Squad

“Motherhood is a choice you make every day to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is, … and to forgive yourself over and over again for doing everything wrong.” —Donna Ball

Moms are the greatest experts in the world on motherhood.  This page is dedicated to the thoughts and essays from our Mom Squad on motherhood.

Erma Bombeck is an incredible, hilarious, and insightful author who chronicled the ordinary life of a midwestern suburban housewife during the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Below is an essay she wrote entitled “When God Created Mothers.”  Enjoy!

“When God Created Mothers”

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of “overtime” when the angel appeared and said. “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.”

And God said, “Have you read the specs on this order?” She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts…all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands.”

The angel shook her head slowly and said. “Six pairs of hands…. no way.”

It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” God remarked, “it’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”

That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel. God nodded.

One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, ‘What are you kids doing in there?’ when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say. ‘I understand and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.”

God,” said the angel touching his sleeve gently, “Get some rest tomorrow….”

I can’t,” said God, “I’m so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick…can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger…and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower.”

The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. “It’s too soft,” she sighed.

But tough!” said God excitedly. “You can imagine what this mother can do or endure.”

Can it think?”

Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise,” said the Creator.

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek.

There’s a leak,” she pronounced. “I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model.”

It’s not a leak,” said the Lord, “It’s a tear.”

What’s it for?”

It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride.”

You are a genius, ” said the angel.

Somberly, God said, “I didn’t put it there.”
― Erma BombeckWhen God Created Mothers

 

The following is an excerpt of a letter written by Camille’s sister in law, Wendy, who had been watching Camille’s youngest kids.  It is a terrific retelling of such typical three year old trouble.

A Three Year Old, a Jar of BB’s, and a LOT of Feelings

 We had Alan and his 4 littles here for dinner at 5 on Saturday and then he and Elijah went with Dad and the boys to a meeting while I hung out with Brigs, Jake and Hope.  I cleaned up the massive mess of dinner for all of that crew and then I checked on everyone.  All was bliss.  Roses were blooming beneath their feet.  While I was upstairs, I saw Levi’s jar of 5000 (NOT hyperbole) air soft bullets/balls.  With the lid OFF.  I thought to myself, “Whoops!  I better get the lid on THAT.  Phew!  That could have been a mess!”  I put the lid on tightly and set it on a shelf and came downstairs for a little while.  I listened to the happy playing sounds for about 10 minutes, when I heard Jake chewing Hope out.  Slowly, realization dawned that he was saying that she should not have made such a big mess, and she was insisting joyfully that it had been JUST LIKE A SHOWER.  (Which is a recognized acceptable reason for making any amount of mess.)
When I went upstairs, there she was, carpet-swimming through 5000 shiny red BBs.
Awesome.
I tried to create a sense of urgency, by mentioning that Levi was coming home soon and that he would be really sad to see his stuff all over the place.  Hope reassured me that even if Levi was sad, SHE was Happy! “SEE????”  And she made a ghoulish toothy grin and shoved her face into mine.  It was a super fun 20 minutes.  Not only do I love picking up 5000 tiny things, I also really love rubbing my hands all over the floor repeatedly.  I love how that rubbed in grime makes my fingers feel.  I also love trying to be creatively fun and motivating WHILE I pick up 5000 tiny things off the floor.  Oh.  And also really patient.  I love trying to be that WHILE I’m doing all those other things.  This is an important part of the process, because 2 year olds (who are about to be 3) WILL pick up tiny BBs for a little while.  But they lose interest VERY QUICKLY.  Remarkably so.  In fact losing interest in cleaning only takes the same amount of time that it takes a 2.9 year old to realize the striking visual similarity between red translucent BBs and Clown Fish Eggs (as per “Finding Nemo”).  That’s when cleaning goes out the window.  And suddenly, the priority is to SAVE THE EGGS.  Strangely, saving the eggs is NOT done by picking them up off the floor and putting them (safely, may I add) in the BB jar.  No.  It consists mainly of yelling and jumping/crawling around while scrabbling your sticky little hands through the drifted BBs, wherever they may be.  The qualities of pile carpet and said BBs combine to make for a much wider distribution of BBs when this technique is used.  There’s a lot of bouncing of BBs.
At that point I tried to remind your little cousin that Levi was almost home.  And that he would not be happy.  She asked me if I was happy.  I am essentially a truthful person, so I said NO.  Then she repeated, that in spite of everything, she continued to feel very happy.  Then she asked Jacob if HE was happy.  He said No.  She asked if he was mad.  He said, “No.  I don’t really feel anything right now.  I’m not happy.  I’m not mad.  I’m just normal.”  I felt like we had spent enough time discussing our feelings, so I said we should HURRY and pick up all the little balls/eggs/BBs and put them in the jar.  She made a half-hearted attempt for about one-and-a-half seconds, and then, noticing a large patch of carpet that was pretty evenly covered with little air soft BBs, she flung herself onto her back and flapped her arms and legs with joyous abandon.  “I making a SNOW ANGEL, Aunt Wendy!!!!”
It’s actually quite amazing that it only took me 20 minutes to pick up those darn things. Between the rather wide scatter pattern, and Hope’s very life-like re-creation of the crime (which indeed, WAS rather shower-like) after she had the jar 1/3 of the way filled, I had a lot of setbacks.  But Levi came home, and we scrambled to pick up the last thousand, and Levi was fortunately NOT sad (!)
#allsWellThatEndsWell”

To Yell Or Not To Yell…That is the Question – Tammy

I have been playing “catch up” listening to as many as I can as often as time permits. I have a little story after I listened to your podcast about parents and children and sports.

I have four boys.  The two oldest often umpired games to earn extra money.  I live in southeast Idaho where it gets cold and blustery during games in the springtime.  This particular game was on such a night, so parents might have been uncomfortable at the start.  Anyway… I had dropped my boys off to umpire, run home to take care of the other two, then run back to pick the two oldest up since they weren’t old enough to drive themselves. (13 and 15)

As I approached the field, I heard some men yelling.  Turns out, they were yelling at the umpires.  One of my boys was behind the plate.  The other was in the field for umping the bases.  On one of your episodes you talked about our identity systems.  I noticed mine was starting to awaken.  However, I tried to calm it down and go stand next to the offending yellers who were right behind the plate.  (I know that sometimes behavior changes if proximity from a new person is noticed.) Well, the men noticed I had come close to them but continued yelling.  I just stood there for a bit, and then started asking a few questions.  “Who’s winning?”  “Why is it so cold in Idaho during baseball games?”  You know, questions that could “re-reroute” these men from abusing my children.  Alas, they did not take the bait.

So I began commenting on the umpiring myself.  I said something like, “Wow, these are young kids umpiring aren’t they?  I bet they are so cold.”  Still the men persisted.  So I just had to point out the obvious (to me).  Finally, I said, “ You know, I bet these umps are doing the best they can.”  One Dad said, “They don’t know what they’re doing!  They’re terrible!” Another… “They’re throwing the game!  It’s so one-sided!” To which I responded (still calmly, I think—can you believe it?), “Actually, I know they aren’t throwing the game, and I know they are doing their best because I know them.”  (Okay so my identity system was becoming more active.)   A couple of the Dads looked at me then turned and kept yelling.  So I quickly added, “Ya, I know them.  I am their Mom.  So I know they are doing their best.  That’s what I taught them to do— do their best and be honest.”

It was SO awesome to see the looks on their faces as they turned to me.  There were 3 or 4 dads and all dispersed except one.  He began an entirely different conversation.  I was so glad to “break up” the bullying.  Those were “my” boys!  Inside I could tell that my identity system was just about ready for a one-two punch and roundhouse kick to the face.  BUT I kept it at bay.  Super glad I did.

I acknowledge that moments in my life have not been so great, (identity system WIDE awake!), but when I heard the story of the parents yelling at (was it?) Camille’s son, it brought back a flood of memories.

An Earful Out Of The Mouth Of Babes – Melissa

I listened to your podcast with Brad  Wilcox this week and I was glad I did.  I have a 3 year old girl and we have taught her anatomically correct terms for her body parts and are teaching her that no one should try to touch her there, but it still feels awkward to say it.  The podcast strengthened my resolve to keep doing what we’re doing…which I needed tonight when my daughter told my 6 year old niece “don’t touch my vagina” and my niece responded “what’s a vagina?”….so my sister in laws 5 kids got a little unwanted anatomy lesson, while I felt a little more than awkward. But because of your podcast I was able to still feel like I was doing the right thing no matter how awkward it was! I’m sure it won’t be the last time… haha!