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Mother Load

I pull up to my house and see our pitch backs and goal nets arranged in a way that suggest that my oldest son had concocted some creative and convoluted new game for his brothers to compete in. The front lawn with balls and equipment strewn about, looks so lived in and loved. Granted, on a colder not as bright day, it might instead look like we’re a bunch of pigs, albeit, athletic ones. But right now, blinded by sunshine, the thought of them out there fighting, I mean, playing together gives me the warm fuzzies as I open the trunk to retrieve the groceries.

Through the open screen door, I hear my husband bellow, “Boys! Go help your mother!” For some reason it strikes me funny that he is talking about me. If he would have said, ‘Go help mommy,” I probably wouldn’t have blinked. I’m used to being mommy, but somehow, it feels odd to realize that I am in fact the ‘mother’.

I stand by the trunk gleefully waiting for the mess of them to tumble out – My nearly 13 year-old with his surprisingly strong body and sweet baby face, my 10 year old, full of sass and sparkle and my 7 year old with his mop of curls that mirror my own and a face that everyone wants to squeeze. My boys, I think sentimentally, coming to help their mother.

Any second the screen will fly open. Annnnny second. Maybe they can’t find their shoes? I think but discard that theory immediately. Who am I kidding, to them shoes are an overrated, optional accessory.

I wait another 30 seconds, sigh and gather up the bags. Slinging my pocketbook over my shoulder, I rest the two heaviest in the bend of each arm, carry two more in each hand and lumber toward the house like one of the monsters in an episode of Scooby Doo.

Opening the screen requires acrobatic maneuvering and strength that only two day a week attendees of Parisi sport training classes can master. I am crouched down, the bags that I refuse for some idiotic reason to put down, cutting off circulation in my arms. My thighs give a little shake just to let me know how vulnerable I really am, but I overcome and somehow manage to get my middle finger, white from asphyxiation, to pull open the door.

It is remarkably quiet in a house which should be a flurry of activity in their race to get out to me. “Tell the boys to help,” my husband calls to me from the office. I can’t even answer as I lug the bags to the kitchen. Of course the boys are nowhere to be seen, which means one thing. I listen by the basement stairs. Yup, Minecraft.


Automatically I start unpacking the groceries, the Norman Rockwell image vanished. At this point, it’s just easier and more relaxing than calling the boys up. Besides, if I really want support I know exactly where to find it.

I remove the tub of Rocky Road from the bag and instead of putting it in the freezer, get a spoon and plop myself down at the table.

Sometimes, you’ve just got to help yourself.


Sometimes, you just have to help yourself.

Helping myself some more.








Don’t feel like you have to read my essay on guilt. I worked really hard on it, but no big deal.

When my grandmother disapproved of something I was doing she’d off-handedly tsk and say, “Oh, I thought you were smarter than that.”

Ow. Give me a second while I recover from that backhanded compliment.

Whether genuinely unaware of her manipulation or just believing I was too stupid to see through her psycho-babble, my grandmother had no qualms about letting me know exactly what she wanted.

“I don’t want to tell you what to do, honey, but it if were me…”

Translation – Do what I would do. Now.

And unlike my strong-willed cousin and her two “rotten” children, I could always be counted on to listen, to do the right thing even if it wasn’t necessarily the right thing for me. I hit the trifecta with my gender, my first born status and my Jewish heritage.

Oy, she wasn’t a boy, the least she can do is be a good girl.

And I was.

A natural people pleaser and child of divorce, I didn’t like to disappoint people, because honestly, I didn’t want people disappointed in me. I made the phone calls, brought the presents, volunteered for things I didn’t want. I said yes, when I wanted to say no. Guilt was my middle name. Along with Schmuckevoo.  And Kim. You know, only one of those is real, right? Schmuckevoo. It’s French.

Now after years of experience, and my grandmother only a voice in my head, I know that no one can guilt me. I’m the only one with that power, and it seems I’m a bit of a sadist.

Here’s some of the guilt I had yesterday….

I didn’t call my father, even though I knew I should.

I gave my kids cocoa puffs for breakfast.

I helped my son too much with his homework.

I picked up my kids toys after they neglected to.

I ate ice cream for lunch.

Here’s some of the guilt I had today…

I called my father, and wished I hadn’t.

I didn’t give my kids cocoa puffs for breakfast.

I didn’t help my son with his homework.

I put my affronted kid in his room for not picking up his toys

I ate ice cream for lunch.

It’s like I can’t win. I’m either doing too much or too little. With everything. For everyone. Was I short with my mother? Did I only let my father vent in monologue for a half hour before becoming impatient? Did I put my kids on the bus in the morning when they wanted me to drive? Did I jump to attention when they asked me to something for them, then yell in frustration when they didn’t return the favor? Did I not give them another snack? Did I give them too many snacks?

Was I good enough? Was I nice enough? Do people like me?

Bleh!! You can go crazy with these kinds of unproductive thoughts.

I’m over it.

I’m going to try to feel less guilty and do more things for me.

Unless of course you need anything.

Oy. This world is heavy.

Oy. This world is heavy.