I believe every mom has her Achilles' heel: that one vulnerable area of motherhood that can wreak havoc on a woman's psyche and inner peace. It can be a supermarket tantrum, a school project, or even a trip to Chuck E. Cheese. Most moms recognize their weaknesses and heroically try to protect that last fragile link to sanity. So how do they do to cope? Some outsource. They assign certain tasks to their husbands and partners. Some redirect. Or some avoid, avoid, avoid.
What's that old quote about insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Sounds about right.
Take ice hockey, for instance. I have horrible bouts of anxiety and stress every time I have to take the boys to their classes when my husband is at work. For me, ice hockey is the very epitome of misery: the small, crowded dressing area; the noise; my whiny children complaining about how I lace their skates all wrong. And don't even get me started on the expense. I am the cheapest person ever to walk the face of the earth and my husband chose the most expensive sport known to man.
And on top of everything else, I really hate being cold.
So I end up yelling at the boys, the coaches, and anyone within striking distance who gives me that tsk-tsk look. It's ugly. I don't like who I become at ice hockey. I'm not nice, funny or remotely sane. I become….that mom.
I began wondering if any of my friends have experienced similar episodes of becoming that mom when their Achilles' heels were exposed. The responses I got were rather illuminating:
"Piano lessons. I got yelled at by the piano teacher for not enforcing practice and I lost it. Piano was my husband's idea and he promised to practice with our son. I really resented being the object of her wrath. I was like, LADY…I'M JUST THE DRIVER!"
"The park. I hate the park. I know it's wrong and my kids need to play outside and all, but the germ factor just freaks me out. I run around with my disinfectant wipes and every mom there thinks I'm crazy. And don't even get me started on those play pits at the mall…."
"The zoo. Everybody is all 'Let's go to the zoo. Isn't the zoo so much fun! Where's your zoo membership?' And I'm thinking 'What is wrong with you people where you want to go to a place that smells like…THE ZOO?'"
"Homework. I feel that's pretty self-explanatory. My kids have stopped asking for help, and I can't say as I blame them. I get shaky just thinking about it. You don't happen to have a cigarette, do you?"
Whew. My research made me feel a little less alone. Other mothers have their own versions of ice hockey… their own Achilles' heel. We've all been that mom at one point or another. And if you've never been that mom, please just don't say it aloud. The karma gods will find you.
They always do.
Marianne is mother of three sons and the wife of a southside Irish fireman. She has learned that sometimes you're just too dumb to know what makes you happy. She blogs regularly at We Band of Mothers (webandofmothers.com) and curses with even greater frequency. Her material is written for the imperfect, the imprudent, and the impatient mothers who know that all this stuff is really very funny if you just give it a minute.
See more of Marianne's stories here.