Sunday, November 29, 2009

Behind Closed Doors

Just spent half an hour in the wardrobe department, getting changed for my new job. I’m an anti-parenting guru. I have shunned the grey pants and white shoes of the Dobson generation. I have shoe-horned myself into skintight jeans and a tiny t-shirt, and am ready to undo the nonsense you have been taught by your mothers and their mothers before them. Somewhere back there in history is the original mother who looked at the pink blobs of dependence before her and thought to herself ‘Oh. Shit. What the hell do I do now’?

She’s my heroine. The real mother. Not the woman who has more household skills than an overachieving girl scout has badges. Rather:
The woman who does not end her day in a peach-coloured glow of satisfaction at the way in which her nurturing skills have nudged her innocents towards wholeness and adulthood. The woman whose tears are concealed as collateral damage from cutting onions for the meat and two veg meal. The woman who has a very sore finger from hitting a door frame instead of the child in her care who drip, drip, drips water torture of nagging and whining until she’s infanticidal. The woman whose allies are the stranger-support network she plugs into on the internet and the banshee yells of music she is revisiting to remind her of the carefree person she used to be.

The woman whose fractured future is subsumed by the unpatterned chaos of the present. The woman whose sanity is not defined by coming up with a day full of educational distractions, but who cries herself to sleep praying to a god she no longer believes in that she won’t dream. The woman who knows society has norms, but tells a clerk to go and fuck themselves because that off switch sheared off at three am while trying to mutter loving words to an incessantly crying child. The woman whose bulging life is reduced to a flabby-stomached emptiness after the pills cauterized her ability to enjoy highs and lows.

The woman whose only friends are the DVD player that buys an endless loop of time in which she can remind herself again of all the household flaws which need attention, and the wine bottle which seems to be emptier earlier and earlier.

It may not be you. But it’s someone you know. What do you do for her? Love her, don’t lie to her. Allow her to hurt, but help her to heal. Point out the lies from the truth. Hold her. Whisper to her. Love her. It isn’t pretty, but it is the truth.


  1. Good lord, Scott, now I'm crying. Even though I know it's silly to expect the impossible from myself I guess I still do more than I had realized (until just now.)

    You write beautifully. More, please.

  2. @beck It's all valuable. Every changed diaper, every wiped cheek. The pressure comes in when you focus on unreal ideals of perfection. I know this post seems a bit harsh, but I hate seeing women losing themselves under the weight of it all. Sorry I made you cry :-) and thanks.

  3. Your ability to come up with example after example is amazing, and poetic, and saddens me, but in a good way. That woman is my hero, too, now; those women are.

  4. @Briane P: She's an amalgamation, but no less real for that. Wish I could wave a wand and make the domestic injustice vanish. Kind words- thank you...


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