Sometimes grown adults, men and women alike, have mommy issues, but I am not talking about fetishism, or someone who expects you to do the dishes, or some bro who takes out his childhood frustrations on his intimates. I am talking about emotional expectations placed on women by women.
No man over the age of ten has ever said to me, “Your’e like the mother I never had.”Perhaps one day it will happen, but the mommy issues men have so far placed on me are nothing of this nature, let me make that clear. One young child did once say he wished I was his mom, and he actually had never known his mother. I accepted this, and cried into my pillow that night about the outrageous pain and unfairness that grips this world like the hand of a demon. At work doing special education disability advocacy, an old man once told me I was the closest thing to a mother his grandson ever had. I cried again that night for the rivers of pain that cut through this life we share together, because I knew it was true, even though all I did for him was make sure his special education rights were met in jail.
I am not going to cry about this for you. I am truly sorry not everyone has good parents, but you need friends, not a mom you just met. You’re a grown ass woman, not the Little Match Girl.
I am not your mother, or like a mother to you, nor am I the mother you never had. Even a teenage girl who came to stay with me for her first two years away from her home halfway across the world never went there, and yet your 21 – 25 year old self does? When you don’t even live with me? When we just met? No. No, I don’t think so, and I am going to tell you why.
I don’t mean to be cold about this, but I’ve little room to be warm about the issue. I am glad you appreciate my kindnesses, counsel and advice. I understand your sorrow and confusion and need, because I feel those things too, just as keenly as you do. I wish you’d had a mother to call a mother. I wish you’d had a better childhood. I want to be there for you. I care for you very much, and want to be there for you as, you know, a friend would be, but I am not your $@#$*&%$@# mother, and here are a few reasons why I’m bothered by you saying so.
- I hear a lot of young women discussing the prejudices they face against their age. Telling me I am like a mother to you is completely ageist. It’s a qualification of my contribution to our friendship based on the year I was born. My age has nothing to do with my behavior, and neither should yours.
- Further, it’s sexist. Do not qualify my contribution to our friendship based on my gender.
- I already have all the children I want, and if I want more, they will legally be my children and I will bring them into my home from the foster system, as adoptees, or as stepchildren and not via Facebook or a cocktail lounge or brunch.
- Do you have any idea at all the heartbreaking and backbreaking work it takes to be a mother? Whether a woman has biological, step, foster, or adopted children, the kind of mother you seem to want breaks her ass taking care of them. I breastfed my baby for three years, sat up with him at night when we were both sick, changed his diapers, taught him to talk and walk, watched Blues Clues 24/7, went with him to the park several times a day, redecorated my home when he was a toddler so he wouldn’t have to get told not to touch things in his own house, took him to specialists when he wasn’t developing in tune to standard timelines, created my own therapies when I realized I could not afford their services, cooked nearly his every meal for the first 12 years of his life, did his homework with him when he was in school and then took him out of school to unschool him at home, have had to hire lawyers to ensure his rights were met, always consider whether I need to put his needs first, take him with me nearly everywhere I go, stay in many nights so he will have me near him, spend a lot of my time and money on him and his interests, only ever go to see Marvel or action films in the theater, spend a lot of our family income on comic books, and am very busy teaching him how to cook and clean. He would never, ever dream of leaving his plate and glass on my table like you do when you come over to my house for lunch.
- It gives me heart palpitations when you say I am like the mother you never had, or that I am like a mother to you, because that is a huge burden to put on someone else. Huge. If I were your mother, you would know first of all not to ever, ever burden another woman in this way.
Call me a friend. Call me a very, very good friend. I am a very good friend. I know this. I work my ass of at it and if your want to be my friend, you will work at it too. I am not catty, jealous or competitive. I am “not like all the other girls.” Yes, I know. I am your friend. I will always be there for you, but I am not your mom. Call me a sister, even, if you need really crave a familial term of familiarity, but I am not your mother. I am not. I am not your $@#$*&%$@# mother.
Images: Mina Lee Studios