Tuesday, January 3, 2012

618. Mommies Anonymous

I walked into the kitchen of this lady’s house. Of course it was the kitchen, where else would a meeting like this be held? I set down the paper plate of homemade cookies I’d brought, trying to impress random strangers.  Chocolate chip, I whispered, to no one in particular. There was a bag of Mint Milanos already there and two open bottles of wine. I sat down and we got right to business.

“All join hands,” said the tall red-haired woman whose name-tag read Jen. About five of the women were named Jen. Maybe I’ll tell them my name is Jen too so there will be less confusion, I thought. Or maybe that would make things more confusing.

“We, the members of Mommies Anonymous, are here to help one another. Let’s recite our 12-step creed:
  1. We admit we are powerless over our children, our lives have become unmanageable
  2. We have come to believe that our children sometimes have more power than ourselves, and that basically sucks
  3. We recognize that we can gain strength by having an hour to ourselves each day
  4. We examine our past errors (such as putting the TV on a 3-hour loop of SpongeBob) and we ask for help
  5. We admit our previous mistakes, seek forgiveness and move forward
  6. We seek to live a new life with the Mommies in charge, not the kids
  7. We will support other members”
Since it was my first meeting, I had to read the creed off the 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper in front of me. Everyone else had it memorized.

I wanted to ask about the other five steps (hadn’t they said 12 steps?) but didn’t want to seem rude by interrupting.

A different Jen (she was blond and wore a green sweater with some sort of stain near the collar, maybe coffee) turned to me. “Welcome.”

Everyone else said Welcome.

“And in case you are wondering,” coffee-stain Jen said, “about the other five steps in the 12—we’re busy moms. We had to edit.”

I thought this was really funny, so I laughed. I was the only one who laughed, which is why I realized she was serious.

“Who wants to go first?” asked another woman in a black t-shirt. Her name-tag was messy, but I’m pretty sure she'd scribbled Jennifer.

“I will,” said a petite lady with short jet black hair and no name-tag. “My name is Janice, and I have two-year-old twins.”

A lot of people, myself included, gasped. Geesh! Two-year-old twins! I had an eight-year-old and a five-year-old, why was I even here? What could I possibly complain about?

“Boys,” continued Janice, “I should tell you the twins are boys.”

Little murmurs of sympathy were heard, “Ohhhhhhh.” “Mmm-hmm.” “You poor thing.”

Janice gathered her thoughts and went on: “Their toys are everywhere. I found a boat in the toilet, I have no idea how it got there. Shoes in the refrigerator. Daily. One refuses to take a nap anymore, so he wakes up his brother. We went to the library the other day and I said hi to a friend and then I realized one twin had ripped up a book and the other one was escaping out the front door.”

I exchanged a glance with another mom. The glance said, “I’ve been there.”

Janice looked at her watch. “They are probably awake right now, and my husband will be calling me at any moment.”

As if on cue, someone’s cell phone rang.

“I. Am. Losing. My. Mind.” Janice ran her fingers through her short hair.

“Well, Janice,” said another mom, “Thank you for sharing your story. I am going to give you the number of my sitter. I think you could benefit from her coming by for a few hours once or twice a week.”

If Janice wasn’t going to cry before, she did now.

“Thank you, thank you!” She jumped up and hugged the other woman.

“Who wants to go next?”

I raised my hand. “Hello, my name is MOV, and my sons fight 24 hours a day.”

Suddenly all heads swiveled to me. They nodded sympathetically.

“I try to be a good mom, I don’t let them eat cookies for breakfast anymore and we limit our TV viewing to less than one hour a day. Okay, two. I remind the boys to do their homework, but I admit I never check it. I make them go outside to the backyard to run around and get rid of that excess energy, but someone is always injured in the first 10 minutes.”

More sympathetic murmurs.

“I just feel … I feel … what’s the word I’m looking for?”

“Tired,” said a dozen moms in unison.

That’s when I knew I was in the right place.

(“Moms Ordering Vino”)


  1. vicodin, huh? there is no way i could function with 2 kids on it. knocks. me. out. ... or is it just to ease the pain of their torturous fighting? ;o)

    happy new year!

  2. As a general rule, I guess I feel like I should be over the hump with a 14 and an 11 year old. For the most part, I am, but then there are moments...oh boy! Sometimes it takes me a minute to realize what is drivinbg me crazy!

  3. Well as the eccentric child it is a difficult little tale to respond too with out incriminating myself. However mum and dad have always said No means NO and if I go over the line they have always ripped my head off and flushed it down the loo several times. Well there is no denying that has always focused the mind so when they say No then that's that.

    As for television they refuse to let anyone under the age of twenty five watch one on the grounds that the young mind starts to enjoy all the inane dross that flickers away at the human race 24/7. By your mid-twenties you will start to realize that 95% of all television is complete rubbish with luck.

  4. tera--vicodin? maybe I meant valium. or vino?

    andrea--glad you can relate. Mabye you are the "me" in 6 years? if yes, tell me it gets easier..........

    Rob Z Tobor (and if my middle initial was ultra cool like "Z"-- Zorro?-- you bet I would be using it on everything I wrote)-- glad your parents back up their "no" with a "NO". Good parents you got there! as for the no TV thing, I personally did not own a TV from age 18--28 by choice. It was completely liberating. (Although I must admit I did go to the neighbor's house on Monday nights to get my fix of Melrose Place, does this age me?) I actually LOVED not owning a TV, made me read, get things done, exercise, learn to be a beter speler and editer, and overall was a great experience. (Seinfeld was well-written, though. I do miss Seinfeld. Curb Your Enthusiasm is not the same.)


  5. Sorry, but I really enjoyed the story.

  6. What I mean is - my sympathy for your having two sons that want to kill each other is totally outweighed by my need to laugh at your story...

  7. Hello. My name is Jen...nie. I would like to tell you it gets better as they get older. I would be lying. I have a girl...and she is a teenager. (I can feel the gasping!) She is involved in her first "serious" relationship, and I think her father will not survive this stage of parenting. Twin boys...pishaw...try waiting up all night for your little girl to get home. Try convincing your daughter that who she is in love with at this tender age will most likely NOT be the man she is/should/ohgodpleaseno be marrying. Twin toddler boys...pishaw I say.

  8. julie--glad you liked it!

    jennie-- ooh, I remember being a teenage girl. I thought I was going to marry every guy I ever had a crush on......



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