My mom was one of the wisest people I have ever known. She often seemed to know the exact right thing to do or say to solve a problem. And she was generous with her time, attention, and advice. But some things she said still make me wonder if she was
actually human very different from most other folks, or if her memories of events were a bit off. Take the following statements that she made:
1. Labor pain is no worse than your worst menstrual cramps
HA! Now, I did have some pretty fierce menstrual cramps in my teens and twenties that would render me non-functional for a day as I laid on the bed and cursed my gender. But even that pain didn’t have the gall to compare itself to my labor pain. At the height of my labor I could only breathe, stare at the wall, and silently cry. It truly sucked. (Full disclosure: all of my labors ended in c-sections).
2. Life starts at 40
I’m not sure. I think for my mom she felt invigorated at 40 because my sister and I were both in school and fairly autonomous. She finally caught a break from having to keep an eye on us at all times. Plus, this was an era where kids were not in the house (and underfoot) during the day. We were
kicked out invited to go outside to play after breakfast in the sweltering heat nature and told to come back in only for lunch (“if you need water use the hose”). After lunch we returned outdoors, only to come back in when the streetlights came on.
I don’t know what parents did during the intervening hours when we were all outside
playing doctor entertaining one another, but back then it never occurred to me to wonder.
I had my last baby at 39, so I was still a bit crazed at 40. Now, at 43 I’ve found a better balance. My kids are old enough now to entertain themselves for periods of time, and they are more fun to be around. We can travel together as a family fairly easily (no more bottles, baby food, nursing, crib reservations, etc.). My youngest will go to school next year. And then I will learn what it is that parents do all day. I have feeling it is something like this: errands, cleaning, picking up, laundry, dishes, more errands, phone calls, emails, taking forgotten things to school, picking up a sick child, volunteering at the library, chaperoning field trips, doctor’s appointments, etc. So, not a huge change from what I do now. But I do feel like I’ve made it over the “crazy hump” of early motherhood/parenting infants and toddlers stage. And it. is. wonderful. (Evil confession: whenever I congratulate a new/prospective mother on her newborn/pregnancy I always have to suppress the urge to giggle).
3. Ok, I can’t confirm this claim either way, but my mom said that after she gave birth she wore her pre-pregnancy jeans back home from the hospital.
Really? REALLY???!!!! My oldest son will be 11 years old next week and I still can’t get back into my goddamn pre-pregnancy jeans. As I left the hospital after I had David I was wearing my husband’s sweatpants. He’s a foot taller and 100 pounds heavier than me. It took…..well, I still haven’t gotten back to my pre-pregnancy weight. But, aside from the fact that my stomach still looked like I was six months pregnant for the first several weeks after birth, I left the hospital wearing one of those nuclear-grade maxi-pads (how would you get jeans over that?). The giant maxi pad, incision pain, and the resulting c-section shuffle, made me walk like an elderly, bow-legged hobbit. I can’t even imagine having a zipper over the stitches.
4. Finally, my mom claims that I was an absolute angel as a child
Clearly, she lost her mind somewhere along the way. I wonder if I had anything to do with it? More importantly, does this claim invalidate all her previous claims?
Drop me a line with bizarre, odd, or otherwise seemingly outrageous claims that your mom made (or dad, grandparents, or other older relative).