RSS

Tag Archives: Mother’s Day

MOTHER’S DAY: “OY TO THE VEY!”

(RETOOLED FROM A MOTHER’S DAY POST PUBLISHED BY THE AUTHOR IN 2013, PREVIOUSLY ENTITLED: “MY CRAZY-ASS MOTHER”)

Do you know what I’ve discovered?   I could really do without Mother’s Day.  In fact, I pretty much hate the celebration.  It is not my fault—it’s God’s.  He could have arranged for me to be born as Michelle Obama and have her delightful mother and her life, or God could have delayed my birth and let me be one of Michelle and Barack’s kids.  I’d be so cute, rich, and smart right now—and man, my upper arms would be on the road to becoming spectacular like Michelle’s instead of flapping in the breeze like the morning wash hung out to dry. But noooooo!  God had to let me be born to a crazy woman who thought if she, ever so sweetly, ignored me (except when she was trying to kill me), that maybe somehow my sister and I would disappear before anybody noticed we belonged to her.

Mothers Day Favorite Peter Broelman Australia

Cartoon used by permission: Peter Broelman, Australia

I suspect my mother was paranoid-schizophrenic long before I was born, but she kept it well hidden until the hormones of menopausal, illegitimate pregnancies produced offspring who demanded to have a mother.  Children are self-centered like that.  They don’t give a shit what is going on in your life.  If you’re their mother, then you better damn well show up and do your job and being crazy is no excuse:

“Feed me, change me, hold me, love me, discipline me—goddamnit—or I’m going down to the nearest ne’er-do-well office and fill out an application to become the local (fill in the blank____________) thief, drug-addict, ‘ho, gangsta, self-centered brat—you name it.  Forewarned is forearmed, Mommie Dearest.”

There is an old adage that women end up emulating their mothers which scared the bejesus out of my sister, Pee-wee, and me.   We were always looking over our shoulders to see if the crazies were going to catch up with us.  We’re both in our sixties now and we’ve managed not to go insane (knock on wood), but we did so by tip-toeing past the graveyard of Mother’s Days lost and putting each other through a sanity check once or twice a year.

Turning into my mother Dan Piraro www bizzaro com

Cartoon used by permission: Dan Piraro, http://www.bizzaro.com

My sister and I would take each other’s mental temperature with questions about scenarios that once plagued our mother’s daily existence:

Are you talking to the wall, yet?”  (No, only to myself, but I try not to answer me or to talk to myself more than once a day!)

“Are you sewing extraneous pockets inside your sweaters and coats and stuffing them with stolen Saltine crackers, sugar packets, salt and pepper shakers, and anything not nailed down at the lunch counter of the Woolworths Five and Dime to prepare for Armageddon?” (No, but I must confess that I take home the little bottles of shampoo and conditioner from fancy hotels.  Does that count?)

“Do you make up conspiracy theories about the Russians trying to take control of your mind through radio waves?”  (No, although I must admit that I am starting to believe a conspiracy theory that since Trump got elected, I’ve been kidnapped by aliens, and I’m living in an alternate universe with alternate truths and an alternate reality.)

“Do you fantasize about killing your children in order to protect them from the “Russians” and white people”?  (No, but I did have copious dreams for years about me killing our mother after that time I invited her to the Girls’ Ensemble concert I was conducting at a church.)

The Girls’ Ensemble concert in 1976 was my last ditch effort to reestablish a relationship with my mother after having cut her out of my life for years.   Mommie Dearest hadn’t been in the concert for more than fifteen minutes before she got “agitated from being surrounded by too many white people” she said, and decided to accompany the Negro spiritual I was conducting [“God’s Gonna Rain Down Fire”] with her personal pyrotechnics.  She couldn’t understand why I didn’t understand that she was aiding God and me with the lighted matches she was throwing with trance-like abandonment into the audience’s hair.  I can still hear the curses of those poor white folks as they scattered like roaches swatting their heads while Security tried to subdue my crazy-ass mother.  I kept conducting the choir as if nothing crazy was happening—as if I didn’t know that woman.  I was too horrified to turn around and face the audience.  All I could do was sob like a hot mess while never missing a beat with my baton, hope the audience thought the crazy woman was related to the only other black person in the choir, and beg God to open up the ground and yank my mother down into the deepest hole in Hell.

 

Crazy Mother FB MEME

Every year, my sister and I have passed our own litmus tests, and we didn’t become paranoid-schizophrenic like our mother—thank God.   But one doesn’t rub elbows with that type of mother and come out unscathed.  Children of alcoholics, drug addicts, and mentally ill people either become like their parents or become the polar opposite. With all due respect, my sister Pee-wee is a control-freak and never had children. I overcompensated for my mother’s mental and physical abandonment by trying to be the perfect mom who was always up in my children’s grill, which almost drove my kids and me insane.  All children make mistakes and have to find their own way in life, no matter how inept or how great the mother.  Every stumble, every rebellion, and every mistake my children made I took as a personal rejection of my “shoddy” parenting, and I would just try harder.   My kids weren’t allowed to fuck up in life and that is a pressure no child can withstand, even if their hearts are in the right place to do the right thing. They love me dearly, and I them, but I’ve always felt that I could have done better by them by providing more clear-thinking advice about the pitfalls of life.  I have nightmares about the things I never had a chance to teach them before they flew the coop.  My secret horror is that they will be confronted with something in life and not have the life skills with which to overcome, and that lack, in turn, will fling them into the insanity of their grandmother.  When asked what keeps me awake at night about motherhood—this is it.

Good Mother FB

ELEANOR’S “SELAH” (“AHA”) MOMENT

I am discovering that I am cautiously falling in love with the memory of my crazy-ass mother and coming to the adult realization that she did the best she could, given her circumstances.   Mama has been dead for thirty-seven years now (died in her sleep on an Easter morning after singing in the church choir), and I’m just beginning to see her through the prism of a life destroyed by intrinsic racism, sexual abuse, and poverty.  As I interview people from my past to chronicle my mother’s all-consuming insanity for my memoirs, I am beginning to see a woman who was not too different from me in her aspirations, dreams, and talents.  The difference in my sanity and my mother’s insanity is that I found the true love of a man (she was summarily abandoned by my father and left to perish in poverty with two babies); the winds of history blew open the doors at just the right time for my intelligent mind to be educated and my talent to be cultivated beyond the aspirations of scrubbing White folks’ toilets (Mama was never allowed to go past high school and spent much of her life as a maid rather than an opera singer which was her dream).   I have traveled the world and lived extremely well (wasting more money on Broadway shows, travel, and gourmet meals than my mother made in her entire life as a servant).

Am I sane today in spite of my mother because I escaped ignorance and want?   Can I “get over” in life because I don’t have to live under an apartheid system as my mother did in the US?  Were my babies safe from my potential descent into madness because I had hope for tomorrow and didn’t have to worry about my children’s next meal?  Only God knows.  But one thing is for sure—I no longer judge my mother for the pain I endured as a child.  Besides, it has made me who I am and given me a riotous sense of humor.  I am truly coming to love and understand the woman who gave me life.   From the conversations I’ve had recently with my grown children, it seems as if they are affording me the same grace.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, MAMA!

Mom Dysfunction

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE ABOUT MOTHERHOOD

“Mothers are all slightly insane.”—J. D. Salinger

“Our mothers always remain the strangest, craziest people we’ve ever met.”― Marguerite Duras

“When your mother asks, ‘Do you want a piece of advice?’ it’s a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.”― Erma Bombeck

“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did—that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that—a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.”― Debra Ginsberg

Mothers Day IV Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch

Cartoon used by permission: Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch

****

BOOKS BY THE AUTHOR ON SALE NOW AT AMAZON!

THE FETUS CHRONICLES: PODCASTS FROM MY MISEDUCATED SELF

“Eleanor Tomczyk’s latest book shares deep insights and absurdly hilarious moments Tomczyk has collected from her life. She presents her unique humor and perspective through a fantastic conceit: podcasts to her unborn self.

“Tomczyk’s voice and cutting commentary travel back through the decades and into the womb. She’s here to tell her baby self all the things she should know about the world and all the lessons she will learn.

“Eleanor L. Tomczyk advises her fetus self on everything from the dangers of douching to the use of words as deadly weapons. Special podcast guest stars range from Tomczyk’s Aunt Lily—“Church Lady Extraordinaire”—to her own eyes and other body parts. When her children follow the “Little Barbarian Manifesto,” and her own organs start reminding her about the passing of time, all the reader can do is laugh out loud.”

MONSTERS’ THROWDOWN

FLEEING OZ

****

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on May 9, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

BAD MOTHERS

Do you know what I discovered this week? I actually agreed with . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . Rush Limbaugh! Ugh! He was cheering the actions of Toya Graham (Baltimore Mom) that saved her son from—at the very least—doing something really, really, stupid and going to jail and at the very worst, getting himself killed, when he picked up a brick to throw it at the police. (His mother had told him to come straight home after school and not attend the protests.) Limbaugh was quick to add to his praise that it wouldn’t take more than a nano-second before some bleeding-heart liberal criticized the Baltimore Mom for “smacking” her sixteen-year-old son and accusing her of “child abuse.” Well, Lord have mercy, that is exactly what happened! My newfound liberal compadres started raising a ruckus—calling Baltimore Mom a “bad mother”—falling short of calling Child Protective Services on the poor woman. As Limbaugh screamed, “I told you so,” the fact that he and I were on the same page about something made me vomit in my mouth—if only just a little bit.

Baltimore Mom Nate Beeler The Columbus

Cartoon used by permission: Nate Beeler The Columbus

COMMENTS BY BALTIMORE MOM WHEN INTERVIEWED BY VARIOUS NEWS ORGANIZATIONS AFTER SMACKING HER CHILD UP SIDE HIS HEAD AND OSTENSIBLY SAVING HIS LIFE

“I’m a no-tolerant mother. Everybody who knows me, knows I don’t play that. He knew. He knew he was in trouble.

“That’s my only son and at the end of the day I don’t want him to be a Freddie Gray. I was angry. I was shocked, because you never want to see your child out there doing that.

“Is he a perfect son? No! But he’s my son!

***

After I got over the shock of having been in lock-step with Rush Limbaugh on a subject matter (Lord Jesus, come soon; I don’t know if my heart can take this), I picked myself up off the floor and decided to write a letter to all those liberal columnists and commenters who labeled Baltimore Mom a bad mother. I sent the letter as a Black mother who has successfully raised two grown kids who survived my parenting and me their crazy teenage years.

Baltimore Mom Cartoon Credit cartoonist

Cartoonist Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Dear Fellow Liberals:

We haven’t known each other very long. I used to be an oxymoron—a card-carrying Black, Conservative, Christian, Republican. I recently joined your ranks after being totally and utterly scandalized by my former conservative friends (see upcoming book Fleeing Oz, launching May 20th).

I’m retired now, but before doing so I was a teacher, an actress, a singer, and an award-winning voiceover talent. But the thing I am most proud of is that I was and am a Black mother (don’t let the Polish last name fool you) who managed to rear two amazing women who are in their thirties now. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I almost lost the war with one of them—necessitating a couple pops across the noggin and a lot of “tough love” to knock some sense into her head. If asked, that child will tell you about a time when she was on the road to losing her soul and destroying our family. I climbed up on a stepping stool to get my point across—she is almost six-feet-tall in heels and I’m five-feet-tall when I’m lying through my teeth—and smacked her upside her head just like the Baltimore Mom. She will also tell you that the scenario was so hilarious—me, teetering on top of a stepping-stool trying to swat a zig-zagging, belligerent teen—that she fell on the floor, rolling in laughter . . . in other words, my smacks didn’t hurt (neither did the Baltimore Mom’s—so chill), but it got my point across—“as long as you live under my roof . . . you will respect and obey me and the law.”

I read all sorts of criticisms that you wrote about the Baltimore Mom that said she was committing child abuse by smacking her son with her hands (it was her open hand, not a brick or a two-by-four). You said the smacks and the public humiliation would damage her son forever (no, being shot dead would damage him forever), and you said she should have used her “inside voice” to ask him respectfully to drop the brick, leave the riot, and return home with her like the good little boy she knew him to be. When I researched who the critics were—for the most part—you were single, or married without kids, or parents of infants and toddlers (in other words, judging the teen years from afar), or people who had never lived in an environment where the police shoot first and ask questions later. In other words, you were all critics with theories on how to rear teenagers in a hostile environment where the “cradle to prison” pipeline is a surety for 1 in 3 black boys born in 2001.*

I think you might be confused as to who is a bad mother. My mother was a bad mother (anyone that tries to scald you to death, starve you senseless, and attack you with a butcher knife—all before you’re nine years old is not a good mother—see my first book, Monsters’ Throwdown for the entire sordid tale). Honey Boo-Boo’s mother—now that’s a bad mother. And yet I’ve heard some of you same critics laud the fact that HBB’s mom is a loving mom and at the end of the day, they all love each other and have each other’s backs. You see a loving family, I see a modern day freak show. That is, until TLC (what I call the “mutton-headed, cretinous, moronic channel”) pulled the plug on it because “Mama Bo-Bo” started allegedly shacking up with a recently released child molester who had served time for sexually abusing her oldest daughter. (Somebody hand me a brick; I need to whack that woman upside her head to knock some sense into it before she totally destroys poor Honey Boo-Boo!)

Honey Boo Boo Rick McKee The Augusta

Cartoon used by permission: Rick McKee, The Augusta

I know bad mothers when I encounter them. I had a mother call me once when her daughter and my daughter (the one I did the stepping-stool-tango with) were really testing their sixteen-year-old boundaries. I had never met the woman, but her daughter had demanded that she let both the girls engage in something that my husband and I were vehemently opposed to. The mother hid in a closet to call me to see if she and her husband could get together with me and my husband to figure out how to handle the girls. I didn’t realize she was hiding to keep her daughter from hearing her conversation until I heard loud banging accompanied by screaming obscenities: “MOM, WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING TO? ARE YOU TALKING TO MY FRIEND’S MOM? YOU BETTER NOT BE DOING THAT. I TOLD YOU NOT TO CALL HER!” [starts kicking the closet door], COME OUT OF THIS FUCKIN’ CLOSET AND FIX MY DINNER!”

“Honey, honey, I’m talking to my, my . . . sister . . . don’t get angry; I’ll be out in a minute, sweetheart. . . Mrs. Tomczyk, I’ve got to go, my daughter is really angry; I’ll call you later.” The mother hastily hung up, and I figured that was all I was going to hear from her. But thirty minutes later she called me again—breathless, and apologetic. “Oh my, Mrs. Tomczyk, it’s not easy to trick my daughter, but I managed to do it. Whoo-hoo! I told her that I didn’t have enough potatoes to make her favorite mashed potatoes, and that I needed to go to the grocery store to get some more. She pouted, but let me go, so now we can talk freely. Let’s you and I agree to a time to get together to see what we can do to save our girls. We have to handle this very, very gingerly or I, for one, will certainly lose my daughter. She just gets so angry with me—I can’t handle it.”

My liberal critics, if you had been there that day, I am convinced you would have labeled me a very bad mother because my response was: “Oh Hell to the no! You and I don’t have anything to discuss, woman. Any mother who cowers from her own child is a very, very bad mother, and I don’t want to have anything to do with you. You go on back to your closet and your Veruca Salt child**, and I am going in search of a stepping stool.”

Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka

**Veruca Salt, a character from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

***

In my old age, I am discovering that I was not the best mother, but I was not the worst one either. (My kids were not the best kids, but they were not the worst, so I guess we are even.) When all was said and done, they became amazing adults, and they fondly remember that I was a no-nonsense kind of mom. One of my girls is the mother of my grandson, and she cracks me up because she does not cut the boy any slack. She thinks I’m much too easy on him (I’ve grown soft in my old age), and she constantly reminds me that her black son, my grandson, will not be given the grace to make stupid choices as his white friends will—that the outcomes will be demonstratively different. She’s right. She’s a good mother.

All in all, I am a mother who did her best, who passionately loves her children, and they her, and I am confident they will say what Ben Okri said about his mother when I die: “Her passing away ripped the solidity out of the world.”

***

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL THE MOTHERS WHO HAVE THE COURAGE TO REAR HUMANS!

Mothers Day Card Calvin and Hobbes

Cartoonist: Bill Waterson/Calvin and Hobbes

INSPIRATIONAL MOTHERHOOD QUOTES

“No one is more sentimentalized in America than mothers on Mother’s Day, but no one is more often blamed for the culture’s bad people and behavior.”Anne Lamott

“Mothers and children are human beings, and they will sometimes do the wrong thing.”Maurice Sendak

“Even as we enumerate their shortcomings, the rigor of raising children ourselves makes clear to us our mothers’ incredible strength. We fear both. If they are not strong, who will protect us? If they are not imperfect, how can we equal them?”Anna Quindlen

“We never think that our mothers will die. It was like suddenly an abyss opened at my feet – I was standing on nothing. It was the strangest thing. Her passing away ripped the solidity out of the world.”Ben Okri

QUOTES COURTESY www.brainyquote.com

Mother's Day Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch

Cartoon used by permission: Mother’s Day Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch

 ***

WANT TO READ THE AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOK (Monsters’ Throwdown)? BUY NOW AT AMAZON!

LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR? CHECK OUT www.eleanortomczyk.com

REFERENCES

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/04/29/baltimore-mother-parenting-science-violence-column/26577751/

http://thedailybanter.com/2015/04/in-defense-of-baltimore-mom-toya-graham/

*http://www.childrensdefense.org/library/data/cradle-to-prison-pipeline-overview-fact-sheet-2009.pdf

 
7 Comments

Posted by on May 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , ,