Tag Archives: Mother’s Day



Cartoon used by permission: 251277_RGB_1290.png Mother’s Day with shots by Dave Granlund, PoliticalCartoons com

Do you know what I’ve discovered since getting vaccinated and watching our country begin to open up for travel?  We did it just in time for Mother’s Day!  As a mother, I now have the opportunity to see my precious children and 1 ½ grandchildren (one here and one on the way—hallelujah!). What could be sweeter than that?  TO MY 12-YEAR-OLD GRANDSON: These Mema lips and hugs are coming for you. I know that there is nothing worse for a pre-teen boy than to be smothered in kisses and have your cheeks pinched by your grandmother (except for maybe accidentally letting loose a fart in front of a person you have a crush on).  Well, you better run for cover Little Dude because I plan to cover your little mocha-chocolate face with indelible ruby red lipstick kisses that I haven’t been able to terrorize you with for more than a year and a half.  Fair warning, Sweet Boy! Ha!

Cartoon used by permission: 249452_RGB_1290.png Relaxed Covid Restrictions by Randall Enos Easton CT

To be honest, I haven’t always appreciated the concept of celebrating Mother’s Day, because I never had a mother who loved me.  My mother has been dead for over forty years, and I honestly can’t say if she were alive today that I’d run right out of the pandemic to go and see her.  Let’s be honest here: Mother’s Day celebrations are extremely problematic for children whose mothers caused them physical harm or mental torment.

My mother was probably a paranoid-schizophrenic long before I was born, but she kept it well hidden from her friends and relatives until the chaotic hormones of menopause and two out-of-wedlock pregnancies produced offspring who demanded to have a mother, and it drove her psychosis into the light of day.  Can I clue you in on a given? Children are very self-centered—if you bring them to this Earth, then you better take the time to properly parent them. 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 to those little barbarians: “Feed me, change me, hold me, love me, discipline me—goddamnit—or I’m going down to the nearest children’s ne’er-do-well office and fill out an application to become the worst thief, drug-addict, pole-dancing ho, gangsta, terrorist, self-centered brat that ever lived.  Forewarned is forearmed, Mommy Dearest.”—Signed: Your Kid

Cartoon used by permission: 92848_RGB_1290 (1).jpg Mothers Day by Peter Broelman Australia

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 from our mother.  We’re both in our seventies now and we’ve managed not to go insane yet (knock on wood), but we did so by tip-toeing gingerly past the graveyard of Mother’s Days lost and putting each other through a sanity check once or twice a year.

Cartoon used by permission: Turning into my mother, Cartoonist Dan Piraro 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 back 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, conditioner, and lotion 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 consider adopting a Russian conspiracy regarding the Republican party having their brains sucked out by Putin given the events of the past four years.)

“Do you fantasize about killing your children in order to protect them from the ‘Russians’ and white people in general”?  (No, but I might consider setting up a GoFundMe page to raise $55M per grandchild to hitch a ride on the first spaceship to colonize the moon if it means they get to escape systemic racism and police brutality on Earth.  Does that mean I’m crazy?)

Google meme: Unknown contributor

Yep, my mother was nuttier than a fruit cake. But you know what?  I’ve recently had a grownup revelation about my mama as I’ve blossomed into old age and my children have chartered their own paths in life.  I am cautiously making peace with the memory of my batshit-crazy mother and coming to the adult realization that she did the best she could—given her circumstances.  

Mama died in her sleep on an Easter morning in 1980, and I’m just beginning to see her through the prism of a life destroyed by systemic racism, constant sexual abuse by her preacher father, divorce and poverty.  As I interviewed people from her past to chronicle my mother’s all-consuming insanity for my memoirs, I learned of a woman who was not too different from me in her aspirations, dreams, and talents.  The difference between my mother’s insanity and my sanity—in her lack of mothering and my success in mothering—is that I had all the breaks she could never catch.

I found the true love of a very good man (Mama was summarily abandoned by my father and left to perish in poverty with two babies).  I got a great college education (Mama was never allowed to go past high school and spent much of her life as a maid or a minimum-wage cook rather than an opera singer which was her dream.)  I have traveled the world, lived abroad, and financially prospered (Mama never escaped the inner city of Cleveland nor did she ever leave the United States—dying in a rickety, roach and rat infested one-bedroom apartment).

Am I sane today in spite of my mother because I escaped ignorance and want?   Did I “get over” in life because I didn’t have to succumb to an American apartheid system as my mother did in her youth?  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.  In spite of everything my mother did or did not do, I have come to understand and forgive the woman who gave me life.


Cartoon used by permission: 163714_RGB_1290.png Mothers Day COLOR by Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch OH


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

“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

Cartoon used by permission: 210424_RGB_1290.png Mothers Day by Rick McKee The Augusta Chronicle GA

Eleanor Tomczyk is an author and a satirist who is an award-winning voice-over performer.  In 2011, she created the blog, “How the Hell Did I End Up Here” which features mostly satirical posts that have thousands of readers around the world—although she was recently banned in Pakistan (for real!).  Tomczyk’s three books were featured in a recent book festival: “Monsters’ Throwdown,” “Fleeing Oz,” and “The Fetus Chronicles—Podcasts to my Miseducated Self.”  Currently in her 70s and living life like it is freakin’ golden, she is a consummate storyteller and much sought-after motivational speaker.  If you don’t believe me, just ask her!

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.


Posted by on May 5, 2021 in Uncategorized


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Do you know what I discovered this week?  Mother’s Day is coming.  I hate this bogus holiday!  It’s that ONE DAY a year that mothers get celebrated for something we should be applauded for every freakin’ day of our children’s existence.  What we manage to get done in a lifetime of rearing kids boggles my mind. My kids are in their 30s, and I still can’t believe I never accidentally lost one of them along the way when they were little or strangled both of them when they were sassy-ass teenagers.  They survived—I survived—and they turned out okay in spite of me.

Mothers Hands Dave Granlund Minnesota

Cartoon used by permission: Dave Granlund, Minnesota

I’ve been thinking a lot about motherhood lately.  Wondering what my kids will say about me in their memoirs when I’m doing the “nae-nae” (for the uninitiated, this is a dance of exuberance) in heaven.  I wasn’t always calm. I scolded when I should have consoled, I prodded when I should have nurtured, I lectured when I should have listened, I confined them when I should have let them run free out of fear for their safety, and I thought too much about what others would think of my child-rearing when I should have let my kids just—be.  I did what I thought was right—I did the best I could.

As all these juxtapositions about my motherhood were rummaging through my head the other day, a repairman came to fix our garage door.  He was of the MAGA persuasion and immediately started in on a diatribe about the caravan of “illegal aliens storming our borders with their kids” and how “the gov’ment better do something to keep them out because we just can’t take everybody in who wants to come to our great land.”  Although his logic made sense, his morality did not.  He said this to me knowing that Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, our current Attorney General from Hell, had announced morally corrupt plans to immediately separate children from their mothers—placing the mothers in detention centers and the babies/children in foster care when they try to arrive in America. There is a strong case to be made that many of the children will not have proper identification or language skills to be able to be reconnected with their mothers before they are deported back to the countries from which they fled for their lives.  I think I told the idiot repairman that I would be right there in the midst of the caravan if I thought it was the only way to save my children from violence, rape, and starvation because that is what a good mother would do.

Sessions and the Mothers David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star Tucson AZ

Cartoon used by permission: David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star Tucson, AZ

I was miserable for the rest of the day.   It wasn’t just because I generally get depressed like this when I come in close proximity to a Trump supporter and their lack of humanity.  It was more than that. I was miserable because I could sense the pain of the mothers who were going to have their kids snatched from them in their attempt to flee hostile and violent lands as refugees and would end up losing their kids in the process.

I thought of all the American upper-middle class “Pinterest” moms who make motherhood sound so awesome and Martha Stewart cute—making pancakes in the shape of bunnies, and kids’ beds into rocket ships and princess thrones, when most women of the world are just trying to keep their kids alive.

Suddenly I had a revelation: Motherhood is not the fantasy that some mothers post on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.  For most women, motherhood is not easy.  Anyone who says it is easy and all sunshine and lollipops is lying. In fact, a woman doesn’t always get to define when she’s a good mother in the deepest sense—her responses to her children’s actions do, which is why I compiled a sampling of how one knows when one is a good mother or when one sees a good mother.  It’s called:  You Know You’re a Good Mother When…

Birth Announcement

Meme courtesy of


You’ve been awake since the baby’s 2 a.m. feeding and your toddler’s subsequent blood-curdling screaming nightmare at 4 a.m. which caused her to crash into your bedroom, tap dance on your head while your husband never stirred an inch as she cried herself to sleep while clinging to your neck.  You haven’t peed in ten hours. You’re still in your pajamas and you smell like day-old soured milk and urine.  After finally getting your colicky baby down for her 2 p.m. nap at the same time as her three-year-old sister, you think you’ve finally struck gold.  So you drag your weary ass off to the bathroom for a much needed potty-break in the hopes that you’ll be able to take a quick shower, comb your hair, and put on some deodorant before you have to go back on duty, when you look down from the toilet seat and see a toddler’s hand poking underneath the door in search of her mommy.  You get up—mid-pee—and open the door….

Bathroom Break Not Meme

Meme courtesy of


You’ve heard the ubiquitous word “Mommy” so often by the time your kids are five years old, that when some random kid yells “MOMMY, MOMMMMMY” at the mall, even though you’re a grandmother approaching 70 years old (your kids are in their thirties and live far away), you turn around and answer, “WHAT?!” along with twenty other mothers walking in the mall—none of whom have children in tow….

Mommy Mom Meme wheninmanila dot com

Meme courtesy of


A toddler does a throw-down in the middle of the grocery store—throwing herself into a backward limp noodle, and you rally in defiant solidarity with the mom because you’ve been there—done that.  You dare any of the non-childbearing haters to mess with your sister-mom in her time of need.  You know what the haters are thinking, because you thought the same when you were single and ignorant of how much strength and self-restraint it takes to be a mother.  You know the power of a toddler.  You know what only another mother can know:  Give her 200 toddlers and she could take over the world if she could harness their terrible-two’s ferociousness and willfulness….


Meme courtesy of


You’re watching the looting and riots in Baltimore a few years ago on TV after the killing of a young Black man by police, and as you’re watching, you see a Black mother smack her son upside his head before he does something stupid and life-altering and you’re cheering her on.  He was supposed to come home straight from school, but instead, he went in search of the riot and the looting and had picked up a brick and was attempting to throw it into a store window.  She saw him on TV, rushed to the scene, and caught him before he became another statistic.  The mother of six literally whupped his butt all the way home with the TV cameras following. There were those who objected to her “violence” against her child.  I didn’t.  He was her only son.  I understood as a good mother that when it comes to saving the lives of our children, desperate times call for desperate means.  Last time I checked on this kid, he was still walking the straight and narrow, although he had just accidentally burned down the kitchen when he was frying some chicken fingers and left the skillet unattended to go to the bathroom.  Upon discovering the fire, he poured water on it which made it worse.  He and his family became temporarily homeless in 2015 (no renter’s insurance).  I said his mother’s “rescue” slap upside the head saved his destiny and kept him off the streets—I didn’t say he had common sense….

Baltimore Mom John Darkow Columbia MO

Cartoon used by permission: John Darkow, Columbia, MO


Some human that you’ve reared, or are rearing, whom you’ve wanted to throttle at least a dozen times for rolling their eyes at you and pouting when they couldn’t get their way, tells you that they hate you and that you’re the worst mother ever in the history of mothers, one day turns to you in an unscripted moment and gives you the biggest hug and whispers in your ear:  I love you, Mom!  The first time it happened to me, one of my kids was a toddler.  We were in an auditorium when the house lights went dark for the opening of a children’s play.  I picked my daughter up and held her close because she seemed afraid of the sudden darkness, and I heard her say over and over again as she kissed my cheek: “I lub ju…I lub ju…I lub ju.”  Right then and there, if she had asked me for the moon, I think I would have lassoed it down to Earth for her….

Child Hugs vs World Jeff Koterba Omaha World Herald NE

Cartoon used by permission:  Jeff Koterba, Omaha World, Herald, NE



I am discovering that there are no perfect mothers. (Fortunately, there are no perfect children either, so the equation balances itself out.)  All I know is that motherhood is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I will question my parenting skills until the day I die.  The best I can say is that they are alive and well and they love me as I love them.  I managed to get them to adulthood, and they turned out to be good, kind, and generous human beings.

God knows, I don’t know how I did it because I was less than perfect.

Perfect Mom Dave Granlund Minnesota

Cartoon used by permission: Dave Granlund, Minnesota



“Motherhood is tough. If you just want a wonderful little creature to love, you can get a puppy.” Barbara Walters

“When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.” — Nora Ephron

“Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials.—Meryl Streep

 “No Matter how old a mother is, she watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement.” — Florida Scott Maxwell



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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.


Posted by on May 11, 2018 in Uncategorized


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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


“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.”



Mothers Day Card Calvin and Hobbes

Cartoonist: Bill Waterson/Calvin and Hobbes


“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


Mother's Day Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch

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







Posted by on May 4, 2015 in Uncategorized


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