by Carrie Conner
Mothers are all slightly insane.
– J. D. Salinger
About five years into my marriage – and before I understood I actually had a choice – I started thinking about having children. I went to my mom for advice. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Mom, how did you know you wanted kids?
Mom: Maybe I was too young and stupid to think much about it [laughing]. We just did it.
Me: Do you think you were a good parent?
Mom: I think being a parent is something [sigh] … well, you always feel you could have done better.
As children, we adore our parents. When we’re teenagers we challenge them, and when we become adults, they keep our therapists in business.
Yes, Mother. I can see you are flawed. You have not hidden it.
That is your greatest gift to me.
– Alice Walker
In my twenties, I heard Mom doubt her parenting skills. It was then that I finally began to see my own mother as truly human and flawed.
We may not have grown up with a traditional mother, but mother figures can take many forms: Gaia, Donna Reed, Mother Teresa, Mommie Dearest, Mr. Mom.
We can all relate to one of these.
Choose a mother figure and list five gifts you’ve taken from her. Now make a second list and put down five things you wish she’d given you. Select one or more and use them in a work of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction.
An Invitation from VoiceCatcher
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A friend once asked Carrie Conner why she writes. “Because I have to,” she said. “You mean like publish or perish?” he asked. “No,” she said, “It’s more like … breathing.” Carrie has spent 20 years as a staff and features journalist and freelance copywriter for a variety of publications and companies. One day, while interviewing an emerging novelist about her new book release, she realized she was done writing about other people’s accomplishments. She’s currently putting together a yet-untitled collection of short stories and a screenplay.