The Zombie Mommy
You’ve seen her
Standing in line at the grocery store
Looking into the far distance as the bag boy repeatedly intones “paper or plastic?”
At the park
Standing behind a child sitting forlornly on a swing,
motionless, as her unfocused eyes see nothing and she is unable to provide momentum for even a modest back-and-forth
Sitting in the drive-thru at Taco Bell, the lady cashier tapping on her car window
trying to hand out a meal she doesn’t remember ordering
She’s in the yard, halfway to the mailbox and having forgotten the reason she walked out the door
She’s at the bus stop, quiet, confused, forgetting that it’s a holiday, not a school day, and the kids are traipsing around the neighborhood in their pajamas and flip flops, hunting bugs
She’s in the kitchen, staring at the stove as if to conjure a fully-cooked meal, reaching reflexively for
the fast food menus stored in a drawer, but forgetting where she put her phone.
Who is this sad, befuddled creature? What enchantment enfolds her? What dastardly fiend struck her with such a debilitating spell?
It is not magic that caused her haze; it is Mommyhood.
Mommyhood, that mystical situation brought about by birthing children
Mommyhood, that affects every fiber of her being and changes, well, everything.
Mommyhood, that brings about sleepless nights and chaotic days filled with
Overflowing diapers, teething, growth spurts, fevers, boo-boos, first steps, rifled purses, projectile vomiting, colic, toy fights, food allergies, Sissy took my crackers, tantrums over princess dresses, clogged toilets, pulled cats’ tails, dogs eating grass and throwing up – and that was just Monday.
Mommyhood holds her in thrall. It makes her forget her shopping list, her coffee mug on top of the car,
where she put her keys, and one time, that one horrible time that she is too ashamed to admit to anyone,
it made her forget that she had left her kid in the daycare at the Y while she worked out, and she was five miles down the road before she remembered and swung a frantic U-turn in the middle of the intersection to go back and retrieve her.
The funny thing is, she volunteered for this.
She found a really good man, accepted his token of love, a sparkly ring, married him and vowed and ate
the cake and accepted the well-wishes of her friends and family. She agreed that they wanted kids,
and she was overjoyed when she saw the two little lines on the stick, cried when the first fuzzy black
and white image appeared on the monitor at the doctor’s office, sweated through labor and bore with pride the pains of birth, gazed with rapt attention and love at the purple, wrinkled, squalling little person who was
placed in her arms. And so it began. The transition from strong, smart, talented woman to Zombie Mommy began.