Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dear Rachel,

Dear Rachel Aydt,

Thank you for your essay "Robot Moms in the Closet" in the e-anthology Welcome to My World.  On Friday I said I would review it (then motivated by the aptness of robot moms), but life got in the way and now it is even more apt.  So, sorry I'm late (not my first apology today), and thanks for helping me think through some stuff.

What grabbed my attention about your essay in the first place was the terrific idea that one could have a closet full of situationally-appropriate Moms waiting to be deployed, among them "Bill Paying Mother," "Cooking Mother," and "Patient-Kind-and Generously Spirited Mother."  That last one I really need with my kids, especially at around 7 pm when the unending rout of "I need potty" and "I'm thirsty" begins.

You pit the Robot Moms against "that highly regrettable Temper Thing": I love how the caps make this thing a monster, like Beowulf's Grendel.  In my life, I have a Temper Thing too, I call it The B*tch with Seven Heads . . . I think I must be 7 times less good at containing my ire than you are.  Yours is a rich and wonderful premise that someone should make a movie of.  I'd watch the Robot Moms battling a hairy snarling Temper Thing.  The moms would surely win, right?

Where your essay has helped me in the last two days is in thinking about how sometimes eleven-day school breaks or other ostensibly routine interruptions to routine (mine has been departmental chair business intruding on the business of balancing teaching and mothering) can turn one's life "inside out" (another fantastic image . . . for that is just how I feel today: like my slippery innards are on the outside for anyone to poke at). 

It is then that the "reactive" Temper Thing gets a bit of an edge, no? Innards in the right place, and the debt collector from the library (please do elaborate on that story--it, like the snippets about your son's teachers, are intriguing, compelling details), is a small deal.  Inside out and it's hard to keep tabs on Mr. Temper.

"Reactive" characterizes well my last days.  I need to shift from thinking of myself as the sh*t, and recognise that I am the pipe through which the sh*t flows.  In fact, I think I might get a piece of plumbing pipe to have on my desk as a paperweight, just to remind me.

However, being reactive is precisely what gets me blogging.  I come to this little window to compose the posts that allow me to compose myself.  That's what I love about reading other mommyblogs as well: I get a snippet of how other people react to empty fruit bowls (your substitution of fruit leather is sensible) impossible schedules and dirty school uniforms.  Those insights into how other people can be reactive too save my sanity, they really do.

It's inspiring how you balance everything as a writer working from home (and sometimes not getting paid!  Shame on you, reprobate publishers.  That's not right!!), even when there aren't enough moments and the ones we have are flying by.

Thanks for your essay.  I'd write more, but I've got to go get my kids now.




  1. How wonderfully written! I am definitely purchasing this e-anthology...I had good intentions this week-end but life always gets in the way. I can't wait to read Rachel's essay. And yours.

  2. It's amazing to see that our writing isn't always happening in a vacuum. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your thoughtful review, and for your commiseration. We're all in it together!