by Dawn Yun
A friend takes Mimi to camp and offers to also pick her up and bring her to another friend's home so they can have a play date.
Girlfriends. As a mother, without them, you're dead.
With as much as I have going on this week -- I need them more than ever. These acts of kindness mean that I can pad over while still in my comfy pajamas and sit at my computer with my beyond beloved cat in my lap, and write.
Liz, one of my favorite characters -- she's based on me -- is a wise-cracking new mom from Long Island, whose own mother is visiting from one of the Five Towns where she lives. Liz is nervous about her mothers' group meeting her mother who is VERY New Yawk. But her mother has a novel plan. She is treating all of Liz's mommy friends to pedicures and manicures. "I don't care if you're a motha. Ya gotta look good." Then she is taking them shopping so they can each have at least one stylish shirt without spit-up.
She has a point.
As mothers we do so much for our children and so little for ourselves. That's why this year I've taken up the electric guitar. When I told my husband, he asked, "How about acoustic?"
"No, hon," I said. "It's been a rough year. I need to rock out."
After talking with many of The Writing Mamas yesterday about their Mama Monologues, I dashed out to make my 4:30 guitar lesson. There's something about a woman in her late 40s taking up the electric guitar that I find appealing. I think it's because I'm doing something I've wanted to do since I was 12.
Before my lesson a 13-year old boy had his. We have the same black and white Stratocaster guitars. When my lesson is over, a 16-year old teenage girl with braces and a blue Stratocaster is walking in. I think both of their mothers are younger than me.
There is something wonderful and magical about picking up a guitar and learning to play, even at my senior moment is every moment advanced mommy age. I became a mother when I was older, why not become a musician when I'm even way older? Learning different rhythms can only help with my writing, which I have been getting paid for since I was 17. If I knew that writing was going to be this hard -- I might have become a musician.
My first article was a review of a Bonnie Raitt concert at Lennox on the Lawn in Lennox, Mass. I hitchhiked to the concert from Connecticut where I grew up. The thought of one of my kids or any child doing that now gives me heart palpitations. Different times. Back then, you could be a child left behind. Not anymore.
After being diagnosed with an early form of a rare, chronic, Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma last year, I decided to do something for me. As mothers -- that's something we do not do. Things that make us happy. That is why I started The Writing Mamas Salon. So mothers, especially those who always fantasized about writing, or mothers who put their writing aside after having kids, could have a time and a place to write and to be heard.
My own health concerns made me realize that other mothers have to physically take care of themselves, too. I let mine slip for many years. But if my daughter coughed or had a splinter, it was off to the pediatrician or even the hospital if it was late at night.
Mothers -- you have to ensure that you get an annual physical exam and an annual gynecological one. Do this for your children. Do it for you. By taking care of yourself, you are taking care of them. Granted, keeping up with your yoga and Pilates practices are important, but make it a practice to look after your health, too. Major studies have confirmed that when you become a mother -- you lose brain cells. Simply doing household chores can drive any woman insane. Salon member Lauren Cargill e-mailed me her monologue today entitled Cleaning House, but it's about the antithesis. Who has the time? And why don't husbands understand this? Ah, but she has a solution that more mommies should do. You'll have to come hear her read it Friday night from 7-9 at our Mothers' Night Out! Mama Monologues with special guest Joyce Maynard at Book Passage -- to learn the answer.
You'll like it.
Mindy Uhrlaub, our resident Luddite, has snail-mailed me her piece because she's militantly anti- e-mail. Oh, well, everyone has to have a cause. Her monologue is about sex, or the lack of it, and the wanting of it, and then being too tired to have it, but then becoming resentful for not getting it. . . We've all been there. It's hysterical and very well written.
The irony of reading, editing and helping the other Writing Mamas with their Monologues is that I have yet to write my own. And when is this event? Friday? This Friday? But I did manage to meet an article deadline today and had a meeting about a possible Writing Mamas workshop in the fall. Now my friends have my daughter. My stepson is at his mother's house. I've finished this blog and now I can work on my own Mama Monologue. The problem