The Mother Test


Sometimes, when I go out alone, I like to pretend that I am young and single. Not to pick up strange men or anything, just kind of like a test. A test to see if the word “mom” is invisibly blazoned on my forehead. A test to see if I could possibly pass for young and unattached. A test, just for fun.

Last May, I got to try it out, on one rare day that I took for myself. I got a pedicure, went to the mall and did some shopping, just for me for a change. As I paid for my purchases, the cashier at the Gap wished me a Happy Mother’s Day. Defeated, I left in a bit of a huff. What about me so obviously spelled mother? Could he see the stretch marks underneath my clothes? Was my muffin top a dead giveaway? My wrinkles? The patch of white hair I sport? What the hell was it?! Mission: failed.

It took until I was back at home for me to realize that I was wearing a hand-painted macaroni and yarn necklace around my neck.

But I don’t give up that easily.

So, last week, I was in New York recording the audio version of my book. Just me, a producer and a hot sound tech in his twenties. Again, the opportunity presented itself to not talk about diarrhea, strep throat or the high cost of preventative orthodontics and I was all over it. You know, to be a woman and not just a mother. I pretended to be Carrie Bradshaw circa 2000, and he pretended to be somewhat interested in my book. I was making progress!

And, then, I had to start reading.

“When I finally grunted Lily out, along did come a little something else, but it wasn’t even a blip on the radar at the moment. Actually, being able to piss and shit openly was oddly liberating. Kind of relaxing, even.”

“Mothers think nothing of using saliva to clean our little ones’ faces or openly smelling their bottoms to determine whether they’ve indeed defecated.”

“My midsection looks like a crime scene, purple spiders crawl up my legs, and my once bouncy hair is an undecided mess between curly and wavy… I don’t even want to think about what my vagina would look like after pushing another kid out…”

I think it’s safe to say I failed that test, too.


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  1. 11

    Jessica says

    Humor me. I like to pretend I can tell which stories are made up for dramatic effect, and which events actually happened. Last May’s macaroni-necklace day to yourself? Fiction. Last week’s audio recording with the hot sound tech? Fact.

    Am I good or what?

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  2. 12

    Vikki says

    That is a really hard test! It doesn’t help that I work with animals for a living and will sway with the small ones I hold just like I would a child – dead giveaway!… I guess there’s no denying motherhood;)

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  3. 13

    Heidi Bryan says

    I have simply accepted the fact that I have “mommy” written all over me. I wear it as a badge of honor…or perhaps simply a badge of mucus that is inevitably smeared on my clothing before I leave my house. And despite the fact that I hated when my mother did it, I use my own saliva to remove stuff from my kid’s faces. They hate it too…even though they are only three and four years old :)

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  4. 18

    Jeni Kramer says

    Ha! This made me laugh until a little pee came out. Because that what mysteriously happens, even when you have a C-Section. Mom test most definitely failed over here too!

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    • 19

      Brandy P says

      This. I had two c-sections and if I’m sitting down I’m fine, but if I’m standing I have to cross my legs before I sneeze or cough really hard or laugh really hard, but especially the sneezing.

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  5. 23

    Liz @ PeaceLoveGuac says

    Oh that’s so hilarious! And of course, OF COURSE, the tech guy was hot.

    Way to fight the good fight, though…third time’s a charm!

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