The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Friday, May 11, 2007



“Did you make the appointment yet?” asks my 16-year-old daughter.

She’s not talking about a trip to Planned Parenthood, so I have deliberately ignored her request for awhile. But since this is the third time in a month she’s inquired, I guess it’s not a passing fancy. She really, really wants her mole removed.

Some people regard their moles as beauty spots. My daughter does not. Particularly the big, raised one that sprawls out from under her spaghetti straps.

“I’m so self-conscious,” she moans.

“Did you even listen to David Roche at your assembly?” I want to scream. David Roche, who grew up with horrific facial disfigurement, is a revered speaker who motivates kids to rise beyond their preoccupation with appearances. Apparently, his inspirational message failed to inspire my daughter.

So has our own example. We drive dented utilitarian cars and never shine our shoes. We give money to Oxfam, the Democratic Party, and other hopeless causes. How could we have raised a child with such appallingly shallow values?

“It’s so expensive,” I say. “Think what else that money could buy.”

You waste all that money highlighting your hair, and you have to keep doing it! This would just be a one-time thing!” she argues.

As usual, I am speechless. No doubt she’ll some day have an illustrious career as a cutthroat labor negotiator and be able to afford all the cosmetic surgery she wants, along with a personal secretary to book her doctor’s appointments. In the meantime, what’s my defense? Why didn’t I go to law school so I could whip out a killer rejoinder? Instead I became a therapist. I am deeply mired in the skill of listening without responding, hopelessly empathic to all points of view.

For that matter, why didn’t I have children sooner? Then I wouldn’t have to subject my faltering mental acuity and graying hair to her nimble adolescent scrutiny. It’s so unfair!

“It’s so unfair!” she echoes. “It’s not my fault I have moles.”

“It’s not my fault either,” I think. “Blame your father.”

Lamely, I defend spending a small fortune at the hairdresser’s when I could instead be saving whole villages of children from the ravages of malaria.

“I earn this money. And besides, there’s lots of things I don’t do for the sake of vanity.”

But I’m losing the battle. Not because words escape me, but because I know what it’s like to be 16 and self-conscious. I know what it’s like to be 52 and self-conscious.

And I know that once in awhile, indulging in a remedy for a problem that is not really a problem is not that big a problem.

By Lorrie Goldin

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