“Until a few years ago, I worked as a mother.”
I raised my eyebrows and she chuckled. “Worked? you ask, incredulously,” she said. “Worked?As a mother? Worked – did you say?” More chuckles, more mirth, and more deliberation.
I waited. Surely there was more where that was coming from.
“But of course, I agree with you. How can one ‘work’ as a mother – when there is no payment in return? Moreover, how can I be a mother ‘until a few years ago’? A mother is a mother forever from the moment a certain someone makes her one.
“I know what I am saying; and I know why I say so. You may not see it the way I do; of course, you do not live the life I lived. You would argue that the payment is the little moments of joy, the little bouts of love that you receive now and then, and all that crap the world deceives you with. Only a mother gets those, you say. Dads hate to hear it, but it is the truth!
“I would not debate, for I would rather not ruin your belief in the existence of good in the world. After all, if all mothers begin to think of all the ingratitude they have had to face, the rejection, the indifference and even the insults they receive – from their children as well as the others around them – the unkind references to her parenting skills, sneaky and direct; if all the mothers of the world decide that they cannot take it anymore and just abandon their motherhood and leave, human race would be headed straight down the drain and into the ocean. What will happen to the ‘reproduce and survive’ directive from the Darwinian God? So it is an evolutionary requirement that mothers convince themselves they are the backbone of humanity, that they need to be selfless, that their child’s ill-behaviour is a reflection on their parenting skills, and that if they close their eyes for a second, homo sapiens could all fall apart. It is an evolutionary requirement that mothers kill themselves raising their kids.”
I was fascinated, to say the least. If educated is the very first adjective I use to describe this untidy street woman, it would be far from sufficient. But, listen to her talking as though she had some grudge against me, as though I were the one who worked the wheels of her fate! I could see clearly that her discontent was directed elsewhere, I just happened to be on its path.