Just Moms

It’s exam time.

You’re deep into your books. Portion, syllabus, timetables dominate your mind space. You’re a walking talking mugging studying zombie.

No one gets this better than mom. She’s there. All the time.

She knows when you need her, she knows when to leave you alone. She even lets you be when she finds you gaming during your fifteen-minute break.

A plate of apples appears magically just when you look up from the 100th numerical you’re solving and a warm glass of milk when you feel your throat drying up from reading aloud Gorbachev’s Glasnost and Perestroika.

A ruffle of your hair, a quick hug, a kiss on your head, a pat on the back.

She’s magical. She just knows.

As you walk out onto the balcony for a break she slips into your room to give it a quick clean up. She spies a chocolate wrapper on your bed, reaches out to retrieve it but it slips through her fingers, down, behind the bed. She moves the bed to reach for it, bends down, and BOOOM!

She’s gone, in a flash!

In her place stands a spine-tingling, ginormous MOMSTER!

The thing is, the narrow space between your bed and the wall is a veritable landfill. Wrappers of chips, biscuits and chocolates you’ve consumed between the apples and the glass of milk and have tossed into (supposed) oblivion, have been lying there, quietly waiting to be discovered.

Well, exams are anxiety inducing and anxiety is hunger inducing and No you cannot survive on milk and apples alone – a girl/guy needs her/his junk.

Of course you’ve been meaning to clean it out every single day, except you didn’t.

Yes, there’s a dustbin in your room right by the study table but hello! the bed is a full six feet from the table and tossing wrappers into the dustbin doesn’t always work and then they lie all around so very conspicuously, calling out to be picked up and that’s so much work. Nah! behind the bed is better. Or so you thought.

Besides, you never imagined mom would go exploring around there.

But do you have the courage to tell her any of that? No sir. Not when the raging momster is in her element.

“I don’t care if you pass or fail.. yada yada yada…. life skills….. college next year. Is this how you’ll keep your room? There’ll be ants, worms….. worms crawling all over you. You have time to play computer games (you knew she’d bring that up)…there’s a dustbin in your room, for godsake!… you’re not a child. 17, you’re 17….

On it goes.

Can you open your mouth to explain? Nope. You hang your head, put on an expression of abject contrition and ride out the momster attack. After all this isn’t your first time.

Mom and momster go back a long way.

There was the time you had reach out to hug her – mommy does give the warmest hugs – but she’d wrinkled her nose and asked, ‘How many days has it been since you washed your hair?’

Of course you can’t remember. And uh oh! the momster had appeared, ‘Personal hygiene..Yada yada yada…… dandruff….. such a stink…. skin infection…….. head sores…hair fall…. balding… et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Oh and it works both ways, by the way. There was the time you’d come home late from the playground to find the momster sharpening her sabre but one look at your bleeding knee and she’d miraculously transformed into sweet familiar dear old mom.

The two exist side-by-side mutating quietly, seamlessly, unpredictably into each other.

Bring in a bad report card, ‘It’s okay,’ says mom while ‘You’re grounded,’ says momster piling up extra books on your study table.

While mom gives you permission to go out momster promises dire action if you’re a minute behind your deadline. Momster fills the grocery cart with greens and beans, mom sneaks in the cream biscuits. Momster gives you the wake up call, mom gives you an extra five minutes of sleep.

They thrive together, the two of them, so you can be the best of you.

Written for the prompt Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde for the BAR.

If you’d like to meet a few more moms drop by here and here.

8 Replies to “Just Moms”

  1. Aha! I can see my mom and me in this…
    No one plays the role of Jekyll and Hyde better than moms. They excel in portraying the duality, embracing nurturing tenderness for a moment and then transitioning to stern scolding ‘momster’.
    Good one for the prompt, Tulika.

  2. Wow, this is just how the story goes in every household, isn’t it? Mom and Momster exist together. Sometimes I don’t even realize how easily I switch between the two avatars. But they both are needed. Mom alone can’t take care of everything, Momster alone will not succeed either.

  3. Wow, Tulika you nailed this. While reading this everything I remembered was about my mum and me. I’m a mum and momster myself and now thinking about life as one, I’m able to relate all this with getting ready to school moments.

  4. I am turning in a momster for sure. The switch between the two personalities is almost seamless.
    My mom was just like that, bringing water, apples cut in small pieces because otherwise I won’t eat, a glass of milk here and there… I really really miss all that pampering. Part of growing up is realising that those luxuries are limited to home. Once you move away there’s no one who’s gonna be so devoted to you.
    Cheers to all the momsters for trying to balance love and discipline.

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