Friday, May 18, 2012

What If Bad Mommy Gets Better?

Last week, for three days, I attained enlightenment. Laugh if you will, I am telling you, I was liberated from suffering. For three days. If you want to know what it was like, I'll tell you: I was without fear. I was at one with the belief that my true nature is happiness. I wasn't ungrounded. I didn't fall down and stop moving or forget to pick up Elva at school. I just knew that all I needed to do was experience my own innate joy and that all the mundane tasks I had to perform would naturally flow from that happy place, and when they did, they would just be part of the fun. I laughed with my daughter in a way I barely recognized. We sat on the floor throwing popcorn into each other's mouths, which we both found hilarious. I thought, "Holy shit. This might be the first time I've ever actually played with my child."It was truly Heaven.

 Interestingly, during those three days that felt like I had blessedly fallen into a pool of light, I actually had a flicker of concern about Bad Mommy. What would happen to my snarkiness and my 17.5 devoted followers if Bad Mommy attained enlightenment? Who would be bad for the moms who need a bad mom's confessions to make them feel better about themselves, and less alone? What kind of example would I be setting, being all happy and peaceful? Who would be irritable, exhausted, and short-tempered? Who would let the world know, "Hey! This motherhood shit is seriously hard!"

 And then, as mysteriously as the enlightenment had arrived, it left, and I was back to business as usual--tons of fear and anxiety about the future, multiple story lines that end with Elva in a straight jacket or dead, me alone and homeless, fighting to protect my shopping cart full of trash, naked, with a stick as my only weapon. In a dark alley. And everyone hates me.

So, I'm back. But I am, I think, a little lighter. Bad Mommy is not, essentially, contrary to enlightenment. In fact, just as Jung would predict, she is, as a shadowy figure, one of the keys to it. Bad Mommy exposes the truly dark goddess of perfectionism (Good Mommy) for what she is--an unhappy, uptight, self-harming killjoy who needs a big hug, a long cry, and a shot of bourbon, followed by a good night's sleep. Bad Mommy, God love her, can give her those things, until enlightenment arrives in a more permanent way.