Ahhh – the sound of my children’s voices.  Sweet, innocent, exciting.  I craved their first word and hoped and prayed it would be “Mama”.  Even though it was Dada – for all three!  I want to see HIS  c- section scar!

Anyway…  I analyze every word and love the mispronunciations and confused looks at new ones.  Yes, speaking is a huge milestone with new discoveries every day and every Mother happily looks forward to this stage.

Until I hear a word 75,000 times a day making me want to drag my nails down a chalkboard just to drown it out.



All day, all night, all week and all weekend long.  Even when I am out alone, I hear children calling for their Mommy and jump to action.  Pavlov’s dogs have nothing on me.

Really, it gets old.  As if they are in competition to see how many times they can say it.  And if I don’t stop what I am doing immediately–  watch out!  They say it louder and repetitively until I scream “WHAT!!!!” and feel like a pile of poop for getting frustrated.

Heaven forbid I want to catch the first 30 seconds of the news or a favorite show – like Dora – because nothing causes a “Mommy” overload like taking time for yourself!  It’s as if their radar is geared to pick up a Mother’s free time.   Like going potty.  Not a single player sport any more.

I think I am going to start clocking it.  How many times a day my 3 girls say Mom, Moooooooommmm, Mommy, Mommmeeeeeee, Mama or Maaaaamaaaaaaa!  The baby really says “Vavavavavava” – but I know she’s trying to yell Mamamamamamama so we’ll count hers too.

When I planned these pregnancies – OK let’s be honest – when I missed a pill, had too much to drink and thought a baby would solve our problems, I never dreamt I would get sick of hearing my name.  I thought I would relish in it and that I would cherish every opportunity to hear it.  Now, I do cherish it…  like when my Sarah says “Mama, I wanna go night night.”  Music to my ears.

And the first few thousand times they say it in life – it is magical.  When it is attached to “I love you”, tear jerking.  But when it becomes the pad for which my orders are written and the reason that owning stock in Tylenol and Budweiser are necessary to my daily sanity, I find it hard to absorb the constant-ness of it.

I did, for my own humor and self- preservation, teach the children to call me “Mommy the Great” one week.  It was wonderful at first…  a sort of nirvana emerged and I craved the call of my title.  But, like all good things, it came to an end.  Quickly, the girls learned that complimenting me every time they needed one little thing took time.  And when you have 80 orders a minute for the servant who signed her binding contract the day the stick turned blue, time is precious.

So it ended.  And I was once again flung into the land of “Mommy, Mama, and Mom” with no life raft.  Only to get relief when Daddy comes home and takes over the order taking for a few minutes.  But I know that time is short and I always hear “Go ask Mommy” before I can find a really good place to hide…  like a bar…  in Canada… during a blizzard.

Now, I know it sounds like I am complaining, but I am not.  Well – I am but in a very funny and entertaining way so it does not really count.  At least it does not count in my head.

I know it is survival of the loudest around here.  I know they need me to get their milk, wipe their noses, ground their sister for stealing something, take them potty, let them go outside, let them back inside, take them to the pool, get them dressed, help them, help them, help them, HELP THEM!  I know it is my job.  And I love my job.  Stop laughing…  I do love my job.

And they really have no other way to get my attention.  I frown on hitting… me.  I discourage throwing things at my head and I confiscate foghorns if they are used more than once an hour.  So I do have to accept some responsibility for the Mommy overload.  I mean, I did teach them to talk… and for the baby, babble.  If I had just promoted miming as a primary form of communication, I would not be in this mess.  There would be peace at la casa Pace.

But no, peer pressure, guilt and my desire for them to “excel” in life made me teach them to speak.  So here I sit, having lost count of the Mommy, Mama and Mom’s of the day sometime between 7am and 7:02am, accepting my fate.

And I do accept it.  It’s right there with stretch marks, saggy boobs and debilitating exhaustion.

A gentle, infuriating, permanent reminder that no matter what I do for the rest of my life, I will always be at someone else’s beck and call.

Originally Published 06/13/2010

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