Nazlan Ertan - [email protected]
One of my friends tells me that she stops checking her Facebook timeline and her SMS messages three days before the Mother’s Day and restarts only the next Tuesday. “That is the only way I can save myself from the made-to-make-you-cry Mother’s Day commercials, the exaggerations of the sacredness of motherhood, and the glimpses of photos of all my friends as babes in the arms of their mothers,” she says.
As you might have guessed, she is single with no kids.
She is also very capable of making the most politically incorrect and hilariously funny observations on motherhood over a glass/bottle of wine. Below is her (partial) list on the type of Turkish mothers:
The Ayşe Arman mother: Named after Turkey’s most-read female columnist, the Ayşe Arman (AA) type of mother is hot, eccentric, mediatic and fiercely individualistic. Wild in her 20s, career-oriented in her 30s, she has re-invented herself as “red hot mamma” but underlines on all occasions that motherhood is not all that she is: AA mother is a career-woman, an adventurer, a trend-setter, a social-worker, “lady bountiful” going around with her basket of futuristic ideas, a lover/mistress/best friend to her husband and the best friend of her child. She is cool to the core, and has snapshots of her every living moment on Instagram to prove that. Giveaway sentence: “We love spending time together but never forget that we are all individuals.”
The Guilty Mother (the anti-AA mother): Hard-working and perfectionist in a demanding job, she regrets that there are not enough hours in the day and not enough energy in the human body. Tired and guilty by the time she comes home, she alternates between spoiling the kids and being irritated with them. Her inborn perfectionism demands that she and her kids do the extra mile on education and in having fun together, so she turns the weekends to a whirlwind of activity from music lessons to child birthdays. Telltale sign: Deep frown lines between brows.
The CEO mother: She may have never worked a day in her life but she has ordained her home life with a discipline and work-plan that most CEOs would be proud of. Her electronic diary is filled with what needs to be done by when and who will do it. Hubby, nanny and the cleaning lady are carefully-chosen and trained subordinates, awarded if they excel, sacked if they don’t. Children are the end-product of a carefully orchestrated system. Their health and their academic progress is carefully and regularly monitored, with the attention that a Chief Financial Officer eyeing the CEO seat gives to the year-end figures. Giveaway sentence: “I have booked a week for Selen’s summer language camp. Provided she makes sufficient progress, we may pencil in one week of family holiday after that.”
The Overt-Democratic mother: Nice, soft and emphatic, she asks her children what they want as soon as they are old enough to nod their head. “Would you like to have your spinach now?” “Are you feeling sleepy enough to go to bed?” “Which school do you like best?” She is the despair of teachers, other members of her family and her husband – as well as her children who’d be torn with indecision in this liberal atmosphere. Guilty secret: She is doing it to spite her own overbearing mother.
The Proud Mother: Her children are the best in everything – from education to popularity to sports to potential jobs. Their photos are shared online, successes posted. Other women’s children are an inferior species and their successes politely listened to with slightly pursed lips. Any teacher who fails to see how special her children are or does not treat her as the Queen Mother is a fool and any friend who does not give full attention to her children’s achievements is jealous. She herself was possibly a good student who did not make a “jump” in professional life and wants to realize professional ambition through her children. Secret fear: “What if my unmarried son is gay?”
The Victim Mother: Her children are the worst and she is the perfect martyr to bear it. Her conversation is made up of tales of woe, with her child being a baby who cried all night. Her husband, away at work, does not appreciate the great effort she made. She waits awake until her 20-year-old daughter comes home every night and wakes up early to prepare the breakfast of her 25-year-old son. Slightly arabesque in speech, she nags the kids but expects her husband to be the one who punishes them. Giveaway phrase: “Ah, a mother’s soft heart!”
The Outsourcing Mother: The daily needs of the children are taken by the nanny; a psychologist helps with any problems that the children may confront; private school and private lessons are arranged for their academic progress. Children are sent to grandparents or a camp abroad on holidays. Giveaway sentence: “Call me if there is anything – just not between 16-17.00 hours during my yoga class.”
The Sacred Mom: “I brought up my kids alone by myself.” Period. Uttered with finality of Winston Churchill at Yalta. Don’t say anything back, just nod appreciatively and change the subject.
I looked at my friend in the eye and asked her: “So what sort of a mother am I?”I secretly feared the answer.
“Ever since you suggested to your 17-year-old step son that he should take cooking classes so he can prepare his own meals, I’ve been hesitating between the terms ‘non-mother’ and ‘evil step mom,’” she said.