Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Guilty as Charged

One of my longtime friends, a cool New Yorker with a cute Upper West Side apartment of her own and a fabulous job, reads this blog regularly. She likes us a lot--or so she claims--but she recently made the following observation:

"There's so much guilt on your blog it's ridiculous."

Needless to say, she is not (yet) a Jewish mother.

The stereotype of the Jewish mother is the "you never call, you never write" guilt-inducer. But that paradigm is so last century. Today's modern Jewish mother is the one feeling all the guilt.

Chamudi looks like got beaten up in a title fight. His opponent was in fact a cardboard box. Grandmother-aged women throughout the city are tsk tsking me, and every glance at my sweet boy reminds me that I have once again failed to protect him from life's difficulties.

It's been a tough week for Chamudi. He's been lethargic, whiny, cranky, clumsy, and just all-around-miserable. Two new incisors and some changing needs (more sleep, to start with) are the probable culprits, and things are already looking up, but sad day after sad day I couldn't help but beat myself up over my inability to make his life magically happy.

"Don't you feel like a failure when you can't help him," I asked Abba.
"I feel frustrated, but I don't feel like a failure," he said.

But when I can't meet Chamudi's needs I feel like I should hand in my Ima badge. I feel powerless. I feel like a fraud.

What kind of Ima are you? Your child is having trouble and all you can do is stand there. You brought him into this world so that he could sit on the floor crying?

I'm curious--is this just an Ima thing? Do Abbas ever feel this kind of guilt? Or are they too busy being from Mars to get all emotional about these kinds of things?

1 comment:

Sunkist Miss said...

I am open to the possibility that it is also partially a men/women thing. (Though that is likely to be cultural). That does seem to hold up with other people I know, but it's hardly a scientific sample. Also, knowing you two, I expect that part of it is simply a personality thing.