Mothers Superior
0 comment Friday, June 27, 2014 |
Schadenfreude, schadenfreude. Sometimes we simply can't help ourselves, it just feels so satisfying. As in, "Oh, no dear, we're fine. We never even considered investing with Bernie Madoff. His returns were just too suspicious. So how much did you lose?"
Of course there are other forms of gloating, too. Remember Sue Ann Nivens on the Mary Tyler Moore show? "Mary, your hair looks great. When did you dye it?" But the worst kind of gloat is what I call mommenfreude. It's when a mom points out your parenting mistakes and acts like she's mother of the year.
These women come in all ages and stages of life. My own mother is a big mommenfreuder. Referring to something Mr. M has done, she'll often say, "Well, when you were that age, you never did that, because I wouldn't let you."
But even my mom cannot compete with the old lady who lives on our street. She mommenfreudes on the other moms constantly. She's always outside, watching everything, cruising the sidewalks for scoop so she can get a leg up. She's worse than the nosey neighbor in Bewitched. And when Gladys is on a mission, she will not be deterred. Like the time Mr. M went missing.
It was a beautiful afternoon and my neighbor Mrs. M and I walked from her house down to mine to see how our renovations were coming along. We left the boys in the front yard to play while we went inside to have a look. When we came back out, 90 seconds later, the boys were gone. Gladys stood in her front yard like a statue, wordlessly watching our crisis unfold.
Braving heart palpitations and bad knees, we staggered up and down the street screaming their names and fearing the worst. When I'd had enough, oh say, after two minutes, I called the law.
An officer came instantly. Damn it, I thought, when he got out of his car. I'd just cross-examined this guy only the week before. Fortunately, he did not remember me. It helped that I was in my fat-mom Amway get-up.
The officer suggested I check my house one more time for the children. Snoop Gladys Kravitz was waiting for me when I got there. "Are you selling your house?" she warbled. "I noticed you've made some renovations. What are you going to ask for it? Why are you moving?"
"Gladys," I said, "you saw the policeman roar up. My and Mrs. M's children are missing. This is just not a good time." Undaunted, she gave chase, hurtling more questions at me.
So intent on getting answers, in fact, she went home and emailed Mrs. M, minutes after our tense exchange, asking if Mrs. M knew of our house intentions. Gladys did not ask whether our children had been recovered.
But her recent email to Mrs. M is over-the-top mommenfreude, even for Gladys. Here is it is, exactly as she wrote it:
Subject: nosubject Mrs. M, I saw your olest son on the scooter with little brother on the backriding the scooter in the street thought you would like to know,no cars erecoming at that time.Why was nobody out side watching them whem they were outside? I never let my girls out by them alone.Just thought you might like toknow.---------------
Find out how easy email really is -- without a computer! Visit or send email to*@#$!F#@%! If she'd sent me that email, I'd have said,
Dear Gladys, I never watch my kids. I'm too busy inside, drinking beer and burning the dinner. Here's the number for Child Protective Services, in case you lost your fridge magnet.Oh, and your "Good Mother" award. But maybe I'm being too harsh. After all, the old girl's figured out how to email without a computer. Which is a lot more than I can say.

Labels: ,