• Jodie Barringer

Daddy, this Momma thing is not working out.

Updated: Jan 27, 2019

The chosen and perfect daughter decides that her mother is just not working out as a proper mother. It's her father's responsibility to let his wife know.

Every now and then you have to have those tough talks with your parents. I had to have another one of those "talks" with my father a few months ago. For about a year now, my mother has been acting...well, odd. When Momma was working at Harpeth Hall, she was sweet, loving, and attentive; everybody liked her, and so did I, but ever since she retired...I don't know, something has happened. So, it was about this issue that I felt I had to confront my father a while back. It was a very sensitive subject but one the girls and I knew had been coming for a while. How to broach the subject was the question. One afternoon, I made an appointment with Daddy to talk.

"Daddy, I need to talk to you about something very important."

"Yes, Darling Daughter who can do no wrong and who is the apple of my eye?"

"Daddy, it's Momma. ( Pause). This Momma thing is not working out.

"Whatever do you mean, Precious Daughter who can do no wrong?"

"Daddy, quite simply, this Momma thing is just not working out.Ever since she became a woman of leisure, she has just been awful.All she does is play bridge and garden.She has shirked all of her motherly responsibilities, she doesn't return her phone calls. and I won't even go into how she has abandonned her grandmotherly responsibilitilies! It is simply awful. (Pause for effect.) I think we need to let her go. ( look sincerely in pain into Daddy's eyes.) In fact, I am looking for a replacement mother; I wanted to let you know."

Daddy, the ever loving father that he is sat quietly.Stunned, perhaps, but tough love is , sometimes, like that. I kissed him on the check, and I told him that I would take care of the details. I would report back to him in a week or so.

Now, honestly, Momma isn't so bad. She is good and kind and all of that, but she just did not read the rest of the chapter on Aging Beautifully.- she got the "take good care of yourself and eat right"part, but, somewhere along the way, she missed the "and , then, go over to your daughter's house and pick up the kids and cart them around for your daughter after school and during the summer months part.She also skipped the chapter on "Asking the daughter if it were alright if she just brought dinner over one night every week..."

I have always looked up to my mother, but now that I know the truth about her reading habits, I have to question other things I held to be truths.I now know how she reads books so fast: She skips the bring chapters and skips to the good ones. I know that because even though Momma looks like a good caring mother to the outside world, she is actually the personification of the The Judging the Book by the Cover speech. I would venture to guess that she even reads the last page of the book before she starts, but I digress.

Enough was enough. So, I began my search for the perfect mother.The mother who would help with driving...the mother who would actually be in town to drive.

Last night was the day I had to report my findings to Daddy.. Now, Friends, I would like for you to know that there are some very lovely, lovely ladies out and about in Nashville, and it has been a very difficult process to determine which luck y lady would get to be my new mother.I have had to , very simply, had to narrow my search to just one and only one.Last night was the night that I was going to have to tell Daddy my decision. I was going to surprise him with the wonderful news.

Ever so delicately, as is my nature, I lighted out of my car and glided ever so sweetly and demurely up to the front steps of home. I heard faint laughing and giggling n the back porch, so I quietly tiptoed through the kitchen to see what was stirring.

And, there they were: sitting on the back porch sipping on a glass of wine and laughing.Daddy, ever so handsome, and Momma, fit to kill...I stood by the door and listened with horror as I heard them discuss- no, PLAN their next trip> I dissolved when I heard them talking about the dinner party that they were having the next night.

Why, it seemed that my mother had lured my father into her awful web of irresponsibility and bohemian wantonness. Surreptitiously, she had she had tantalized him with her tales of far away vistas: foreign places where they eat on patios, and stroll hand in hand through gardens, beaches, and on mountain trails. Like Medusa she had gazed upon him, and he had become her victim.Scylla and Charybdis had nothing on this vixen; she had captured his will, and he was a goner.

With ever so delicate steps, as is my nature,, I descended on to the porch to confront the two parents I had grown to love.with ever so soft a voice and with great reserve,, as is my nature, I said to them,

"Mother, Father, I must now confront you both with something that has become an issue."( Strong look of disapproval and disappointment at my father.)

At first I though that your behavior was something that I thought that we could work on together. ( Look of sadness)I put my trust in you, and you have broken it. I gave you opportunity after opportunity to prove yourselves to me , but I see that you are, you both, have become self centered. You do not think of me at all. This relationship has become on sided. It is simply not working out. I can be no more delicate than that.I am sorry. I want you to know that I am putting a sign in my yard tomorrow.

It will read simply: Parents wanted. Only the sincerely devoted need apply." ( Look of remorse and resolve.)

With great sadness I turned to leave, and I looked back to see my parents just one last time.They had been good once. They did babysit the girls when they were young. They had done a few nice things ever now and again, I thought. But things had really changed. When , exactly, had things started to slip?Maybe it was when they got internet. Maybe that was when it really started. But it is too late now. What is done is done. They had their chance.

Tormented by the fact that my parents had deprived themselves of the children and their daughter in law and their grandchildren,I turned again to to leave when I witnessed what was, perhaps, the saddest sight I have ever seen. I heard glasses tinkling and wild giggling. I turned around to see my soon to be former parents raising their full to overflowing glasses...they were drinking heartily and merrily. A giggle. And, after a moment, Daddy raised her glass to Momma's and said, " A toast!" And, they both sang out, " To Success!" and louder again, " To success!"Free at last! Free at last! Thank God All mighty. We are free at last.


They were quoting speeches. Long ago speeches. They were winking and giggling. Momma tipped so far back in her chair that Daddy had to rush to catch her.And, he lifted her up, and twirled her. And they danced to no music. And, they toasted again. They had gone mad.Quite simply mad.The horrors of senility had its ugly grasp on them both. I had not even realized it. It had happened so slowly. So slowly. Why, how could I replace them now?Why, I couldn't. I simply could not. Well, I would not.I simply had to keep them. It was my duty as a child. After all, what would they do without me?

Kiss your babies, Tell your parents you love them, and Take a walk in the park with a friend." Love, Jodie

#mothersbehavingbadly #tradingmothers #mothershelpingdaughters

33 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All