The Mother Lode

That’s the nickname my sister and I gave our mom after a horrendous Christmas shopping episode. I’ve mentioned Mom many times before, but it wasn’t until Jeffe Kennedy commented yesterday about Nora Roberts’ relationship with her mother and how it pertains to her books that I started pondering. You know how I am when I ponder!

Well, it’s no secret I have a great relationship with my mom. Oh, sure we had our I-would-like-nothing-better-than-to-strangle-you-now moments, but what mother-daughter relationship doesn’t? She wasn’t like June Cleaver by any stretch of the imagination. She worked as a hot-shot driver when I was growing up, so she wasn’t home all the time. However, that stint as a woman in a man’s profession made me the woman I am today. She was fearless and tough, independent and stern. It was kind of scary as a kid cause you know, she has these laser-green-eyes-of-death when you do something wrong.

But she was great. Still is. Every single one of my friends adore my mother. When we were in college, she was the one inviting them to Thanksgiving dinner where she proceeded to stuff them full of food. She was also the one who kept them laughing with her antics and poor word choices. Love her.

However, I got to thinking about my manuscripts. I’ve completed four and have two in the cooker, but out of all the stories I’ve written, only one of the mothers in them weren’t psychotic. I’m not talking they were Mommy Dearest candidates…more like eat their young type mothers. In my current WIP (which I still haven’t titled and it’s starting to drive me crazy!), the heroine’s mother tried to kill her and her brother when they were children. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with my head?

As far as I know, Mom hasn’t tried to kill me. There was the field peas episode that I still wonder about, but she swears I had a stomach virus so I suppose I should believe her. Other than that though, Mom’s protected me, fought for me, and been my most staunch supporter. What would Freud say about this? Do I secretly resent my mom for being so good to me? Maybe I have some sick need to be punished? Eh.

It’s because of this…mother problem I have that I don’t want my own mom to read my books. I can just picture her reading it and thinking “Everyone’s going to think I was a horrible mother just because I didn’t fix her breakfast every morning! Oh God, I am a horrible mother!” Yesh…I think I’ve even told her about this little problem. It might’ve been something like:

Me: Uh, Mom. If uh, people you know read my books and know I’m your daughter…they might think you were a bad mom.
Mom: Why?
Me: Er…cause the mom’s in all of my books are bitches. But you’re not!
Mom: *huff* I suppose I could’ve been a better mother. I know I never made  y’all breakfast every morning, but I tried! *another huff* I was just teaching y’all how to be independent.
Me: Yeah, but I’m still not happy we never had sandwich meat and we had to eat ketchup and mayonnaise sandwiches after school.
Mom: Snacks after school are bad for you.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure that was the gist of the conversation. She’s great though. She’s got a sick sense of humor that…well, I’m pretty sure is the reason her children and grandchildren are warped. Seriously, if you banged your head on something and just about knocked yourself out as a teenager, she thought it was funny.

So tell me, are any of your moms, dads, relatives going to think they did something to you and that’s why you write horrible moms, dads, relations? Will your parents look at you as though wondering where they went wrong if they read your manuscript?


Filed under Family

12 responses to “The Mother Lode

  1. Mine might- she and I get along very well but she might not be happy with the actual moms in my manuscripts. Most of them are non-entities- I DO have one where the mom tried to kill the heroine and the dad and died herself in the process. I have one where the mom is a harmless flake. The book I have coming out has a dead mother. AND my WIP has the hero and heroine meeting over the murdered bodies of her parents. SO, if we think you’re sick- what am I??????

  2. In most of my stories, the parents are gone. Either dead, drugged out and out of the picture, or…. well, absent. 🙂

    Hot shot driver, huh? That’s pretty cool!

  3. KAK

    Yeeah. My Mom already has her lip out about mothers in my books being, erm, dead. I have to remind her that the fathers don’t always fare too well either. I’m an equal opportunity slasher.

    And she *did* make me breakfast every morning…even if it was peanut butter on toast because she’d overslept. Maybe it was the cans of eggnog while we were stuck in temporary housing that pushed me over the edge. :O

  4. I think most fiction involves dead, absent or evil parents. Most fairy tales at least. It adds conflict. My mom would never read a book of mine for fear that it would insinuate something bad about her. And I will say that with Sophia’s mom in Shark Bait I modeled her relationship with her mother just a tad after mine.

    But I think it’s a mistake to write stories about characters with great parents, nice friends, etc. You need to make the situation dire. So if they get a long grate with their mom, you’d have to kill her. 😉

  5. Sorry to set off a crisis with my idle comment! I think our stories, like weird dreams, work out our various issues. Just tell your mom that the “mother” images in your stories represent the essential female id with which we all struggle.

    (And KAK – I *know* one of your daughters murdered her mother quite cheerfully!)

  6. I write about crazy relatives too! Maybe b/c my relatives are fun and caring, I need to write all about the crazy…

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