The Definitive Guide to Manic Moms

Man'ic: adj. characterized by frenzy, uncontrolled by reason

Archive for July, 2009

Bug Spray

No real elaboration is necessary here.  Bug spray used to be something awful smelling and toxic that humans sprayed in dark corners to kill scurrying, undesirable insects. Somehow, bug spray is now something light and often cloyingly citrusy that we willingly spray on our childrens’ skin to keep bugs off. 

It still smells and we don’t put the children in dark corners before we spray them.  The degree of toxicity remains uncertain.  But, for manic mothers nationwide, the benefits outweigh the possible harm and the memory of what bug spray once was has been successfully eradicated.  If you are ever outside in a warm, slightly marshy-feeling place with many mothers, yell “Mosquito!” and see what happens.


Symptom: Hand Sanitizers and The Manic Mom

No right thinking mother is ever without some form of Purell or similar sanitizing agent: in the car, in her purse, in school bags, gym bags, camp kits, lunch boxes, desks at school, desks at home, kitchen counter, bathroom sinks.  A manic mom’s child doesn’t realize that there is life that does not include small bottles of clear, and now scented, germ-killing viscous gel.

Some scholars maintain that hand sanitizers are possibly the single most influential factor in the evolution of the contemporary American Manic Mother.  Others think that backlashes from second and third wave feminism are more important. Others still,  think that persistent and unrealistic ideals of motherhood or internal conflicts regarding the deleterious effects of a mother working full time on her children cause mania to flourish.  But, no one explanation for the exponential growth of manic mothering is as symbolic as hand sanitizers.  It is plausible, however, that hand sanitizers are a symptom and not a cause. 

On the cause side of the debate: Hand sanitizers allow women to feel that they can indeed influence, possibly control, the world around them – which is at the heart of all manic mothering.  Particularly the world as it relates to their children.   As everyone knows, a sick child means a mom did something wrong.  A healthy, perpetually sanitized child must there fore mean the mom is doing something right and is fully in control.

On the effect side: the possession of hand sanitizer is only a very visible symptom of manic mothering.  Hand sanitizer, if it didn’t exist, would be easily represented by say, bug spray or moist wipes.  The cause is the belief in control, not the sanitizer itself.

Either way, every self-respecting manic mother is capable of instantaenously wiping out entire colonies of bacteria upon request.

Teaching Preschoolers Newton’s Laws of Motion

All good manic moms try, at least once, to teach their children Newton’s Laws of Motion before preschool.  That’s because:

Newton’s First Law (Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it) explains why manic mothers’ don’t stop talking or moving until something literally hits them, like a bed.

Newton’s Second Law (Force=Mass x Acceleration) explains why manic a mother’s mania  is the result of her mass times the speed with which she can do everything a good mother has to do in a day. It’s important to explain the world and adult behavior clearly to small children so that they feel safe and comfortable.  And, last but perhaps most important

 Newton’s Third Law (For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction) is the only way a child can understand that his or her good manic mother is just responding equally and oppositely to a bad, slacker mother. For example, when a bad slacker mother fails to have hand sanitizer, wipes and a healthy snack with her a good manic mother readily supplies all of these things to make up for it.

 Especially talented manic mothers also make sure that their preschooler also knows what gravity, is because when the child is not with his or her mother all day, every day, the child will trip or fall or something might drop on the child.