The Definitive Guide to Manic Moms

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

Symptom: Everything is Great

A particular characteristic of moms in the throes of mania is being fine all the time.   More than fine, actually, great.  No matter what if you ask a truly, deeply manic mother how she is, without skipping a beat she’ll tell you, “I’m great!”

A woman wakes up, kisses her husband (or not), gets her kids up, makes breakfast, makes lunches, gets kids on bus, goes to work, goes food shopping, meets the plumber at the house, goes back to work, updates a team roster, reschedules a dentist appointment, picks up kids, spends 3 hours driving them around to various practices and playdates.  She uses the bathroom during the day only because she happens to walk by one.  Checks her e-mail incessantly, where she sends and responds to e-mail messages like “Will bring the pita chips,” or “On my way to the gym, be there 5 minutes late.” Ask her how things are going: “Great!’ she says.  That’s because in the throes of deep-seated maternal mania the only answer is “Great!” and, the manic mother will have convinced herself that this is always true.  Nothing is never not great.

A few examples:

After seeing a woman, with an air of artifical calm, collect her children after spending two hours at a loud, vibrating bowling alley birthday party you say “How ARE you?” She says, “Great!” which you know deep down inside is just not true or it is, which is possibly more disturbing.

Or, you see a woman who spent four hours, between 11 pm and 2 am sewing costumes for the second grade class play.  She only slept for three hours after that, because she usually wakes up at 5 to workout, since that’s the only time she can do it.  Her first meeting of the day is at school, where she is chairwoman of the Auction Committee and responsible for raising $750,000 in one night for the scholarship fund.  Her second meeting is at her office, where is is a private banker.  Her third meeting, the one you see her at, is actually drop off at soccer practice at 4.  She is great when you see her! Sometimes she’s terrific.

Or, perhaps, you spend the morning with a woman who has invited 8 toddlers and their mothers over to make marizipan reproductions of zoo animals that the kids can learn about by making realistic (read “authentic”, see Manic Mothers and Authenticity) miniatures of all major animal groups.  She interrupts the four hour sculpting playdate only to excuse herself to give her dog it’s daily allergy shots and to make a vegan lunch for her au pair.  Ask her. She’s great for sure.


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