Sometimes Motherhood Hurts.

My son, Jake, moved to Los Angeles Today.  The news about this move was given to me when we were in France.  I’m pretty sure Jake waited until then because if he had told me before I left, I would have been a crying mess.

He’s embarking on an incredible career move!

I was the last person to find out about this because of my uncanny ability to do nothing but cry and feel sorry for myself when things don’t turn out the way I want them to.

I cried so much that if there was a drought, it would be over!

I’m not the perfect mom.

In fact, I pretty much suck as a mom.

I’m not that mom who speaks softly.  I’ve never been that mom who says “darn it” or does that “tsk tsk” thing.

I’m not that mom who told the kids that “my friend” was coming for monthly visits.  I’m the mom who bluntly announced, “Oh my God—the cramps!!” “I have my period!!!”  “Be nice to me!!!”

Remarkably quite realistic of  how I looked once a month.  And if you ask my kids who this is, they will say “Oh my God–it’s my mother”  They will not answer Zoey Deschanel.

I spent my days as a stay-at-home mom nurturing my children in my own distinct way and teaching them to be independent. I think I taught them the independence thing too well.

Oona is in Cincinnati.  Jake will be in L.A.  Roman is still in New York City but now I wonder—when will the time come that he decides to follow the steps of his older brother?

Jake and Roman arelikethisand the best thing I did as a mom was to stress the importance of all three kids having each other.  The boys are really close. Roman helped Jake with a lot of the packing–especially since Jake has a broken wrist!

Our family has never been perfect.  I’ve always envisioned Christmas cards with us at the beach, sitting on the dunes, the sea-breeze gently blowing our hair into ever-so-perfectly strands that are one with the wind.  Light blue chambray shirts and white jeans—all of us.  A cross between a J. Crew ad and a layout in Town & Country magazine.

Like a version of the Kennedy family.

Look at those teeth!!  Look at those smiles!   I’ll never aspire to this sort of photo.

But alas, unlike any of the Kennedy women, I’m more like a pared-down version of a Mob Wife. With the gutta mouth to match!

I’m more like Rene from Mob Wives–but without the violence!

My child-rearing abilities—or rather, disabilities went against way my siblings raised their children.  I never had a set bed time for the kids because they went to sleep when they were tired. And they loved their sleep and went to bed early on their own.

I also never denied their friends to visit. I love having my house as the gathering place.   It was my way of knowing where my kids were!  Sneaky—right??

I actually did buy Jake a box of condoms when he went off to college.  

I didn’t believe in censorship.  To a point.   While I wouldn’t want my boys watching “Girls Gone Wild”, I allowed them to watch films and read books that may have been a bit mature for them at times.  Well, I did forbid fashion magazines in the house when Oona was in middle school because I didn’t want her to grow up with a negative body image and I didn’t want her to think she had to look like those human Q-tips called models.

What can I say???

Damn. See how I’m bringing this back to me?

Here’s the thing.  My son is clear across the country.  I don’t think I saw enough of him during his young adulthood.

He went off to college, as kids do and when he returned, he moved back to NYC. I live in Pennsylvania.  And although we saw each other, I’m sure, enough to keep him satisfied, we didn’t see each other enough to keep me satisfied.

One of my favorite photos of the boys.  Jake could have had a great man bun with that head of hair!!

I’m a selfish mom, I am.

When your kids are younger, you never envision them as adults. Then you turn around and they are on their own. Where does the time go?  It’s so fleeting!

But if anyone on this earth deserves the opportunity and the success that my young man has now, it is him.  When his dad and I were going through our divorce, Jake left University of Texas to work full time so that he could return to the University as a State resident.

He worked his ass off, returned to school and managed to work his way through with honors.

He was focused and determined. I will never forget back when he was in third grade, I was emptying his backpack and a paper fell out.  It was a test.  His grade was a 78.  When I later questioned him on why he didn’t show me or tell me about the test, he became angry. But he wasn’t angry with me. He was angry with himself.  He was mortified that he had gotten such a low grade and told me point blank that would never happen again (Personally, the 78 was no big deal to me).  He never did.  He ended up at the top of his class and it was all from very, very hard work.

First day of Kindergarten at St. Ignatius Loyola School. How many kids are lucky enough to take the Subway to school at 4 years old?  

I think of those nights spent during his childhood when he was sick.  My God, I thought a flu was the worst thing that could happen.  And don’t even get me started when he caught cat scratch fever! (Yes. There is a thing. And he got it from a cat scratch) I couldn’t speak for two days until the doctor finally told me everything was fine!

I think of the times driving to and from baseball and basketball practices and games.  I think of the times when I would get to spend time alone with him when he was young.

He still has his beloved Red Sox cap from his middle school years! 

It’s more difficult when a son moves far away, I think.  Oona lives in Cincinnati, but we talk practically every day. We talk so much that we even argue over the phone. Then we make up.  Sometimes Oona is the mother. Sometimes I’m the mother. But the thing is, she never feels like she’s far away. And her visits, although not as often as I would like, are longer ones.

Oona my mom. She’ll curb my FB posts about a certain person who isn’t my president!

Sometimes Motherhood hurts.  And that’s ok!

I’ve been crying at work. I’ve been crying in my car.  I’ve been crying at home.  And now that you have allowed me to vent, I feel much better. I’ve finally stopped crying!

It hit me that the reason we have kids is to love them and by loving them we raise them to be responsible and successful adults.  I did that.

Selfie time with me and the boys.  We went into NYC on Saturday to hang for a while.  It was great!!!

And now, I wish Jake all the success in the world as he embarks upon a very wonderful position out in L.A.  He will be enjoying the sunshine and quite possibly healthier food. I don’t know if California sells full-on fatty ice cream—he may have to eat Tofutti!

But I’m proud and happy and rooting for his every success!

I think he’s going to love California!

Ohhhh…I can’t wait till Christmas!!!

© 2017

I can’t stop thinking of this song that Joni Mitchell sings so beautifully “The Circle Game”–because this song pretty much sums it up!!



About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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53 Responses to Sometimes Motherhood Hurts.

  1. It’s so true, Catherine. We love them and then they grow up. We still love them and we have to wear our big girl panties and not show how much we hurt sometimes for them. Great post. Glad to hear you are adjusting. It’s hard, but it sounds like your son will be flourishing out there! – Amy

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Amy!! Thanks so much. I don’t particularly like wearing my big girl panties but I’ve adjusted them!! That’s why it’s so important to really spent quality with the kids when they are younger. Back when we were kids, families didn’t move far from each other–it was like a community. But now..the kids go where the money is!! and rightly so!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  2. Marsha Wilson says:

    What a beautiful family you have. Wishing you peace with your son’s move. It surely sounds like you have raised resilient and talented children which is a testament to your parenting skills.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Marsha. Oh–thank you so much. Yeah. I’m really really lucky. Despite my sometimes unconventional outlook on raising kids, mine turned out to be very kind with a social conscience and with a great work ethic. I’m blessed! Thank you again!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  3. Jeanne says:

    Raising Kids to be Strong, Independent, Empowered and Kind Adults. Without Fears. Yes. That is the Goal. And it is evident that you did a wonderful job…A proud moment. Tears are allowed. Expected. Encouraged. Tears of Joy. And you know, I hear Christmas is a very nice time to visit California. Just saying. Catherine, Your Family is beautiful and I bet they are as proud of you as you are of them. 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Jeanne! Thanks so much! Oh. Christmas is with me–at home and it’ll be great to have all the kids here! I would like to get to Cali after Jake is settled a bit!! Thank you again Jeanne!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  4. Deb says:

    Oh Cuz. I feel for you. It’s rough when your kids sprout their wings. My Cara is exploring S America right now and only bought a one way ticket. You raised your children well and I’m sure they had a lovely childhood. He will do fine. We have our cousins Tara and Tommy out there . Theresa too I think. Remember our spring Florida trip back in the day- I’m doing a cross- country drive next summer. Wanna cruise along ? Take care n keep on writing!

    • Catherine says:

      LOL. Debbie, our Spring Break trip was a riot!! I keep forgetting there is quite the number of Gorman family transplants on the West Coast! I hope Cara is having a great time in S. America. Hey. Is the French BF still in the pic??? Thanks–it was great to hear from you Cuz!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  5. Momcat says:

    If you really want to worry about your kids wait till they send you a photo of a baby ultrasound with the caption Happy Mother’s Day Grandma!! You think this is a joke because at 62 way too young to be anybody’s grandma!!! Haha no joke, the condom broke or the pill failed and baby is winging in November. As per usual I am worried about EVERYTHING and they are not. Calmly moving in together, organizing the nest, planning the natural birth with a midwife ( worry). I worry, they have no car, no mortgage, he’s a published but still struggling writer she has the real job . Worry, worry, worry….my parents are in their nineties ( professional worriers) told me not to worry, the kids will be fine. And so will your baby boy..HE WILL BE JUST FINE!! It’s ma who needs to chill ( advice given to me by my 20 year old baby and proud uncletobe…just poor a glass of wine and chill. The kids will be just fine.

    • Catherine says:

      Momcat! And they will be just fine!!! I would be worrying though too–moreso about the midwife. My babies were so big that I needed to be in a hospital. With a doctor. But–they’ll do what they are comfortable doing. as far as 62 being too young to be grandma’d. A lot of my girlfriends are already grandmas and I feel left out–and they are the cool grandmas too. I actually had the balls to tell Oona that I have goals. One is to be a grandmother by the time I’m 65. Now mind you–I said this to my daughter because my sons would look at me like I’m crazy. You are going to be a fantastic grandmother!!! Congrats BTW!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  6. madmegsblog says:

    thank you for this! I thought I was reading about me as a mother and man it feels good to know I’m not alone. 🙂 The greatest thing we can do in this lifetime is raise decent human beings. That’s it. That simple. The rest is out of our hands. I wish your kids nothing but the best!

    • Catherine says:

      Thank you Madmeg!! You are definitely not along! And it’s true–the best we can do is raise decent human beings. I wish your kids the same!!!! Thank you!! XOXOXOXO

  7. Christine G says:

    We have lots of full fat ice cream parlors in LA, and many are close to Universal City. 😉

    Congratulations on having such terrific kids. Wishing your Jake a lot of success.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Christine. Is Universal City near Hollywood? I am totally ignorant to CA’s geographic locations. He’s going to be living in or very close to Hollywood. He’s in corporate housing for now. I will definitely remind him that there are full fat ice cream places–thank you!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • Christine G says:

        Yes, Universal City is just over the hill from Hollywood. LA is lots of different neighborhoods, usually distinguished by being on one side of the hills or the other. (If he’s in the corporate housing most entertainment companies use, he’s next to Universal City.)

        My son is also a millennial in entertainment. He alerted me to an app “5 Every Day”. It’s a fun way to learn about all that LA has to offer. LA is not an ugly city with beautiful people; it’s a lot more than that.


  8. Juliet says:

    You’ve raised great kids – ok, our parenting style isn’t in trend right now (maybe you should write the manual as it gets results and I am tired of the perfect mum or the mumsy mum or the other irritating/sanctimonious mums). I can feel your pain (I can bring gin, I can bring Sauvignon blanc or Syrah or all of them), but seriously you have raised great kids (and wow do those kids look like you), and once you’ve done that they’ll always be your kids


    • Catherine says:

      Hi Juliet! OK Girlfriend! We are on the same page! Ugh. Sanctimonious mums. I’ll never forget when Roman was 18 months old. 18 MONTHS. I had him in his stroller. We were walking in my neighborhood in NYC. It took him all of three seconds to unstrap himself from the stroller and run out into Broadway to traffic. I literally ran out, grabbed him and spanked his diapered butt while I cried “Don’t you ever do that again”!!! One of my earth mother friends saw me and smugly said “Abusing your child?” I went batshit. Batshit in the middle of Broadway and started screaming at the top of my lungs. “YES ALLIE–BECAUSE I WOULD RATHER SPANK MY CHILD INTO UNDERSTANDING WRONG FROM RIGHT THAN HAVE A DEAD CHILD. AND NOW GO TO THE PLAYGROUND AND TELL ALL THE MOMS HOW BAD I AM”. OMG. I will never forget that incident. You cannot talk logic with an 18-month old and a little spank on a padded, diapered behind is NOT abuse. Abuse is laughing or thinking it’s cute when your child puts themselves in harms way.
      See. My bad mothering paid off!! Get that gin for me please!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

      • vavashagwell says:

        Tanqueray 10, or Bombay Sapphire? Can I join the cocktail party, too? I’ve got a good gin collection to donate to the cause! 🙂

  9. Bridget says:

    First of all, I have to say – your kids are gorgeous! Not that it’s the important thing, but I’m just saying.

    I think it’s hard when anyone moves away, even though that is exactly what they are supposed to do. I don’t have kids, but I live in different places than my sisters do. One is in WV (where we are from) and the other is from CA. Fortunately, WV is not *that* far away, so we see her a few times a year – and three of her kids live in Baltimore, another lives in Brooklyn, so we see them fairly often.

    But I seldom get to see my sister in CA, or her kids in CA and AZ. And I wish I did. At the same time, we all keep in touch really well via Facebook, so I feel like I get to keep up with them, even if I don’t talk to them every day.

    I hope Jake does really well in his new adventure. And remember that no matter what, you’ll always be his mom. My parents had a similar approach to child-raising as you did, and all of us turned out well, and all of us are really close. Perfection is overrated. 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Bridget. You just made me feel really wonderful. Thank you!!! Yeah. I do believe that there is no such thing as the perfect parent–and those who pontificate how perfect they are–arent!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!

  10. You’re so much better at letting go of your kids than I am! You’re doing it with a bigger smile and setting a great example for me. Thanks! I’m in there trying! 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Cathi. I think that could be because I still have one in NYC!! I texted him today and asked him when he was coming over. Answer: Soon. That basically means. Soon when I’m ready I’m busy on the weekends– LOL!! Ahhh, it is so damned hard to let go!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  11. calensariel says:

    Oh Lordy! You’re pulling at my heart strings. Big congrats to Jake and all the luck in the world. Girl, you should be so proud at how you raised those youngens. Having an adult son living at home with us has proved such a difficult experience because we don’t know whether to treat him like a son or an adult. If there’s a good compromise we haven’t found it yet. So my hat’s off to you that you’ve given your kids both roots and wings because no matter how far they fly they will always be tethered to you. 🙂 And it’s ok to cry! <3

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Lady Calen. OMG. I never thought about that–having an adult child living at home. I would have a tendency to treat him like a child. Which, would not be a good thing for an independent younger adult. Thank you again. I only cried once today!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

      • patricia blaettler says:

        My adult son just moved back in. His father called me freakin’ out cuz the kid left dirty dishes in the sink “for someone else to take care of.” (I was out of town.) I texted the lad and told him that his father is just as busy as he is, we are all adults now, and we don’t have a staff. His response was “Sorry, it won’t happen again.” Fingers crossed!

  12. vavashagwell says:

    You’ve been a great mom from the sound of it! Look at it this way, now you have reason to travel to the West Coast more often!

    • Catherine says:

      Hey Vava. Yup!! I’ll be searching for some cheap flights and adding to my miles!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

      • vavashagwell says:

        Well, if you, Bonaparte, and your son ever want to visit Western Oregon, I have a guest house and would love to have you visit. It would be a real hoot.

  13. Jane Billman says:

    I totally hear you I have one son in Connecticut (with my three grandsons), one in Denver and one here in Columbus Ohio – the out of town sons HATE my good bye boo hoos! So I very much understand.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Jane! See–we are all alike!! It’s amazing too because I’m reading about many women who’s children have moved away. A big change from my childhood. My parent’s families were close in proximity–and every Sunday it was “visiting family” day. I think that may be a thing of the past!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  14. 3C Style says:

    Oh Catherine, I feel for you. I wish I could write this respond in French; don’t think my English is good enough to find the right words. First, let me tell you: Your family is beautiful! And from what I have read, you seem to have done a very good job as a mother. Be proud that your son is a confident man, strong enough to take on a big chalenge (I have a feeling that it comes from you). Letting go is the hardest part of a mom’s job I think. But know that just like the birds, happy children always come back to their nest (at least once in a while). Best wishes.

    • Catherine says:

      Merci Dominique!! Thank you for such a beautiful reply!! He is confident and I think all of three are pretty confident in that I never put them down or belittled them when they were growing up. I focused on the good and positive. In my special way–LOL!!! XOXOXO!!!!

      • vavashagwell says:

        Wow, this resonates with me… mother-in-law is the exact opposite of you. She belittles everyone in the family, even her daughters-in-law and grandchildren. I’ve finally drawn the line in the sand with her, I’m done with all that. So kudos to you for not being like her!

      • 3C Style says:

        I know. That’s one of the reasons I like you so much as a blogger. Take care.

  15. Charlotte says:

    Now I can’t quit crying. Why does it all happen so fast? It doesn’t seem fair that you get to hang out with these beautiful creatures for such a short time. Sometimes my heart just can’t take it! My kids make fun of me when I cry over how fast the time has gone. “Oh no mom are you crying AGAIN?” (Think I have some hormonal issues also :p).
    Your kids are beautiful and I can tell you are a wonderful mom! (Oh and the picture in the school uniform is killing me because it is so adorable!)

    • Catherine says:

      You too? Charlotte, I used to cry all the time when they were younger that they were growing up too fast. Now I just cry and say “Where did the time go”? That’s why I get upset when I hear women say “I can’t wait until they’re grown”. No. No. and No!!!! I actually used to look forward to summer vacation so that we could do things together instead of them being in school! Thank you so much!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  16. junedesilva says:

    I have two wonderful sons. One has already left home, the younger one will be soon. I feel your pain. I like this quote: ‘There are two gifts we should give our children; one is roots, and the other is wings.’ Says it all really…😥

  17. Hat off ! Madame.
    “Maurul si-a facut datoria , Maurul poate sa ” moara ” ”
    (Arab proverb)
    You give’em roots and wings…..well done mama !
    I’m still looking for stage 3th …nana ;);)
    More fun then ever ;);)
    <3 j.

  18. pasunejeunefille says:

    Beautifully written! As I face becoming an empty nester in a month, it touched a chord. I think that parenthood is the only relationship in which you pour all your love another person only to have them leave you if you did your job well. You did your job well.

    • Catherine says:

      J–I offer you tons of hugs in advance. The beginning of the empty nest is the most difficult time–then it gets better. Until they visit. Then when they leave it starts all over again! But it’s true you give all your love and they leave–but at least when they leave it is with the values we instilled in them so that’s a great thing!! Thanks so much!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  19. LA CONTESSA says:

    L.A. is an UGLY CITY……….with PRETTY PEOPLE!
    Once he finds the right beaches THAT WILL BE THE SINKER.
    I”m UP NORTH BY SAN FRAN……………just in case he needs a hand!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Elizabeth!!! I just may send him up to see you and Banksy!!! He’s having surgery on his broken wrist tomorrow morning. He broke it!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  20. Susie says:

    I know that it is hard on you emotionally, but it is wonderful that Jake is having such success in his chosen career, even though it is so far away from you.

    My grandson is seven now. I could tell my daughter how much she needs to embed into her memory everything she can about every day that she spends with him, but I know from experience that is something we moms know in our heads from the beginning, but we get sidetracked from it in the everyday busy-ness of family life.

    Your kids are beautiful. Some of your parenting style when your kids were young reminded me of my own.

    I have found that when I cry for a day or two, and my eyes get chapped at the outside corners when my son’s leave is over and he returns to Europe, a tiny little bit of vaseline dabbed right at the outside crease of the eye (don’t get it in your eye) helps keep my eye lids from burning so much.

    • Catherine says:

      Thank you Susie!!! Your comment made me feel a lot better! Whoa! Vaseline on the outside crease? I’m definitely going to try that!!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  21. Leah says:

    Love the Mob Wives reference. God I miss that crazy show…especially Big Ange!

    Just think, now you can visit your son in LA!

  22. Yvonne Gray says:

    You’re a fantastic mother. Your children ooze beauty from outside and in. Giving children independence should be the Second Amendment as it is a much greater strength than anything else. I had to leave the country to provide independence to my children as I was such a helicopter mum but let them party and fun. I hope Jake gets all the success he deserves moving to LA.

  23. I wrote a poem about the different versions of a mothers struggle!

    Please check out my latest post I would love your thoughts

    Your post speaks truth. Motherhood will never be any easier because it is a commitment outside of ourselves! Thank you for sharing

  24. xosimba says:

    Thanks for this. Loved it.
    I wrote a post about my struggle in motherhood . Please check it out

  25. shalene2113 says:

    I thought I was bad and my son is only 4. He had start school last year and I had called the school every 3 hours (very Obsessively). I understand letting go a little..just a little

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