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Katy and little one, 1990.

Mother’s Day 2023: Erma Bombeck Wasn’t a ‘Birthing Person”

‘My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance’

By Katy Grimes, May 14, 2023 3:00 am

One of my favorite writers ever was the inimitable Erma Bombeck. Dubbed the “Socrates of the ironing board” by Life magazine, she was the queen of sassy, funny, irony and reality. Bombeck was a syndicated columnist, author, sitcom writer, “Good Morning America” commentator and a household name who appeared on the cover of magazines and on “Johnny Carson” and other talk shows – and a graduate of University of Dayton, which houses the “The Erma Bombeck Collection.”

She made boogers, spit up, screaming children and dirty bathrooms funny. As the mother of an infant projectile vomiter in 1989, I needed the comic relief Erma Bombeck provided.

“When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice, safe playpen. When they’re finished, I climb out.” ~ Erma Bombeck

Last year for Mother’s Day I wrote, “On This Mother’s Day 2022, What is a Woman?” following then-United States Supreme Court nominee Kentanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing in the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) asked Brown Jackson if she “could provide a definition for the word ’woman.’”

“No, I can’t,” Jackson said. “Not in this context. I’m not a biologist.”

I noted that with the Supreme Court leak of the draft decision exhibiting that Roe v. Wade was likely to be overturned at the federal level and sent back to the states for policy decisions, suddenly the left decided that “women” could lose their “right” to have an abortion.

Note the use of the word “women.” Not “birthing people,” or “breeders,” as some sneer derogatorily. I also noted Supreme Court protestors’ pre-printed signs which said “A woman’s right to choose…”

I concluded that just maybe, Mother’s Day 2022, 108 years after the first one, we all can acknowledge that while we may be celebrating humans who can give birth, we can be thankful for mothers, because we know exactly what a woman is.

“My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.” ~ Erma Bombeck

Bombeck, who wrote the hilarious “If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?” also wrote the beautiful, touching story, “When God Created Mothers.” Enjoy, this Mother’s Day 2023.

When God Created Mothers

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of “overtime” when the angel appeared and said. “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.”

And God said, “Have you read the specs on this order?” She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts…all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands.”

The angel shook her head slowly and said. “Six pairs of hands…. no way.”

It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” God remarked, “it’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”

That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel. God nodded.

One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, ‘What are you kids doing in there?’ when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say. ‘I understand and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.”

God,” said the angel touching his sleeve gently, “Get some rest tomorrow….”

I can’t,” said God, “I’m so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick…can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger…and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower.”

The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. “It’s too soft,” she sighed.

But tough!” said God excitedly. “You can imagine what this mother can do or endure.”

Can it think?”

Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise,” said the Creator.

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek.

There’s a leak,” she pronounced. “I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model.”

It’s not a leak,” said the Lord, “It’s a tear.”

What’s it for?”

It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride.”

You are a genius, ” said the angel.

Somberly, God said, “I didn’t put it there.”

Being a mother is the best, most important job in the world.

Happy Mother’s Day.

“Encourage independence in your children by regularly losing them in the supermarket.” ~ Erma Bombeck

Forever, Erma: Best-Loved Writing From America’s Favorite Humorist. (Photo: amazon.com)
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4 thoughts on “Mother’s Day 2023: Erma Bombeck Wasn’t a ‘Birthing Person”

  1. I loved her too Katy.
    I printed out that very writing, “When God Created Mothers”, to give to new moms at baby showers.
    I love it each and every time I read it, it brings tears to my eyes. I must be a masochist, but I think that goes with the territory🤣
    Thank you for sharing it. I hope you have a wonderful, blessed day!
    Proverbs 31:28-
    Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    Her husband also, and he praises her:

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