Multiple Occupation Mania

Isn’t it lovely to have a group of friends who are so very talented? Here is another delightful look into Motherhood by Karen Forgette. This one appeared in the Oxford Eagle just a week or so ago. Again, my children are shown but don’t let them fool you. They are fabulous actors. (If you didn’t know that you might really think they were sometimes grumpy little monsters!)

A few weeks ago, I read a letter to Dear Abby from a man whose fiancée suffered from multiple personality disorder. The man worried he would not be able to cope with her many personalities and mood swings throughout the course of their marriage. I felt sympathy for him, especially since my own husband was unaware when he married me that I would eventually suffer from a similar disorder known as Multiple Occupation Mania, or MOM for short.

Multiple Occupation Mania is characterized by a woman’s rapidly changing perception of her profession. For example, a MOM sufferer may begin her day believing she is a time management expert. Her job is to ensure her clients are awake; fed; clothed; equipped with necessary homework, backpacks, sports equipment, permission slips, lunches, and snacks; and sent to school within a 45 minute time frame, 30 minutes on a good day. This state is characterized by the frequent utterance of such phrases as “Hurry,” “You should have told me that yesterday,” and “I thought you finished that last night.”

Occasionally during this phase, a MOM sufferer abandons her efficiency expert persona to become a search and rescuer. This search and rescue stage is easily triggered by unanticipated remarks such as “I can’t find the black leggings I need to wear for picture day” or “Who took my pre-algebra book?”.

As her day unfolds, a woman who has been diagnosed with MOM spins in and out of several occupational personas. She may perceive herself as a chauffeur. During this phase, she can be heard muttering, “If I pick child #1 up from school at 3, I can grab #2 at the church at 3:12, and #3 from Stone Park at 3:17. Then #1 goes to Scouts, #2 goes to piano, #3 goes to the dentist, and I’ll swing by the grocery for rotisserie chicken.” At other times she may believe she is a personal shopper. She will stride through the stores, list in hand, checking off socks for Matt, a birthday present for Christie, deep purple nail polish for Annie, and a dwarf camellia for the back yard. At home, she may morph into a judge, staring solemnly at her son and pronouncing, “For shoving your sister, you are sentenced to two days of extra chores.”

During the homework hour, a mathematician emerges as the MOM victim tells her daughter, “As I recall the Pythagorean theorem deals with the three sides of a right triangle, but let’s double-check that on the internet.” Next she is convinced she is a short order cook as she prepares a casserole, which her son and youngest daughter love but her oldest daughter hates; rolls, which both daughters love but which her son hates; and broccoli, which everybody hates but which is good for them. A MOM sufferer may finish the evening believing she is a personal trainer as she coaches her son’s soccer team, spots a back walkover for gymnastics practice, or leads a jaunty bike ride through the neighborhood with her brood.

Multiple Occupation Mania can be undetected for several months, even years, until one evening in a fit of overload, the MOM victim will burst into tears and shriek, “I’m only one person” or “There’s only so much of me to go around.” At this point, her spouse must intervene, as mine has on several occasions, unless, of course, he is suffering from Demand Abundance Disorder, or DAD.

(Karen Forgette is recuperating nicely at home with her husband and three kids.)

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