Hear Me Roar

One fine spring day in Oneonta, New York, my college friend Chris and I bolted out of her car in a bank parking lot while belting out the words to Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman.” Newspaper editors, serious students and overall ambitious young women, we were giddy with possibilities – until we came face to face with Clifford Craven, our school principal. We clammed up. We uttered “Hello, Dr. Craven.” We scurried into the building and then, of course, broke into giggles.

A happy, funny memory now, gilded with the halo of a 34-year friendship – and somehow relevant to my topic at hand: Hear Me Roar.

I’m on this kick because my friend Rebecca, as mentioned in my last blog, “Picky, Picky,” sent her family a curt e-mail.

Dear Family:

I am about  to start a healthy lifestyle. I want to let all 3 of you know I need (after many years) some time for myself daily. I will be taking time to eat right, exercise and improve my unhealthy lifestyle.

I will NOT be responsible for all the household mess and constant cleaning, organizing, scheduling, repairing etc any more. You need to do your part and take care of your things .

A healthy Mom is a happy Mom. Keep this in mind and your life will not be in jeopardy. Ha.

Take care of your lives responsibly.



As Mother’s Day rolls around, I find Rebecca’s letter not just inspiring, but invigorating. Before work this morning, I dragged a 14-year-old out of bed (at 8:15!), picked up a dirty pizza slicer off the new rug, put away the cutting boards and pans in the dishwasher that the others would merely place on the counter, walked dirty dishtowels to the hamper because surely no one else would touch them, and packed a lunch that did not need a mother’s touch.


I set myself up for these tasks, I know. I could either fight to the death to have others do them, or I could let them go. I can choose to be angry or opt to feel I’m doing them because it’s my choice to do them. Mostly, I fell into these routines because, honestly, when the kids were little I enjoyed the nurturing parts of housework such as folding baby laundry and filling sippy cups with milk. Somehow – and I’m not alone here – that evolved into becoming the family doormat.


Most of the time, like most mothers I know, I just do this rote work around the house without thinking much about it. Then, like most mothers I know, I occasionally find myself screaming, “Get over here right now and pick this fork up off the floor! And you! Yes you! Grab every one of those soda cans and march them over to the recycle bin? And you? You! Stick that cutting board in this cabinet. No this one! Here! HERE! NOW!”


Hear me roar. See the mood pass. Watch me pick up the same-old routine.


I wonder if Rebecca had better luck sticking to her guns. I hope her roar had stick-to-it-iveness behind it. If so, I’m signing up for lessons.