Shakespeare had one, you know. A mom. And I bet she was amazing.
I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. This blog actually has nothing to do with Shakespeare. Well, I guess it does in the sense that Shakespeare wrote about the human condition, and this blog is most definitely about the human condition. Specifically the condition of my three kids under three and the often sub-par, barely-hanging-in-there condition of my husband and me. This initial post will have more references to Shakespeare than any other posts I write. Promise. The reason I’m calling it Shakespeare’s Mom is because recently I was wondering about Shakespeare’s mother. Now, I know very little about her real life. Like, basically nothing. So I came up with a fantasy Shakespeare’s Mom. Don’t ask where these ideas come from. I don’t really have time to form many coherent thoughts, so I think my mind often slips into a semi-conscious state while I’m washing down highchair trays or cleaning dog poop off the dining room floor. At first I was frustrated by the turn my intellect was taking after I had kids, but now I just go with it. Bring it on, weirdo fantasies about shadowy historical figures. Bring it on. Anyway, I like to imagine that Shakespeare’s mom and I would have a lot in common on some basic, mothering level. I’ve been to the house where Shakespeare was born, and it’s lovely, but you know, dark and cramped.
Shakespeare had about 75 siblings (ok maybe 6 or 7) so I don’t think his mother got much time to herself. But even with all those kids, a few of whom actually died at really young ages, she managed to raise The Bard. If early childhood interactions with parents really shape us as much as all the current research says they do, then she must have done one hell of a job. And do you know anything about her? No. Could she even read and write? Hard to say. But she deserves to be thought about and thanked for her sacrifices and efforts, because without her, I don’t think little Will would have turned out to be such a great writer.
Okay, okay, I know lots of people come from rough backgrounds with no parental support and turn out to be spectacular, wise, creative adults. But this isn’t about them right now. It’s about my fantasy version of Shakespeare’s mom. She had a lot to say; I know she did. But she lived in a time without supportive husbands, pack n plays, or even indoor plumbing, let alone mommy blogs and margarita nights with her girlfriends. She never got to tell the world what it was like having the responsibility for the care and upbringing of her sizable brood.
So here I am. I’m so incredibly grateful that I get to be a mom in 2013, not 1560-something. I get to share my struggles and triumphs with other parents. I get to go to the library or the grocery store by myself once every few years. My husband cooks and changes diapers and makes up funny songs. My house is roomy and comfortable, and although it’s an “old house,” it’s about 400 years newer than the little Tudor number in Stratford-upon-Avon. Compared to Shakespeare’s mom, I have it pretty easy. Don’t get me wrong; I’m still going to whine and complain about stuff. That’s the whole point. But I’m always going to keep Shakespeare’s mom in the back of my mind. Here’s to you, sister. Happy Mother’s Day. You would fucking love margaritas.