Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Mama’s Turn

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When Mister Sun tells her it's time to get up,
she gets dressed in her unicorn shirt and pink pants
and makes her way to my room

Her insistent tap tap tap on my arm
is a gentle yet unwelcome alarm,
yanking me from Morpheus' embrace
and the blessed anaesthesia of sleep

It's your turn to make my toast
and put on Netflix, she says,
her eyes daring me to deny
my motherly duties

Her voice carries a hint of petulance,
a whiff of accusation,
but she is also desperate to see me up and about,
out of this bed that often swallows me whole

Struggling with the remote control
and slathering too much butter on her bread,
I hobble from the kitchen to her tiny table in the living room,
trying to shake off my Zopiclone hangover
and keep the insidious aches at bay—
and off my face

My therapist calls it compassion fatigue
and says my five year old often withholds hugs
and gives me a hard time because
she is scared about whether I will always
be there for her

I digest this along with my prescription painkillers
and busy myself rounding up her coat, snow pants,
hat, mitts and neck warmer

Please don't let me pass this down to her

I braid bits of love into the fine strands of her hair
before she goes to school,
sneaking an extra treat into her
Paw Patrol lunch box
along with a yellow post-it note
with smiling stick people
before waving goodbye
and going back to bed


Tara Mandarano is a writer, editor, and copyeditor based in Canada. She balances life with a spirited five-year-old by consistently reading memoirs and psychological thrillers past her bedtime. Her work has also been published on The Sunlight Press, Dying Dahlia Review, Canadian Living, The Huffington Post, Mogul, Mothers Always Write, Thought Catalog, and Mamalode. Please visit taramandarano.com to see more of her writing or follow her on Instagram and Twitter @taramandarano.  Website or blog: www.taramandarano.com


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Gorgeous and haunting. I worry these things too, and I wonder when women's health will be treated more seriously--as Jennifer Brea says, "Our immune systems are as much a battleground for equality as the rest of our bodies."
Thank you Alizabeth! I'm glad the poem resonated with you.