MOS: Mom’s Out Syndrome
Mom’s Out Syndrome or MOS (Much like the green fungus that grows in the shade, deprived of sunlight. You can dissect the metaphor.) is a phenomenon that happens in families when a mom is out of commission due to illness, injury, mental collapse, dismemberment, death of a loved one, or now elderly, teen heartthrob from 1980-1989, for 4 or more days.
On Monday, January 4th, 2021, I woke up with a catch in my neck.
Saturday, April 11th, 2021, I woke at 2:51 am and wandered through my dark home in search of a cracker and some tea. As I waited for the water to boil, I bumped around a kitchen that I used to call mine. This is when I had the thought… Oh no! We have MOS.
In the unusual silence of my normally rowdy home, I stared mindlessly at our family calendar. I spoke into the stillness. “Is it April? I am pretty sure it is April. Although I will have to check some records, I think I just lost 13 weeks of my life due to a sleep-related injury.”
Ask to sum up 2021 so far?
I have no recollection at this time.
It is a foggy mess of doctor’s appointments, rehab, scans, X-Rays, prescriptions, agony, defeat, Netflix documentaries, and Ensure shakes. There are notes and achievements from the boys’ school on the fridge I do not recognize. If I am to be honest, I don’t recognize the fridge. Did Justin buy a new fridge? I will have to check some records, but I am pretty sure, this is not the fridge we had when I went to bed on January 2nd.
And that is when I was sure we had MOS.
Mom’s Out Syndrome is more complex than other syndromes you may have experienced.
MOS is immediately followed by a season of “remission” at which time the family recalibrates her return into the family’s operating symptom. This is usually when the mother develops a flare-up of Mom Guilt or MG.
Mom Guilt is always present. A mother develops MG when she is handed a child to love and nurture. Said child needn’t be of blood relation for the mother to perform perfected acts of genuine love, mercy, compassion, crust cutting, and nighttime bed tucking. Mom Guilt lies dormant and flares during parent-teacher meetings, court hearings, press conferences, and at all late arrivals to assemblies, playgroups, school plays, award ceremonies, dance recitals, and sporting events.
It is most readily observed in all incidents where a heavenly assigned human’s life meets with lack and only the mother can be blamed.
These incidents include but are not limited to dirty fingernails, forgotten projects, stains on shirts, needs a haircut, or anything else that can be perceived as “Mom’s Fault” or MF, which is everything.
Yes, everything is mom’s fault. So MOS will have repercussions for years to come.
I can nearly see us in a counseling session now, the “little” boys lamenting their complaints.
Counselor: Charlie and Sam when did you first feel the need to kill?
Charlie: For me, it was that time I needed a Herbert Hoover costume for the Vocational Heros Through History Play at school. My dad made me one and everyone thought I was Thomas Edison. I was humiliated.
Sam: Yeah, that’s about the time I built the meth lab in the garage and killed my first puppy. It was right around the time mom slept weird on her neck and then disappeared for three months.
Counselor: Let me see if I understand. If your mother had provided everyone with orthopedic sleep pillows and she herself had slept standing up, you would both be successful, law-abiding, thriving young adults like your older siblings?
Sam and Charlie: Yes.
Oh my gosh! Can you not see the look the counselor would cast my way as he jotted down my failures on his yellow legal pad? And yet, these are remnants of MOS, now manifested in my serial killing, drug manufacturing sons.
Mom’s Out Syndrome is a real thing.
And my husband is the best. He has not let this family down in any fashion. But it is not the same. The hardest part of my absence and Justin’s rise to power is, no matter how wonderful he is… he is in my domain. Yes, every mother has said to every father, “You don’t understand.” And they don’t. But if they get a REAL glimpse of motherhood, or worse, begin to master it, it is very offensive.
Of course, I know it is cheaper to buy off-brand goldfish at Aldi and dole them out into child-safe-BPA-spill-free-non-GMO, organic, locally sourced, biodegradable cups.
But the little pre-filled bags are a special treat. And sometimes a gal just needs to throw a couple of bags of goldfish in her purse and call it done.
It was at this point in my wanderings through a kitchen I do not recognize, that I spied pre-filled bags of goldfish, chips-a-hoy minis, AND LUNCH CHIPS neatly tucked behind two industrial-size packages of toilet paper. This can only mean a couple of things.
- Justin is grocery shopping with another pandemic in mind.
- Justin has become aware of the “Mom Value” or MV of prepackaged snacks.
Which means only one thing. Justin is becoming the mom, a definitive symptom of MOS.
And I first knew this was happening about 6 weeks into my recovery. The boys came up to the guest/hospital room, which they now call “Mom’s room,” to tell me good night. They were freshly showered and in clean pajamas. Sam said, “Look, Mom! Daddy cut my fingernails! And I am not bleedin’ even a little bit like when you cut dem!”
My second clue was when I heard a ruckus out my window and looked to see the boys in the driveway with Justin making something with the water hose, my good mixing bowl, and some items I didn’t recognize. Later when I asked Justin about it he said, “Oh! We were making some goop! I found a recipe on Pinterest. But the blogger who recommended it said it was really messy. So we did it in the driveway. I emailed her the suggestion. She is going to add it to the post and reshare the link on her socials.”
Heaven and earth.
I will interject I am not taking any heavy medications. So I am not hallucinating.
However, that is not the most blatant sign we have Mom’s Out Syndrome.
The worst indicator, how I am certain we have MOS is a clipping from a magazine from our country club publication. It is on a fridge I do not know, held by a magnet from a take-out restaurant I have never heard of. The clipping is of my very own sons, playing in the park. According to the article, “Sam and Charlie Amerine, local residents of our subdivision, sons of Justin Amerine, were out enjoying the new park facilities with their dad.”
How special for them.
Leave it to the universe to get Justin and the boys free press, with a photo op, while I watch reruns of Dateline ID and shop for the best wedge pillow for cervical recovery. It’s this one by the way.
Yes, I am officially a stranger in my own house. This is Mom’s Out Syndrome
But what MOS lacks in hospitality and her ability to cook without a recipe, she makes up for in spite.
I think I am back.
The road to recapturing my life before is too far gone. But I rise from the ashes motivated to mother my children better than their father mothers them! I will work on that battle cry, needs some tweaking.
This is the final stage and symptom of Mom’s Out Syndrome.
The animalistic, maternal struggle is to crawl out of the depths of anguish and the folly of sleeping wrong and take back the territory I call sacred ground. Similar to the vice-like cramping of childbirth, MOS meets with an explosion of new life.
Face it, I will be darned if I will lie here incapacitated while someone else buys EXTRA FLAVOR BLAST Cool Ranch Doritos and gets their picture, while caught parenting exceptionally, in a magazine. And I do not care if it makes more sense for the wooden spoons to go in the drawer directly next to the stove. That is not where I put them when we moved in.
This brings me here, with two empty pre-filled cracker-snack bags to my right and my computer wondering where I have been.
Now, at 5 am, I am finishing up a blog post on a syndrome that has long needed to be addressed. I pledge to make known the crisis moms go through on the other side of COVID, the flu, sleeping wrong, and the sudden and untimely death of Corey Haim.
MOS has inspired me, I have big plans. I am looking up some recipes on Pinterest for ULTIMATE slime with no mess and a grocery list that includes more toilet paper, (yes, we have plenty, it is the principle of the extra toilet paper,) TRIPLE stuff Oreos and stuff to make lasagna.
No recipe required.
The bottom line is, sometimes moms get down. Physically we might break. But we will not stay down and you will not rearrange the utensils.
Or steal our limelight.
No, of all the side effects of motherhood, MOS is not the worst. But it is a real thing. And by no means is parenting a competition. But there can only be one mom.
And when she gets back up and they forget “what it’s like,” have your camera ready… Jami Amerine is taking her sons to the park.
Right after she fixes her hair and makeup.
May your floors be sticky and your pillow be orthopedic.
Current State of Marriage during MOS
Check out my latest short story podcast, A Remarkable Thought
And! Have you participated in my new FREE parenting WEBINAR? In it, my friend and partner, Katie M. Reid, divulge the ONE WORD you simply must add to your child’s vocabulary! Find it here!
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Here is a list of must-haves for neck pain, injury, and recovery and that has helped us during my bout of Mom’s Out Syndrome
I have been doing a vibration plate to help with mobility, weight maintenance/loss, and blood pressure, pain, circulation, and recovery. Prior to this injury,I used a vibration machine at my doctor before, but honestly was suspect of the science. I read a great article here about it. And I have to say, after 8 weeks, I am addicted.
I used my small hand weights and isometric exercises while I watch murder reality shows… er… read my bible.
And both my young sons have been doing it for 10 minutes a day while they watch television, who has Mom’s Out Syndrome now?
I can’t say enough about how much this has helped me. It makes me feel like I had a “real” workout and I am surprised to see so much definition in my legs and stomach, even after being laid up for so long! The plate I choose has blue tooth radio and health app, for my iPhone. It also comes with resistance bands and a remote… and it is pink. So there is that. The link below is the one I got.
Second, in my latest finds is this nifty water jug. At one of my appointments, my doctor said she felt like I was dehydrated. I quickly realized that I wasn’t getting much food or water because I was sleeping so much. This water bottle allows me to know how much I am getting without thinking too much. I also am trying to eat a couple of pieces of fruit for a snack to saturate my healing tissues with hydration. You can find the water bottle in the link below.
Maybe this should have been number one… this is THE BEST INVENTION EVER.
A tens unit is a small device with sticky adhesive pads (I am allergic to most medical tape and I haven’t had any trouble with these). The device puts out electrical pulses to activate muscles. I was having terrible muscle spasms in the beginning. Used properly, a tens unit can alleviate pain for hours and provides relief and comfort while healing. This is the one we ended up purchasing after renting from my doctor for a couple of weeks.
Part of my therapy has been muscle percussion.
This muscle percussion tool is similar to the one that they use at my therapist’s office. We got one for home (at the time I am writing this Amazon has a coupon on this at checkout.) It is legit wonderful for muscle and tissue therapy.
During Mom’s Out Syndrome here are a few more things I can’t live without…
Finally, grab my books on Amazon while you’re at it!!!