Sorry About That, Mom

Posted May 9, 2013 by Ellen Hunter Gans in Life After Five

This Mother’s Day, I have a story for you. It has an apology, and a big twist. So stay tuned.

I’m a freelance writer.

When I was growing up, my mother was also a freelance writer.

She attempted the impossible: being a full-time stay-at-home-mom AND a full-time work-from-home writer. Looking back, I am in awe of how she balanced those two roles. Especially since I didn’t make it easy for her.

I have distinct memories of being about five years old, deliberately waiting until she appeared to be very busy with work, and choosing that specific moment to demand attention. This was not a rare incident, and it was not entirely limited to the age of five.

Not only did I fail to understand what she was trying to do, but I actively thwarted it and vocally resented it.

My mother visited me in Los Angeles when I was there for graduate school several years ago, and we randomly decided to knock on the door of one of her clients from that era. They hadn’t seen each other since the late 1980s.

The client felt compelled to apologize to me because she recalled how much I deeply (and, apparently, loudly) hated her, simply for providing my mother with employment.

I’m cringing at the memory. I’m cringing at all of it.

I know, I know — I was just a kid, and generally a good one (I was a straight-A goody-two-shoes who was thoughtful enough to reserve my dramatic narcissism for my parents and brother), but I can’t fathom putting up with a bratty little snot factory while I try to meet deadlines.

Here’s the twist: I’m pregnant.

I’ve spent a long time making a name for myself as baby-averse (probably in no small part due to my recollection of my own obnoxious behavior). See my previous post on this topic for context. For personal reasons that fall outside the scope of this column, my husband and I did a “180” and decided to have a family of our own.

I’m due in October. I’m struggling with when to tell prospective clients and how I’m going to handle constructing my own maternity leave.

I completely respect and admire full-time stay-at-home-moms, but for me, the best choice is to keep my job. I love my job. And I already love this baby.

Even though I work from home, I’m looking into childcare. I don’t know yet if we can justify it financially, but I do know that I am not as patient as my mother. I’d like to think that I could simultaneously be an awesome mom and and awesome writer like she was, but I think I might end up failing at both. Especially if this kid is anything like me.

So this is my overdue and woefully insufficient apology to my wonderful, patient, talented, sweet, ambitious, loving mother.

I’m sorry for 1987 – 1990. And probably a decent chunk on either side of that. And I should probably add 1994-1998, but I’ll blame that phase on general pre-teen/early-teen angst.

Mom, I hope my kid is better at showing patience and gratitude than I was. And if he or she is not, you reserve every right to [secretly] enjoy the karmic retribution. Hughuglovelove, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.

About the Author

Ellen Hunter Gans

Ellen Hunter Gans is a freelance writer and communications strategist. She's also a marathon runner, an Ironman triathlete, a wildly untalented cross-country skier, a newly minted Crossfit junkie, a yoga devotee, a wannabe culinary genius, a voracious reader, a grammar snob, a world traveler, an outdoorswoman, an oenophile, a mediocre gardener, and a secret fan of awful television. Her blog is at, and her business website is at