Bruuuuuuuce! or A Parenting Failure of Epic Proportions

By Jane McGovern

To put my latest parenting failure into context, you need to understand that I grew up on the Jersey Shore not far from Asbury Park where Bruce was a superstar years before ‘Born in the USA’ hit the racks at Tower Records. My first introduction to Bruce was hearing my older brothers blasting ‘Born to Run’ from their bedroom. In high school, every party at some point ended up with Bruce on the turntable and 20 – 30 drunken teens singing along to our favorite songs at the top of our lungs. I would even bring my Bruce Springsteen Anthology Piano Book with me to parties (yes, I am embarrassed to admit this) and pull it out when we had all thrown back enough beers to make standing around the piano while I drunkenly played ‘Jungle Land’ or ‘Backstreets’ seem like a good idea. To top it all off, (here comes my only claim to fame) in the summer of ’82 I waited on Bruce at Mrs. Jay’s Beer Garden, a long-gone biker bar next to the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. His music runs around my brain as a multi-sensory symphony. When he sings about Madam Marie, or the Casino, or the Boardwalk, I can see it, hear it, smell it. Heck, I can even taste it! The Boss is in my DNA.

So perhaps you can understand my excitement when we were able to get four excellent tickets for Bruce’s concert at Gillette Stadium in September. My husband and I went with another couple. I would handle the tailgate food, they would handle the booze. We sat in concert traffic, navigated the maze of traffic cones, the aggravated police officers and the crowds of people walking everywhere to arrive at our favorite parking lot. We set up the tailgate. We sat down to eat. We cracked open a cold one. At that very moment, my cell phone lit up, flashing Franklin, MA on it’s cracked screen. Franklin, MA, home of Dean College where our son is a senior, our youngest child who has epilepsy. Shit! I instantly knew… he had another seizure.

What’s a mom who loves her child dearly to do? What’s a mom who lives with the fear that a seizure will strike when her son is driving, or walking down the stairs, or doing anything that is no longer safe while an electrical tsunami takes hold of his brain and washes over his violently shaking body? What’s a Jersey girl to do? This Jersey girl chose Bruce over her son.

As expected, the voice on the phone told me that my son was fine, he had a seizure in the cafeteria and was on the way by ambulance to a nearby hospital with a friend. He had possibly hurt his arm and was a bit bruised, but otherwise fine. “Ok, ummmmmmm, so here’s the thing,” I stammered. “I’m in a crowded parking lot at the Bruce Springsteen concert. We’re about to walk in.” Silence. Nervous cough. “Ok, no problem,” she finally responded. “Campus Safety can pick him up from the hospital to bring him back to school.” Now, before you judge me a monster, my son is 22 and his seizures are usually under control with medication. A trip to the hospital is only necessary if there is an injury. He was ok, and they just wanted to verify that. Drumroll please…. let the rationalizations begin!

My thought process went something like this…. we’re blocked in tight, we are with another couple and I don’t want to ruin their night, he is fine, we texted with him and spoke with him on the phone, we spoke with his friend, we would call his neurologist at 9 a.m. sharp, and after all, BRUUUUUCE! Mother of the Year I was not. But that is not the true epic fail. That moment came the next day.

After a four hour concert (yes, it was excellent) and a long drive home, we slept only a few hours. I consumed a magnum of coffee and was struggling through my morning. I was with a friend around 11 a.m., recounting the special joy that only comes with a marathon Bruce concert, when she innocently asked me how my son was doing at school. It hit me like a wall. Whoooosh! It all came rushing back. Seizure… doctor… 9 a.m. phone call. I had completely and utterly forgotten that my child, my precious child, had experienced a major neurological event. Never mind that he is 22 and not a child. Like his two siblings, he is and always will be my precious child. Yes, he was lucky to be relatively unharmed, and yet it had entirely slipped my mind. EN-TIRE-LY. I should have called the doctor two hours ago! I should have followed up with Dean College. I should have called my son to see how he was feeling. The reality of my failure made me shudder. I wanted to lay down and cry. I wanted to crawl back into bed and pull the blankets over my head. But that’s not what we moms do. We don’t have the luxury of self- indulgence. I picked up the phone and called the neurologist. I called the hospital and spoke with the emergency room staff. I called Dean College. I called my son and conducted an investigation. I pieced it together and made a plan. I moved forward. Because that is what we moms do. We may fail, we may have an epic fail, but we pick ourselves up, make sense of it, try to make it right, and move on. But still… BRUUUUUUCE!


MOM Cast Members Q&A #2


(Note about the photo:  All Moms have “that look” they give their kids that means “stop it… right now” … apparently… this is my “look” This photo was captured, last year, by my girls after they asked me  -for the 3rd time- to take them to The Derby Street Chipotle at noon on Black Friday.)

What, if anything, is funny about motherhood to you?

I find it funny when I truly see my quirks in my own kids, it’s even funnier when I truly see my mother’s quirks in myself. 

What’s your favorite curse word as a mother?

Although it’s not considered a King Curse Word “friggin” has been my favorite to bring immediate attention to the severity of what I’m trying to say. It’s not bad enough to get me thrown out of a meeting, but strong enough to capture most audiences. I’ve said it in front of my kids … when it had to be said.. so many times I can’t count.

 Share three words that describe you as a mother.




What’s a recent Bad Mom moment?

I recently had filled out a 2 sided permission slip using a royal blue sharpie. It bled through making the words almost illegible, let alone it looked like I may have written it using my feet. I was in a rush…. ask me if I cared. It got there on time didn’t it?

Erica McDermott is a cast member in ‘The Best of The MOMologues‘ staged reading performance at Company Theatre on Friday, February 10 at 8:00 pm, to benefit the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.


Spotlight on MOM cast members – The Q&A that Tells It Like It Is


What, if anything, is funny about motherhood to you?

How you think that when your kids are babies that they are hard. Then they get older and get way harder and you start having to think about how old you were when you got your first kiss or when you first drank alcohol or when you got your period. And you know you are more fucked than you have ever been before. Shit just got real.

Share three words that describe you as a mother.

Wicked fucking cool

What’s your favorite curse word as a mother? How many times have you uttered it in front of your children?

Shit. A fucking shitload.

In a few sentences, what’s a recent Bad Mom moment?

When I come home wasted and try to act like I’m not while I’m nuking nachos in the microwave. Meanwhile my daughter is telling me I’m drunk and I’m telling her not to speak to me that way (while hiccuping and maybe with some cheese on my chin)

Laura Pizzuti will be onstage as part of ‘The Best of The MOMologues‘ cast at Company Theatre, Norwell, MA on Friday, February 10 at 8:00 pm.

Halloween Confessions


by Erica McDermott

I already went to confession and have been forgiven for this.

Not really, but it makes me sound like a better person from the start. If I had gone, my sin confessed would be “I manipulated my children into choosing the Halloween costumes I liked best.”

Am I a horrible person for this? Hell NO. I’m not a complete lunatic… they had options, I was raised in America after all. ‘Freedom to Choose’ .. .from my favorites.

Maisy and Katie are my daughters, Maisy is one year older than Katie. They are very close and most days they get along well. When they were younger, they liked to dress alike. They never liked to match exactly, but they liked to coordinate. They’d tell me they chose this way of dressing so they could find each other quickly in a room. How sweet, right?

So, naturally when Halloween time came around I’d present them with Coordinating Halloween Costume options. It kind of went like this: “Hey Girls!!! Look at these AMAZING Cowgirl Costumes I found on Amazon. Aren’t they super cute? I think you two would be the prettiest cowgirls on this side of the Mississippi! If you LOVE them Mum will buy them right now for you!! Do you LOVE them? You do? OK!” – ‘click’ and it was that easy.  They said they loved the costume, it was my first choice, and I bought it, EASY. We were all happy!

For the most part, this method worked out beautifully when they were younger We have gorgeous photos of The Angel & The Devil, Cowgirls, Disney Princesses, Harry Potter Characters and  The Gals from GREASE. However, one year all hell broke loose.

Both girls were in pre-school. We had watched the entire Muppet Show series and I thought it would be adorable if they dressed up as Kermit and Miss Piggy for Halloween. I mentioned this idea to the girls and they were out-of-their minds excited about it. They screamed “YES” and proceeded to gallop around our kitchen singing the show’s theme song!

I was so pumped about this specific Halloween. It really is one of my favorite days, and I’m a huge fan of the Muppets. (I hope I didn’t just hear you roll your eyes) Finding little Muppet costumes was not going to be easy. Luckily, I found them. I’d never seen costumes like these before. Each was a head-to-toe one piece outfit that zipped up the back, with a hood that had a stuffed animal Kermit head & Miss Piggy head sewn onto the top of them.  Although they were not what I envisioned, I bought them anyway (because dammit my kids are going as Muppets this year). Impulsive Mom much? You bet!

The costumes arrived the day before we needed them. I threw them into a closet and hoped to God they’d fit the next day. What happened next? The “Shit Hit The Fan” That’s what happened.

The Halloween Party was at noon, and we are in a massive rush to get ready. I rip open the packages and toss the Larger Miss Piggy Costume on Maisy. She is delighted, it even has a purple dress, sequin gloves and a bobble necklace attached. I turn to Katie to get her ready and she is PISSED! She is red, sweaty and speechless. It became apparent that they both thought they were going to be Miss Piggy. We never talked about who was going to dress up as who!! HUGE MISTAKE!!

We were already late for the party. So, I wrangled Katie into that frog costume… imagine what it would be like to catch a greased piglet with your bare hands.  That how it went down. Mind you … I was trying my absolute best not to laugh right in their faces. Although this was stressful and upsetting – I found the comedy in all of it. Katie? Not so much. Maisy? She just kept her mouth shut in fear that I’d quickly disrobe her and stick her in the Frog costume.

Finally, after overly gushing about how there has never been a cuter Kermit The Frog in the world – Katie agreed to leave the house. Oh don’t get me wrong, she was still completely and utterly pissed, but we were off to the party.

What made this situation even funnier – is that half of Kermit stuffed animal head on the hood was too heavy to stay on top. As Katie walked around the party with a sour puss on her face, the Kermit head would continuously fall to one side. The character was completely unrecognizable, she looked more like Godzilla or a Dragon. You can’t make this shit up.

The girls are teenagers now and still talk about this specific Halloween like it was yesterday. Me? I stay out of the costume decisions now (said the liar).  I guess I’ll just have to go to confession.







Kicking Ass


By Jane McGovern

The first time it happened I was watching the Vancouver Winter Olympics. It was one of those cold, wintry days when I had a list of things I should be doing but somehow ended up yet again on the couch in a stupor of mindless television. I had made a to-do list that morning and that effort was enough for a self-congratulatory date with the couch. One hour turned into two. Two morphed into three. Fingers crossed that my husband doesn’t call to check up on me… I’d have to make up some meaningful activity to account for the time. To be fair, I was exhausted from trying to go back to work as a Special Education Paraprofessional too soon. I had barely recovered from the chemo, bilateral mastectomy and radiation. I was still receiving Herceptin and was looking forward to a hysterectomy and reconstructive surgery. The mind was willing, but the body was so not prepared. My eagerness to get back to my “normal” life resulted in my utter and total exhaustion.

I was enjoying the Olympics and indulging in my recurring fantasy that someday I could be an Olympic athlete. I was going to learn how to compete in Curling. It looked easy enough. All you had to do was sweep, and I’m pretty good at that. I wanted to march in the opening ceremonies, hang out with the other athletes in the Olympic village, and wear patriotic uniforms designed by Ralph Lauren. Today’s event was Downhill Skiing. I watched in awe as Lindsey Vonn flew down the mountain, careening, careering, catapulting herself to Gold. As she crossed the finish line, she spun out and collapsed, wracked by heaving sobs.

I immediately started sobbing. Why? What the hell? Why would I be crying when clearly Curling is my event. It took me a few minutes to recognize it. I had crossed my own finish line the summer before. It wasn’t on a mountain or even a local charity run. It was in the oncology suite. Instead of strapping on skis, I was hooked up to a bag of poison. I was receiving the final of 8 dose-dense chemo treatments. It was an all day affair and I was prepared with the usual snacks, entertaining videos, and trashy magazines. My oldest child was there to keep me busy and drive me home.

What I was unprepared for was the wall of emotion that hit me after the nurse removed the line from my port and said congratulations, go home. I took two steps toward the door and was instantly doubled-over with heaving, wracking sobs. I had to lean on my son for support. I had done it. I had finished the chemo, kind of, the hardest stuff anyway. The stuff that had me in a constant state of nausea and pain… the kind of pain that has you watching the clock, counting down to when you can take your next pain pill so that you could drift off into a haze of nothingness.

I had held it together while in the thick of the most trying moments, and now I was done, kind of. Although I still had a lot ahead of me, I had conquered what was in my mind the most challenging piece of my cancer treatment pie, chemotherapy. The sobs were relief, pouring out of my eyeballs, relief so huge that I couldn’t wrap words around it. I instantly recognized that in Lyndsey Vonn. She had worked so hard for her Gold, and she was done. She did it. She conquered it. She kicked that mountain’s ass.

It happened again this summer… different Olympics, different city, different athlete. My husband flipped on the TV and we were lucky enough to witness Gwen Jorgensen crush her competitors in the Women’s Triathlon in Rio. She was a gazelle, stretching her long legs toward victory. She crossed the finish line and was immediately doubled over with sobs… heaving, gut wrenching sobs. My waterworks turned on again. I get it Gwen, I thought, I am with you. We both crossed a finish line. My body has healed, more or less. I don’t think about cancer so much any more. My life is back to “normal.” But I still have the heart and soul of an Olympic athlete. I kicked cancer’s ass.

I’m Still Relevant


By Stefanie Cloutier

As my kids have gotten older, I have become less critical to their everyday survival. I expected this to happen. What I didn’t expect was to become invisible. They don’t seem able to see me wiping up crumbs right in front of them, or unloading the dishwasher. I can in fact go whole days without hearing a word exchanged between us unless I initiate it. For all intents and purposes, I am a non-person, not worthy of notice.

Until I start to walk toward the door with an overnight bag on my shoulder. Then suddenly it’s the Spanish Inquisition.

“You’re leaving?? Where??”

“How long will you be gone?”

“Is there ice cream in the freezer?” This last from the teen boy who still believes that fairies come in at night and clean up his ice cream detritus.

(Side note: if you haven’t seen this video about the magic laundry basket, go right now and watch it. I’ll wait.)

Mind you, these are children in college and high school. They have licenses, jobs, and a calendar full of social activities. My leaving should have little to no impact on their lives, especially since my husband is a far better cook than I am. I’m usually only going for a night or two, but they behave as if I’m moving out of state.

And it’s especially fascinating given that all they think it’s necessary to tell me is that they’re going “out,” “with friends,” and will return “by curfew.” If I find out anything, it’s usually by accident.

So recently, while on my way out to run an errand, I casually asked my son what his plans were for the day. I was expecting him to say, “nothing,” so was surprised when he said, “I’m thinking of going swimming with some friends.”

I stopped in my tracks. This is not something he usually does, so it merited further inquiry. I knew I had only about three questions before getting The Glare, so I stuck with the basics: who was he going with, where was he swimming, and when would he be back. He answered: this afternoon, with a girl he’d dated a few times, and at a river I’d never heard of. “We’re jumping off a bridge,” he added.

Now he absolutely had my attention. “How high a bridge?” I asked. “Thirty feet?” he said, clearly unsure, then seeing the look of horror on my face, amended his answer. “Ten feet? Five?”

The point, I explained, wasn’t to give me an answer designed to make me feel better. The point was for me to know the ACTUAL height so I could know just how freaked out I needed to be.

I had exceeded my questioning capacity, and he was exasperated. “Why are you so uptight?” he fumed. To which I replied, “It’s called parenting.”

Fortunately, in these days of Google, whatever info my children are hesitant to give up can easily be found with a few keystrokes. In a matter of minutes I discovered the whereabouts of the bridge, called the local police department, and asked exactly how high this bridge was, if this was a known activity, and if the river was deep enough to not cripple my kid for life.

My son was incredulous. I was triumphant.

Satisfied with their answers, I gave him the car keys and permission to go. And now he knows that not only am I NOT invisible, I’m still a force to be reckoned with.

The Green Light at the End of the Tunnel

By Jane McGovern

I can see the headlines now: “Youngest Child Leaves for Senior Year of College; Callous Mom Stays Home.” That would be me. I am the callous mother who is over the college drop-off. Even now I am running through various scenarios of how I can remain home from this momentous occasion in my parenting life. Headache? Too obvious. No room in the car? Not likely. Too busy? Not valid. Maybe I will “accidentally” twist my ankle and have to stay home and elevate. You know, ICE. I think it stands for Ice cream, Couch and Eat as much as you want while watching Netflix. You would think that dropping my third and youngest child off would garner more excitement on my end. On paper, I’m overjoyed. I just don’t want to be bothered with the physical reality of lugging his tired, worn college dorm room accoutrements up the stairs and setting it up yet again. I gave birth to this child… isn’t that enough?

The excitement on my end will come later in the year. No, not graduation, although that will be a big day. The moment my husband and I have been anticipating for 15 years is within sight… the Final Tuition Payment. Just thinking about it makes me giddy! Our first two children attended private high schools, so the tuition payments started years ago. The high school years were a financial struggle, but manageable. Compared to the college years, they were as false labor is to transition and the big push. The college years have been a crushing burden… one that we happily bore, yet still a burden.

But now the end is in sight. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is a very bright light and it may be green and not white, and it is calling me by name. It is enticing me with all kinds of fun things that this newly available cash can now provide. A trip to Ireland? Why I’d love to! How about an adorable Mini-Cooper convertible? I’ve always wanted one! Would you like to rent a ski-house for the season? Awesome idea! Ahhhhh, the options are endless.

I try to push the reality of launching my youngest, most vulnerable child into the cold, dark world to the back of my mind. Will he find a job that fulfills him? Will he be able to support himself? Will he take care of himself? Did I teach him how to clean the bathroom? A mom’s life means worrying, no matter the age of the child. So for now, I will focus on the tangible, feel good reality of more Benjamins in our bank account. Ireland, here I come!



About Us

The MOMologues Series was launched in 2002 with when our original comedy about motherhood was produced in Boston for a three-week sold out run.

Fourteen years later, and three more plays later, our kids have grown and flown, our show has spread its own wings and has been produced in 15 states and 5 countries, and donations have been raised through many benefits that support moms and children.

For more on our shows, check out our website at,  find us on Facebook ( and Twitter @TheMOMologues.

Pictured:  The cast of the most recent ‘Best of The MOMologues‘ benefit performance:  Erica McDermott, Paula Markowcz, Stefanie Cloutier and Sue Brady (in front).

Photo by Diane Anton Photography.

First blog post

The Seismic Shift by Lisa Rafferty

There’s really no way to prepare for the seismic shift that is your youngest child going off to college. No amount of mental preparation, pre-grieving or advice from friends is going to fully serve to alleviate the visceral, monumental change that occurs after 21 years of putting other human beings above all else in your life.

There are certain common patterns that form a natural flow to the shape of our lives. High school for four years, and college too – if all goes well. A couple of years, or even months, in that first post-grad job. Your twenties are about adjusting to new realities, new friendships, new romance, new careers.

For many of us, the next seismic shift occurs on, about or after a wedding day. But that is a time filled with joy and possibility, and not, with any luck, a leap into the unknown.

Your first child comes along and like every cliché you ever heard, nothing is ever the same. Then a second and a third and suddenly, or so it seems, your world is forever filled with more demands on your time that you ever thought possible.

There is nothing quite like the emotional, physical and logistical tidal wave that comes from raising children, no matter how many there are. And so it goes for the longest stretch of anything you have ever done with such intensity and focus. More than two decades.

Your oldest goes off, and you adjust as parents, and fight the void, and learn to let go. And maybe it’s better with the second, except not really, because it doesn’t really matter how many times you do it, it’s still a rending of your heart. But you soldier on, because that’s what we do. What we must do – let them go. Fill out our own lives. Then the moment arrives – the last one getting ready to leave. Empty nest, here we come.

Of course, the lure of freedom – true, boundless freedom – can soften the ache, and offer a vision for what lies ahead. So you focus on that, and all the possibilities for travel, and fun, and adventure. Just like retirement, except not really because all your money is going to the cause of higher education, and so plans and spending on yourselves take that familiar second place in line. How it is was meant to be and thank goodness for financial planning.

So, as the ground quakes, and the chasm opens, here’s hoping that the new chapter will be written in a way that has come before. With all the ebb and flow that is our lives, and secure in the knowledge that this next seismic shift is all part of that natural state, and not the 7.1 Richter scale event that you feel coming.