Oh, Tina Fey, patron saint of modern conflicted motherhood, great peaches-and-cream complected hope of funny women everywhere. Your brilliant “The Mother’s Prayer for Its Daughter” has been meme-ing around the internet, amusing mothers of daughters everywhere. Also making them steel slightly every time they pass the intersection of Broadway and Houston in Soho, where Hollister is located (“For I will not have that Shit, Lord.”)
But what about the mothers of sons? They, too, need to pray for their children, lest they be lost in the musk of masculinity. Actress/writer Jamie Denbo has a daughter and a son. After reading Bossypants, she started to wonder what she might offer her son in the way of a prayer. And as a homage to Fey, she has taken a stab at a prayer for in Fey’s style:
The Mother’s Prayer for Its Son
First, God, make him gay. For we all know that the homosexuals know how to treat their mothers. But make the world nicer to gays. Because he might want to settle somewhere other than WeHo, the West Village, San Francisco or Mykonos.
But if he shall instead be lead to a life of hetero pursuits, Dear God, may he not sear in his flesh the name of a woman he thinks he will love forever. For should he permanently etch the name “Schuyler” or “Kayla” onto his skin, he will only be dedicating himself to a minimum of 18 years worth of child support payments.
Let him be handsome, but not weirdly mature. For it’s the appearance of maturity that draws the 5th grade teacher away from her lonely marriage and bodice-ripping paperbacks, not the handsomeness.
When the keg is tapped, may he remember that guys drunk on beer are gross.
And stick with weed.
Watch over him, O Lord.
Like the original, this prayer is meant to be funny. And I love the idea of translating Tina’s message to males. But where I at least mostly agreed with almost everything Tina said in her prayer for a daughter, this one isn’t quite as aligned with my own wishes for my son.
Where Tina said:
Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels.
Steer him away from forming a band, but not all the way to corporate law. Because most bands have a shelf life, and most corporate lawyers are douchey. Something where he will see his kids, and be able to help his wife enough to make her not resent him. And not have to wear a tie. And where he can still play music with his buddies a couple times a year.
Putting aside the question of whether a career in rock music is a desirable path (a debate I am highly qualified to have but not at all interested in having) it’s the childcare part of this equation that bugs me. I just think the whole “Dad helping mom” model is fundamentally flawed. Are the kids the mom’s job? In some families, sure. But is that the way we’d ideally want it? Come on people, this is a prayer. Let’s aim high. If I were writing a prayer for my son, this is what I’d ask for:
Help the world to see the value of balance. Let Corporate America see the light of flex time. Steer my son and his wife to choices that will allow them to share the burdens and joys of working at home and working away, of being with the children and being out in the world.
Ok, it’s not that funny. But wouldn’t it be nice?
If you were writing a prayer for your son, what would you ask for?
Read the rest of Jamie Denbo’s prayer here. Does it ring true for you?