Thursday, June 11, 2020

Screwtape Screws With Moms: Operation COVID-19

FROM: Screwtape74@juno.com
TO: Wormwood02@juno.com
DATE: May 1, 2020, 9:37 PM
SUBJECT: READ THIS NOW!

Wormwood:

I don't believe I've had the opportunity to properly welcome you to our America Team in the Motherhood Department of the Logistics Division of Hell. Welcome! 

Perhaps you missed the memo, but prior to any fieldwork, novice demons are required to attend our "Intro to American Mothers" seminar on best practices for modern-day torment"Your Job Is To Make Everyone Happy," "Childbirth: You're Doing It Wrong," "Working Mom Guilt," "SAHM Guilt," and the catch-all classic, "You Just Aren't Good Enough."

Given the unanticipated success of your "Caretakers: Overwhelm-Vex-Isolate-Destroy" (C:OVID) Program, and the interest it's attracted from management, I've transferred all of your work to the Screwtape Drive and added my name with editing permissions to each file. (It's probably best if management believes a project of this scale came from the top of our Motherhood Department. Moving forward, you'll continue with the legwork, of course.)

Finally, to maximize C:OVID objectives in the coming weeks, review the bullet points below: 

Dismiss solidarity. 

As long as a mother believes she's abandoned in her need, she'll undoubtedly despair. Intensify her isolation with inflexible employers and clueless spouses. Even better, let them gaslight her into thinking she's the real problem. Why did she have kids at all if she couldn't single-handedly meet their every need for the next 18 years? And isn't this the life she said she wanted? Mothers, such strange creaturesso intuitive with others, so blind with themselvesever ready to self-incriminate at just the slightest suggestion of, even fabricated, failure. 

Cooking, cleaning, planning, sorting, teaching, washing, shopping, earning, hugging, bathing, feeding, driving, calling, texting, scheduling, comforting, catechizing, exercising… convince her she is solely responsible for all of it. Then stand back and watch her collapse under the weight of the world. 

Be aware, however, if a mother has a spouse who prioritizes solidarity over gender norms or an employer who asks how they can help, our mission might fail. 

Discredit the village narrative. 

Convince the mothers, despite all evidence, that parenting in isolation is biologically, theologically, historically, philosophically, 100% completely normal (and therefore, possible to do well). Even if their rational minds know otherwise, our sham of unachievable normalcy will easily deceive even the strongest parents into failure and despair.

And yet, Wormwood, be aware: should a woman recall the countless positive role models influential in her upbringingcoaches, teachers, priests, grandparents, youth group volunteers, doctors, ballet instructors, babysitters, catechists, friends' parents, neighborswe risk losing everything. Do not let her recognize the extremity of Earth's current circumstances or she'll cut herself some slack as a mother. And that's the last thing we need. 

Insist pride is a virtue and prudence a vice.

We must convince the mothers that every potential good is, instead, an absolute good. The educational games, Bible crafts, STEM activities, kid-friendly cooking lessons, virtual museum tours, family gardens, KonMari'd closets, online book clubs, live-streamed prayers at dawn, noon, and dusk: she must say "yes" to all of it! 

Remember, Wormwood: if a mother, realizing her limits, offers a prudent "no" rather than a tired "yes," she'll put our whole Department out of business. What good is existential torment to a woman who, having discerned the good, shrugs off the rest? 

And then, we simply let societytheir families, their communities, even their churchesconvince these mothers to wholeheartedly pursue unholy martyrdom: to chase exhaustion and death as God-given goalposts of motherhood well-lived. Once they overcommit to every potential good except their own health and well-being, our Department will ensure they're too fearful of judgment to expect or ask for help. 

Let faith bring no comfort. 

If we can convince a mother that the heaviness in her life is a yoke the Creator intended, her experience of faith will only bring rejection and judgment. 

For the sake of our mission, Wormwood, a mother cannot consider anger with God acceptable. She must never hear the words of St. John Paul II affirming the dignity and diversity of women. She must never interpret Scripture as freeing for women.

Stifled, unquestioning, rigid, heartless, inaccessible, irrelevant, punitive… we must define her faith experience by these words.

Destroy solitude.

To my previous point, a mother must never experience true solitude. If we fail in this, Wormwood, if she ever finds herself alone in calm silence, she will hear the voice of her Creator. And then, we've lost everything. 

Make the noise and distractions endless: important call, hungry kid, dirty floor, delayed email, messy room, confusing schoolwork, muddy kid, empty pantry, broken toy, crappy internet, crying child, missed assignment, doctor visit, breakfast dishes, spilled drink, bored teen, smelly trash, Zoom meeting… 

Tease a mother with only scattered moments alonepicking up groceries, quick morning shower, a distracted hour while toddlers napjust enough to convince her it's sufficient, convince her that asking for more would be selfish, unnecessary, indulgent. 

Who the paradise would have thought you'd be so successful at despairing families and collapsing an empire, Wormwood? Don't mess this up. Too often these pandemics lead to accidental personal awakenings on a global scale. But it seems you've stirred things just right. The confusion! The guilt! The isolation! Your C:OVID project makes easy work of our torment.

Moving forward, please outline all future plans in gif-stocked PowerPoint presentations for our team's 7:00 AM daily strategic meetings (starting tomorrow), submit paper approval forms in triplicate to me, the Pandemics Department, and the Global Committee (as well as PDF copies via email with subject line: COVID Approval / Wormwood / America Team / Motherhood Dept / Logistics Division / Hell / ATT), and plan to attend the "Intro to American Mothers" seminar at its next available offering.

Welcome to the Team.

Best regards, 

Screwtape

Please read the rest over at... FemCatholic


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this wonderful post. You've addressed so many of the emotions and anxieties I've been experiencing over the last few months. It is so good to know I'm not alone and that I'm not just a failure who is "doing it wrong." I'm going to bookmark this for future re-reading!

    ReplyDelete