Picture I tried to call my mother the other day. My smart phone is, naturally, intellectually superior to me, but when I want to be really intimidated by its brilliance, it has an app called Genius, where you just talk into the thing and it is supposed to do what you tell it to do.

"Call Mom," I told it.

"Call Bob?" it asked.

"No, call Mom."

"Call John?"

"NO!"

"Call Mo?"

After I told it off a few more times, it started sulking by refusing to call anybody, directing me instead to a web page about Lois Griffin, the cartoon mom on Family Guy. I tossed it violently away, much in the manner of a dumb schoolyard bully shoving a smart kid around, except I made sure I tossed it towards the couch, because it cost 400 bucks.

Since I couldn't talk to Mom, I began contemplating the state of American motherhood. My mom is a classic American mom, as most moms were when she took up the trade. She could fairly be depicted as an apron wearing, kitchen inhabiting being ready to greet all arrivals with an apple pie in one hand and a pitcher of cold lemonade in the other. Your heart would swell with affection when you saw her, and inwardly you would sigh "My mom," although inwardly you might also think, "Mom, when are you going to figure out that apple pie and lemonade taste lousy together?"

The first sign of division in the motherhood ranks was when I was in high school, when maternal people could be referred to as My Mom, whose description can be found above, and Your Mom, a darker creature entirely, who could be accused of almost any physical flaw or unnatural act, especially in the gym locker room or by upperclassmen.

Since then, moms have proliferated into a wide variety of sociological niches. At various times in the past decades, America has hailed the emergence of the Single Mom, the Welfare Mom, the Working Mom, the Soccer Mom and the Surrogate Mom. Individuals have incorporated their Momness into national celebrity, such as the Octomom, who has parleyed her personal biological triumph into a career of stripping, porn movies and naked portrayals in magazines, in what seems like a single-minded effort to answer the question that obviously keeps her up at night, even if her eight kids don't: If I'm famous, why aren't I rich?"

For a stretch there, we were also treated to the chronicle of the Tanorexic Mom, a lady who abhorred her natural skin color. She spent so much time in tanning beds that she turned the color and texture of apple pie crust herself, while inflicting the same toaster-oven skin tone on her helpless child.

Now we have the Naked Breastfeeding Yoga Mom. She may represent the apogee of motherhood. You'll have to click here to see a picture of her. Outside, upside down and nude, with her child suckling on her inverted tit, she is nourishing her baby, exercising, letting gravity work the opposite way on her mom glands for a change, which no doubt will help to preserve their perkiness, while allowing the sun's rays to warm the parts of her body where they customarily don't shine and becoming an Internet sensation, all at the same time.

This is multitasking that puts baking a pie and making a pitcher of lemonade simultaneously to shame. I'm glad my mom is Web-intolerant, although it is doubtful she would admire the NBYM as much as I do. She wouldn't think much of her accomplishments, possibly because Mom has never seen a need to stand on her head or be outside naked in her entire life. And I was bottle-fed.

But I love her anyway, as no doubt the breastfeeding baby loves her mom. And as I gaze upon the NBYM, in all her inverted nude splendor, I can't help noticing that that hungry little tyke looks just like me, at least around the hairline.

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Published on August 29, 2013 07:06 • 343 views

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