Mom Genes

I was in the middle of a time-honored tradition, the 5:00pm banging of the pots and pans, when my oldest came in the kitchen and asked, “Are you cooking dinner?”  I replied with a nod of my head which provoked a spontaneous reaction of his nose wrinkling and a follow-up question, “Do we have to eat the black parts?”

It is no secret that I can’t cook; furthermore, I hate to clean, I hate sitting at the park sweating and swatting bugs, I despise Candy Land and would rather change a diaper with a load than do arts and crafts. I suffer from an Underactive Mom Gene.

Underactive Mom Gene (UMG) is a contentious defect that may cause drooling at PTA meetings, insomnia during board games and the occasional bout of, “Oops, was that today?”  Those with UMG can live normal lives until matched against the UMG irritant, the Overactive Mom Gene.  These are the women who, from the day of their birth when they were plunging down the canal of hope, vowed to produce as many humans as possible, wear high heels with their apron while baking every child in the world a cookie and run for room mom every school year. The Overactive Mom Gene (OMG) has been known to cause slight envy and a rash among those with an Underactive Mom Gene. Though no official study has been recorded, Overactive Mom Gene has believed to be the result of a genetic mutation that presented itself in the 50’s. This is when women in the masses decided that their home and children was their only duty in life – kick starting the Mom Gene into hyper-drive.  During this time Betty Friedan wrote “The Feminine Mystique” where she exposes the lives of the so-called happy housewives (A.K.A the OMG’s).

In one of Friedan’s study’s she set out to discover why two women with the same exact number of children, the same economic status in the same size house spent different amounts of time completing the same chores.  Her conclusion: women that had outside-the-home activities spent less time completing chores when compared to women who devoted her whole day to them. These women without a social life subconsciously buried themselves in housework and their children’s lives. They continuously created more work for themselves and purposely made household duties last all day by engaging their children in numerous activities or they betrothed themselves to do-it-yourself projects. These same ladies unrelentingly made more work for themselves as their children got older by buying bigger houses, which required more cleaning, and had more kids in order to continue the ritual of trying every way possible to feel needed. After having more children was no longer a possibility and her babies grew up, she was lost.  

A more recent study, according to Meghan Daum’s LA Times article, researched by Brigham Yang University and the University of North Carolina found those that chose social isolation had as much risk for mortality as smokers and those struggling with obesity. So we, the Underactive Mom Gene carriers, should no longer envy those with an Overactive Mom Gene (the 21st century helicopter parent) for they are doomed to wake up empty nesters, no longer able to hide behind their children and on death row. But we, with UMG, are destined to wake up empty nesters and smile. Long live the Underactive Mom Gene.


28 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karyn Climans
    Sep 20, 2010 @ 08:04:11

    I really enjoy reading your posts because they always make me laugh! An especially great quality for the start of a Monday morning. Keep up the good work.


  2. Rhonda Burkhalter
    Sep 20, 2010 @ 09:59:32

    Helicopter may be a little extreme to describe myself, but for sure a OMG. I don’t take all day to clean, I rarely clean during the day at my own house… when I was there. I stay social, but I do love baking, cooking, kids activities, and crafts. I don’t like board games. Probably the ADD in me that keeps me from sitting still that long. Which is probably also why the OMG fits me better than the UMG. Years from now no one will remember that I was Secretary of the Booster club, PTSA Teacher Appreciation Representative, or over involved Dance Team mom, but I will. I will remember that I was there for my kids unlike my mom who wasn’t even an UMG. She was even far more removed if that is possible. I think there is a balance for us all. As long as we enjoy the roll we find ourselves in, that is what counts.


    • Torie Combest
      Sep 20, 2010 @ 10:06:18


      It sounds like you are not a helicopter mom but just a mom that enjoys her children’s activities. It is different when you actually have a social life outside of your home and kids, it makes for an even balance. This way you can still be involved in the kids activities without totally depending on them for a social life.

      Thanks for commenting.


  3. Melanie
    Sep 20, 2010 @ 12:27:44

    This is so funny. I’m glad there’s finally a name and diagnosis for what I have! Keep em coming!


  4. kbee
    Sep 20, 2010 @ 15:13:15

    Hysterical. Well written. Bookmarked. I’m hooked!


  5. teresa
    Sep 20, 2010 @ 17:17:28

    I love it. You definitely have a way with words and I do agree with the need to find a balance. I had my daughter very late, (I was 42 and she’s only 3 now), but I can see the attraction of making it all about her. Luckily, I’ve had too much time just being me to give it up.
    Still trying to figure out how to make it all work…
    I’m so glad I found your blog. Finally a mom blog that isn’t about homeschooling!


    • Torie Combest
      Sep 20, 2010 @ 23:09:15


      I would never survive homeschooling my children. I am so glad you like the blog and I hope you continue to come back – maybe together we can figure out a way to stay “us”.


  6. Holly at Tropic of Mom
    Sep 20, 2010 @ 21:29:08

    You’re so funny! And something to think about. 😉


  7. Marina DelVecchio
    Sep 21, 2010 @ 20:50:54

    Love it! I burn everything too. Even water! I have tossed numerous burned pots our my back door for the kids to play with. Truth is, I don’t want to cook. I want to write/think/work!

    I am staying me, but I can’t say that a lot of other moms like me as me.


    • Torie Combest
      Sep 22, 2010 @ 11:42:25


      I have tossed a few blackened pots as well. I am the same way, I would rather be writing, reading or researching than cook or clean. Thanks for commenting.


  8. Scarlet
    Sep 22, 2010 @ 13:21:36

    Totally funny! I got one over active and one under active mom gene. Guess which one is dominant?!


  9. Wendy Irene (Give Love Create Happiness)
    Sep 23, 2010 @ 00:25:43

    I think I have both genes and they kick in on different days, or maybe different times of the month 😉


  10. Kimberly
    Sep 23, 2010 @ 19:41:23

    hilarious. Totally relate 😉 Nice to meet you! Saw you on Mckmama’s blog frog. ~ Kimberly


  11. Kimberly
    Sep 24, 2010 @ 19:18:42

    I love. LOVE this post! I too come from the land of black part eating…hey it puts hair on your chest…not that I need hair on my chest cause that would suck.

    Anyhoodles, I’m coming from Bloggy Moms and just wanted to tell you that I really enjoyed your post and I’m a new follower 🙂


  12. Vic
    Sep 24, 2010 @ 21:14:40

    Oh my goodness….i love your writing skills…i hate all of those things too but i have to do them! we live in fl and the sweaty swamp asses are always driving me nuts…ten baths a day is re-dick! here from bloggy moms…enjoy the eve


  13. Shelly
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 02:44:36

    I enjoy your articles. I have read both this one and your newest misplaced mom. Have to say I have been all over the board while raising my three children. I worked and wanted to stay home, then couldn’t wait to get back to work, then hated it, wanted to be home, and on the story goes. Keep in mind that whatever we are doing presently finds a way to get taken for granted. It really isn’t always greener on the otherside. Because when you take your sick child to daycare to have the care provider remind you that sick kids need to stay home. She doesn’t know how conflicted you are. She doesn’t know how it felt swallowing that lump in your throat when you called in that morning to ask for the day off. She doesn’t know that your bossman gave you the what for because you were going to try and leave the office hanging. Your co-worker Suzie would be ticked if she had to come in on her day off because she has a family too. It’s mad! I tell ya. The bottom line is that when we are a mom the workplace isn’t always fair either. Mom’s are the ones expected to pick up the child when the school calls and says they’re sick, Mom’s are expected to be able to make it to their monthly volunteer classroom day, Mom’s are expected to make and fufill all the arrangements. It’s hectic and I wouldn’t do it over again. I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off, and I am a low stress person. As they get older their will be “ME” time again. Hell, I think that even when they are all finally in school I’m not going to jump into getting a job again right away. I could use a couple years of 8am-3pm to catch up on my rest 😉


    • Torie Combest
      Sep 27, 2010 @ 17:02:04


      I am grateful for being able to drop everything and get them when their sick or go to school functions but I just have this strong passion for a writing career. It is going to be hard to balance both a career and children but I have to do it or at least try to stay sane. Thanks for commenting.


  14. Jeannette
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 16:50:39

    I too just read this and your most recent post. And I have to say, I may have the OMG AND the UMG. But I have experienced both, being a working mom and a SAHM. It’s really unfair to cast judgement and assume that the SAHM must have the OMG. Yeah, there are those that “try” a little to hard to look perfect but trust me, those that know me know that I am FAR from it. I don’t always get into playing with the children, my house isn’t always clean and when I do clean, it does take me all day because my 18 month old likes to stand on the piles of dirt I sweep, tosses the laundry I’m sorting and whines when I lock him out of the kitchen, so I can cook. Most days my meals are what’s easiest to make, cooking from scratch is done when I feel like it. Most new wives I meet are “impressed” with my domestic skills but I have years of practice, so it may appear that I’m “Susie Homemaker”, when I’m not. But I also feel that if worked, I would miss so much of my children’s lives. I’ll admit, I guess I do cast judgement on the working mom. Especially when I hear a working mom say she never gets overwhelmed by her child. As if I’m a horrible person for being overwhelmed (how dare I, right). Then I think “yeah, I wouldn’t be overwhelmed either, if I didn’t see my kids all day either! And had them with sitters left and right!”. Just sayin’. I love my kids, I go above and beyond for them (even when I get that “you’re doing too much look), and I’m happy with the choice I made to stay home. Of course it’s bound to happen, to start feeling like you’ve lost your identity and that does happen to me as well. I’m guilty of not TAKING me time, so I can regroup and that’s my fault. I just recently gave myself a lecture on letting myself go, being more organized, focusing on MY personal interests and just getting back to civilization. To each it’s own, that’s what I say! Love your writing btw! Here from Bloggy Moms.


    • Torie Combest
      Sep 27, 2010 @ 23:12:49

      Thanks for the great comment. I do have a little OMG in me as well but for the most part I am laid back. It is easy to get lost in the SAHM world and lose yourself no matter if you are an OMG or UMG. I guess we just need to keep struggling for that balance so we can have the best of both worlds.


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