It was a mindset I had before having children that
only seemed to grow stronger as I learned to make my way around the world with
After three years of doing this, I can open the door
to a store with one hand, swivel my double-stroller through a narrow doorway
and bring home the spice-rubbed bacon without any help from a chivalrous man. When well-meaning dudes on their way to work see me bumping the
stroller down the stairs of my stoop and offer to assist, I thank them and smile to myself,
knowing that their efforts would only delay me. Yeah, I can weave my car, "Fast and Furious" style, down the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway while serving my daughter Goldfish in the backseat AND doing all the gestures to "Happy and You Know It."
I prided myself on being a badass mommy. That is, until one fateful morning when I found myself running
out into the street—in a tank top, no bra—screaming for my strapping
Russian neighbor to come rescue me.
My crisis began the night before while watching TV. My husband was away for one night, and the kids were
fast asleep in their room. I saw a flash of movement out of the corner of
my eye. Immediately, I muted the television, stood up on a chair and assumed the Warrior One position. I'd lived in New York
City long enough to know that sometimes, and particularly on the nights when
your spouse is away, four-legged critters can make their way indoors, invading
your living space and causing you to lie frozen in bed for hours, ignoring the urge to
use the bathroom lest you find yourself face-to-face with a fury intruder.
In the country, mice are a common, even acceptable
part of indoor life. In certain parts of the Midwest, they are even encouraged inside and allowed to perch on the armchair of the family patriarch. Kids in Ohio give mice names and bring them to school for
show-and-tell. City mice are different. First of all, these motherfuckers are
sly. They know where you keep the peanut butter and the good cheese. They ain't playing with Kraft Singles, hell no. They enter your apartment by
any means necessary, riding up elevators, squirming through holes near the
radiator and hitching a ride in your Diapers.com order. They stare you down with their
beady eyes, causing more than one 20-something girl to relinquish her studio
apartment, give up her Carrie Bradshaw dreams and return to her
parents' home on Long Island.
But I was a mom. I couldn't just run. I had a brood to
protect. Reminding myself that I, not the rodent, was the one in charge, I
carefully laid a trap next to the wall where I'd seen the mouse run. Then, I went to sleep. The next morning, before I even turned on the coffee-maker, I
checked to see if I had made a catch.
When I saw the mouse helplessly still on the glue trap
(we had no snap traps on hand), I panicked. In a few moments, the twins would
wake up and charge into the living room. I had a live animal on my hands! There was no way I was touching it—but what
was I supposed to do?
I pulled up the shade and saw my neighbor from the apartment next door about to get into his car. I knew this was my only chance, so I acted quickly. Running outside in the freezing cold with practically no clothes on, I beckoned him back into the
Since he himself has a wife and two kids, I hoped he
wasn't laughing too hard at me when I led him inside and showed him the "emergency"
in the corner of the room. Nonchalantly picking up the glue trap and depositing
it into a plastic bag from the grocery store, he took it outside and presumably
ended my houseguest's short but exciting life in a swift and gruesome manner.
That morning, I learned three things: I was willing to
kill to protect my children, I should probably start wearing a bra to sleep and
sometimes you need a man to step in and do a mom's job.