Just as the dust settled on whether Madonna put on a good, great or God awful half-time show at Super Bowl XLVI ( I’m still pondering why Aerosmith can keep pimping their musical wares to the public right up until they qualify for Medicare, and beyond judging by their tour circuit of late, yet Madonna gets heat for performing in her fifties.) Now The Material Girl has given the world something else to ponder, a quote from a British newspaper.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s hard work having four kids with all the work I do,” the news anchor who quoted Madge said, snickering. Then added, “ I doubted that Madonna was a single mom like other moms, I’m sure she has a lot of help.”
No doubt. However, what that teleprompter-reading-talking-head did not know, could not know, unless she also walked the same ground as Madge and me—and clearly she does not from her comment— is this: No matter how much money a mom has, how great her childcare coverage is, how deep her confidence and energy, as a single mom you carry the weight. The whole weight.
While my married girlfriends love to remind me that an equal and present partner is not a guarantee with matrimony, they do have someone to nudge in the night when your child sickens, when every bad made-for-tv movie motors through your mind, when the question becomes do you bundle up the baby, bolt from the apartment, into a cab, into the darkness, to an emergency room, a place populated, largely, with the citizenry who frequent such places in the Manhattan’s dark hours, folks Toni Morrison once called in a novel,“guns and knives people,” thanking God you have health insurance but full of fear. Or, pray the barking cough doesn’t worsen before dawn, before the pediatrician’s office opens, before you can get help from a familiar, reliable physician.
Still, Madonna’s wealth can afford her access to an army of nannies and chief-bottle-washers; a cook and a housekeeper. However, at the end of the day, when she’s up walking her super-luxe-hand-polished-floors in the still of the house, as her children nestle in their beds, Madonna’s mind whirls too, wondering if her children are happy and whole. As a car alarm chirps in the distance, while her single breath cuts the atmosphere, in every sense, Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone is as alone as every single baby mama in the universe. But, at least, we all have more company.