Ode to Charlene

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith today being Mother’s Day, I thought it was time to give barrechat readers an introduction to Charlene…For those of you who haven’t figured out who Charlene is, she is my mother. She is somewhat of a character. She is loud, opinionated, swears like a truck driver, over reacts in almost every situation, and worst of all, she is a republican (although she claims to be independent).

You see, Charlene and I have an interesting relationship. Even though we live 600 miles apart, we are very close. I talk to my mom EVERY day. I check in with her at least once a day and if I don’t, she is pretty much convinced I’m dead in a gutter. People ask me, “What do you guys talk about if you talk every day?!?” Well… the answer is we chat about everything and anything. Everything is up for “discussion” with Charlene. Here is a typical conversation between us:
Charlene: “When are you having another baby?”
Me: “Mom!”
Charlene: “Well are you guys at least trying yet?”
Me: “Mom! Will you stop.”
Charlene: “You better get to it…let me talk to my son-in-law”
Kevin: “Hi Charlene”
Charlene: “You better give her a couple glasses of wine tonight so you two can work on making babies.”

This convo is typical and highly inappropriate, but this is us. Some people think it is great that my mom and I are so close, and some people think we are effing crazy. I think it is a combo of the two. Now that I am a mom myself, I value my mom and our relationship more than ever. I often wonder if Charlotte and I will be as close as my mom and I. I wonder if I will be as good of a mom as my mom was to me. I wonder if I can devote my entire adult life to my children like my mom did. One thing I know for sure is that I will pass on the life lessons and Charlene-isms I’ve learned from my mom….

1. My mom taught my not to be passive aggressive. If my mom is mad, you know it. If she doesn’t like you, you know it. Harboring anger only leads to a much larger explosion at a later point. If I have a problem with someone, I like to hash it out immediately and as a result I have a very healthy relationship with my husband, co-workers, friends, etc.

2. My mom taught me to cook. I don’t need Rachel Ray- I can pretty much whip up any meal in 30 minutes or less (in a small kitchen without fancy gadgets).

3. “You wanna play, you gotta pay!” This is one of Charlene’s most infamous sayings. When I was home from college over the summer, I would go out with my bestie Laura and we would party, HARD. My mom would come into my room the next morning and scream this at me and pulling the covers off my bed. At the time I thought this was cruel and unusual. However, to this day, I think twice about having that drink that might put me over the edge. Listening to Charlene scream is nothing compared to listening to a screaming baby when you have a hangover.

4. Financial knowledge. I actually have to give credit to both of my parents on this one. My parents taught me from a very young age how to mange my finances. My mom taught me from a young age that bad credit will ruin your life. In regards to credit cards, she always said “If you don’t have it this month, you won’t have it next month.”

5. Girlfriends are important. You need other women in your life to talk to, to laugh with, and bitch to- it is a total necessity. Girlfriends are like therapy; there is nothing better than drinking some wine and having a good old fashion bitchfest. My mom has friends she has known for years and they are thick as thieves. I could actually write an entire blog post about the adventures and mishaps of Charlene and her friends…

So, there you have it. Charlene is my mom. She has her flaws, but to me, she is perfect. I love her and I wouldn’t change a thing about her.

Photo Credit:
The photo above was taken just hours before Charlotte was born. You can see my big belly in the photo. My mom drove all the way out from Connecticut and stayed with me for two weeks. She cleaned my house, cooked for me, did my laundry, helped with Charlotte after she was born, and most importantly, held my hand during labor. What a woman!


  1. Sara Grant Gregory says:

    This was so nice! I can imagine your Mom reading this an crying! Only a precious few are lucky enough to have this kind of relationship with their Mom. Happy Mother’s Day to you and your Mom!!!!
    Love, Sara

  2. Liz Maynard says:

    Wow, Martina this was so well thought out that it made me want to be Charlene’s daughter!! Have a wonderful Mother’s Day.

  3. I am her bestie Laura that she mentions she would party HARD with. To this day every time I hear the saying “you wanna play, you gotta pay” I could just cry! I tried rescuing Martina from this God awful punishment by making her sleep at my house but guess what?? The phone would ring at 7 a.m. and I would answer it with my morning hangover man voice and all I would here on the other end was “where’s Martina” “sleeping Charlene like the rest of the country other than yourself” “we’ll Laura, she wants to play, she’s gonna pay, now put her on the phone before I slap ya” LOL!! One thing about Charlene, you can run but you CANNOT hide from that woman! She’s like my second mom and I love her!

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