• I'm More Than a Mother

    By Bizzy Coy

    Published May 14, 2017 in The New Yorker's Daily Shouts
    Link to original
  • It’s true what they say: when you have kids, your whole life changes. Many of us moms neglect our own needs as we focus all our energy on caring for our offspring. Which is why I sometimes have to take a deep breath and remind myself: I’m more than a mother. I’m a convicted felon.


    And that’s just one of the many facets of my non-maternal identity. Sure, I’m Finley’s mom, and I couldn’t be happier about it. I’m also human. I’m a woman. I’m someone who calls elderly people on the phone, pretending to work at the I.R.S., and convincing them that they will lose their homes if they don’t pay their taxes immediately.


    Then I get their credit card and Social Security numbers and steal all their money. Just like little Finley stole my heart.

    After a child comes into your life, it can be tough to remember who you were before. Suddenly, your criminal past seems like it belongs to someone else. When I’m overwhelmed by a mountain of dirty diapers, I schedule “me time” to do something I love, like manufacturing fake erectile-dysfunction pills to sell on the Deep Web.


    Because I’m more than a mom. I’m a businessperson. I’m a pharmaceutical counterfeiter. And I’m legally required to contact my parole officer every two weeks.


    Before I had Finley, I thought that motherhood would be a piece of cake—like the time I tricked that lonely woman on the Internet into thinking I was an unhappily married man, then cleaned out her bank account by promising to run away with her if she paid off my medical-school debts.


    It turns out that being a mom isn’t as easy as all that.


    I don’t let it get me down, though. After I kiss Finley good night, I sit in my meditation chair and whisper into the darkness, “I’m more than this! I’m a catfisher. I’m a medical school drop out. I’m a wife.”


    That’s right, I'm married! A couple of years ago, I was running a “Music Man”-style scam. I’d breeze into rural areas and woo the townsfolk with promises of an unlicensed production of the musical “The Music Man” (which, to avoid copyright infringement, I called “A Music Man”).


    I had just convinced the residents of Slimsock, Alabama, to invest their money, and I was planning to skip town the very next day, when who should walk into my (fake) auditions but a handsome, wealthy gentleman with a heart condition named Bucknell Ambergory. In an instant, I had a new grift to pursue.


    I immediately cast Bucknell as A Music Man’s leading man, known for copyright reasons as Charold Chill. I settled down in Slimsock Alabama to see the musical through, which was quite a challenge, considering I hadn’t procured performance rights, scripts, scores, costumes, or sets. It didn’t matter. By the time the final curtain fell on my ill-planned production, Bucknell Ambergory was madly in love with me.


    He proposed, we were married, and I got pregnant with little Finley. I suggested that Bucknell take out a large life-insurance policy and make me the sole beneficiary. Then I flushed his heart medication and hired local celebrity Fingers the Clown to jump out of Bucknell’s closet in the middle of the night and scare him to death.


    Yes, I’m a widow. I’m an acquitted murderer. I’m the primary inheritor of the property and assets of Bucknell Ambergory, pending civil litigation instigated by his adult children, who are bitter because I did not cast them in “A Music Man.”


    Just a mom?? Not me! Would a mom fall in love with Fingers the Clown?


    When Finley eventually heads off to college, I don’t anticipate a deep, existential struggle to figure out who I am without him. I’ll be the same person I always was: a grifter, a fugitive from the law, a woman who sells Girl Scout cookie boxes filled with crumpled newspaper for ten bucks a pop on Tinder.


    Speaking of college, I’m in the midst of fund-raising for Finley’s higher education. I want to make sure my baby has everything he needs to achieve his dreams. I guess that’s the mom in me. I know what you’re thinking, and, yes, you can play a part in making Finley’s dreams come true! After this event, just tell me your full name, credit-card number, security code, expiration date, billing Zip Code, and cash-back limit.


    Here’s a picture of Finley—isn’t he the cutest? Look at those round cheeks and that blond hair. No, that’s not a photo of Prince George from People magazine. How would I even obtain such a photo? By doing a Google Image search? You sound crazy.


    Of course Finley exists. You can trust me! I’m his mother, and so much more.