Comedian Julia Sweeney, creator of the androgynous "Saturday Night Live" character Pat, is also the author of the memoir, "God Said, 'Ha!' " Her new book is a collection of essays about motherhood. Here's how it begins:
I want to be alone. I really need to be alone.
I took so long to assemble my lovely family. I did it all a bit backward: first, a delightful daughter, then a beloved husband. I went after creating family, like a golden retriever running after a ball — how much does the dog think about what he's doing? He doesn't think. He does. He is a doer. That's me, too. I did it. I do it. I am doing it.
Every morning I get up and hustle. I'm sure this is true for most mothers. It's true for me, too. This is what I wanted, after all. This was my dream. I'm always on task. I never go up the stairs of our house without looking around for what needs to be taken up. I never buy just one meal's worth of food at the grocery store. I drive the carpools. I volunteer at the school cafeteria. I wait patiently outside the dance classes. I iron. I clean up the cat vomit. Make dinner. Walk the dog. I work (write) at home and then really work, at home. I quell the rising ire in my roommates. I try to install harmony, efficiency, and a calm, enabling environment for my fellow family members. I often set the table two hours before dinner. I live by lists. I pick up things in our house and put them where they go. Chiefly, I'm the protector against the chaos that threatens us. I am a good soldier.
I love my job.
Secretly I hate my job.
I love my family.
If only they would disappear.