I already admitted that I'm a TV-holic, so you won't mind the fact that an episode of "Fear Factor" made me think about the selflessness of motherhood. But first a disclaimer: I am not a "fan" of "Fear Factor." I never watched it before the new "Couples" gimmick sucked me in, and I hereby profess that at the end of said gimmicky contest, I shall stop watching it altogether. OK, so on the show, 9 married, engaged and dating couples compete for cash and prizes every week. To win something, they have to clock the best time at an "extreme" stunt OR a vomit-inducing "gross" stunt. I'd get into details, but some of you would gag at just reading what these people have to do to win, say, a three-week safari to Africa or a $25,000 gift certificate. All of this is background to one particular stunt, where the couples were both immersed in water with their feet chained and pad-locked to a platform. Each person had to release their feet and swim to a little buoy several feet across the pool. Anyhow, most of the couples were able to reach the buoy, but one woman panicked (while her husband was already at the buoy) and were disqualified from the stunt. During her post-stunt interview, the contestant told the camera: "The only way I would've been able to continue is if my children were chained down there."
Now, before you ask that I seek psychiatric treatment for thinking this a touching response, I have to step in and say that I have not one ounce of athletic ability. Sure, I could make it through an aerobics or Pilates class (if I had to), but don't count on me to help your team at any sport or obstacle course. Seriously. I won't even play beach volleyball with friends. It's too depressing. Anyhow, I internalized the contestant's comment and realized that I too would've held my breath and fumbled with the keys and basically died trying (and hopefully succeeding) to pluck my son from death's grip. Before I became a mother, I sorta cringed whenever I heard ferocious "mama bear" statements. I would think: "Alright, already, I get it. You love your kid. You would've stepped in front of the car/wrestled the lion/killed the assailant. OK." Now that I am a mother, I truly believe all of those cheese-ball declarations of flight-or-fight. So, see, even the dregs of reality programming can provoke a thoughts about motherhood.