Niobe. She just couldn’t keep her damn mouth shut. Fourteen kids, seven of each. What did the other moms in Thebes know about raising children? Not as much as Niobe. Never give your baby lukewarm goat’s milk before three months, she’d say. Our ancestors used to wear their babies in slings, the beating of your heart will sooth the child.
Niobe liked to smile. She liked to be right and it helped that she was queen. Co-sleeping? Put the child in the servant’s bed! Mothers of eight or four or six would nod their heads. Yes, Niobe. Of course, you’re right. We should let our babies cry it out. How else will they become strong warriors?
In her pride though, Niobe, took it too far. Over a glass of wine at Thebes Hip Mommas Group, she let slip to Leto what she really thought. You may be a Titan, but I got fourteen kids. Fourteen. You have two. I’m sure you’re a good mom and all, but come on.
Instead of passive-aggressively saying, it must be nice to be a stay at home mom with servants, Leto stuck her fingers between her lips and whistled. Faster than a speeding arrow, her children arrived. Tell me dear, said Leto, what were you saying? To the right, stood Apollo, and to the left stood Artemis.
I have fourteen, Niobe started, and then stopped as arrows began to fly. Thirteen, thought Leto. Now make that twelve. And ten. Good shot daughter. The Mommy Wars had begun. Apollo killed the boys. Artemis the girls. Niobe, devastated returned to her homeland where she sensibly transformed into a weeping stone. The battle was over, but the Wars continued across the generations. In a tribute to Niobe, moms still place trickling water features around their homes to protect their children from the wrath of Leto. Sometimes she takes the form of a woman in the yoga pants whose smiles are sharper than any arrow.