Tag Archives: bad mom

Snow Day But Today

It begins with a whisper. A mere whisper of a rumor. Riding on the coattails of a rising and moaning wind. But it’s enough. Just enough to light a tiny spark of hope against the unrelenting bleakness of a never-ending winter.  

However, since nothing is in writing yet, it’s business as usual for the moment. You head up to your room, almost giddy. You haven’t felt this kind of anticipation since Christmas Eve, which feels like an entire lifetime ago. You told yourself you weren’t going to do this but the urge is just too delicious to resist. So as your head hits the pillow, you allow yourself one small maybe. Not likely, no. Slim chance and all that. But…maybe.

Then the what-ifs come quickly galloping in. What if, though? What if it actually happens? All that time, that unstructured time, stretched out before you.

…what if…

Before you know it, your eyes snap open. A brief moment of confusion in the dark and then you remember. You scramble out of the intricate tangle of blankets. You run to the window and allow yourself one furtive glance outside. A lacy wall of beautiful white battling the dark sky greets your eyes. You give your thumping heart permission for one small leap.

Maybe indeed.

It’s the only time the news is actually relevant to your life. Boring people saying boring things. But underneath them are the slow and sacred scrolling words that could change everything.

Please, PLEASE, you quietly breathe to yourself in the blackness of pre-dawn. Most days you can’t bother to wake up before the sun. But not today. The stakes are too high. You can’t risk missing a moment of this potentially epic day.

You just need a break. From the daily grind. From the expectations. From, let’s face it, life.

Sure, you’re only 8-years-old, but are you not human too?

They’re only up to the B’s. Who knew there were this many places in the world that started with the letter B? You know it will be many, many long minutes before they get to the specific words you are oh-so-desperate to see. Still, you barely allow yourself to blink.

After what feels like a lifetime, and maybe it is (you are only 8 afterall), there they are. Those beautiful, beautiful letters floating past, practically smiling at you.

YOUR SCHOOL: CANCELLED.

A scream escapes your lips and you run around the living room, arms raised above your head, releasing all that pent-up anticipation in a series of feral whoops.

A snow day. SNOW DAY! An entire day off. Just for you. An unexpected holiday gifted to you from the very weather gods themselves.

And to thank them, you promise not to waste a second of this beautiful gift.

Cut to 30 years later. You are now a parent yourself. While making dinner (that, let’s face it, no one is going to eat), you hear it again. It’s been a long time since you’ve heard it, but you could never forget the sound of that whisper. Ten inches predicted overnight. Maybe…

What if…

You need this. You need an unexpected day off to remember what’s important. To remember that life is not just one long and mindless march forward, going to the places you are supposed to go and doing the things you are supposed to do. That it isn’t just putting pants on tiny, squirming, resistant legs and hollering at them for the seventh time to brush their teeth because you are going to be LATE FOR SCHOOL. AGAIN.

You allow yourself to look out the window. Nothing yet. You sigh and stir the spaghetti.

Just one day off, you plead to the air. One day off where you aren’t required to do anything. Where you don’t have to get anyone anywhere at any certain time. Where you don’t have to try to stuff wild humans into domesticated clothes and then stuff them into a coat and hat and gloves and then stuff the entire package into the car. Please.

Suddenly your phone dings. Then pings. Then vibrates. An email. Followed by a text. Followed by a voicemail.

YOUR KID’S SCHOOL: CANCELLED.

A bit anticlimactic, sure. Not like the old days. But still, that old feeling of pure joy manages to comes through.

Thank you, weather gods. I promise not to waste a moment of this beautiful gift.

Starting with not bothering to put pants on anyone.

 

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A brief guide to modern parenting

First of all, you should really already have kids. That biological clock doesn’t tick forever, you know. I mean, wait until you’re financially stable and all that, of course. It’s completely irresponsible to have kids before you’re fully prepared. But if you wait too long, that’s just selfish. Honestly, I don’t know what’s worse, those women having babies in their 40s or those young 22-year-old moms. But as any parent can tell you, you’re never really ready to have kids. So have them sooner rather than later. Once you’ve established your career first, naturally. Did you freeze your eggs yet? You haven’t? Well, nevermind. It’s already too late.

Now you’ll have a lot of important decisions to make as soon as you become a parent and the most important of all is what you feed them. You absolutely, positively HAVE to breastfeed. Breastfeeding is best for the baby and completely natural. Not to mention beautiful. Unless you are doing it in public, in which case you should be ashamed of yourself. That’s disgusting and you should really have more respect for yourself. Plus, stop being so smug about it. Not everyone is able to breastfeed and you should really stop shoving it in people’s faces.

Never ever set your baby down if you can help it. It’s literally impossible to spoil a baby with too much love, so hold them close at all times. That is, except when you are letting them cry it out. Babies absolutely need to learn to self-sooth at a young age or it can have dire consequences down the road in their development. Although you should know that technically this method is considered child abuse. Either way, don’t worry. Your kid was probably going to end up a serial killer anyway. I’m sure it’s nothing you did.

This next one I cannot stress enough. Stop helicopter parenting. Just stop. Children will never learn independence and the oh-so-important trait of grit if you don’t stop hovering over them. So, no matter how many times we call Child Protective Services on you, let them walk to the park by themselves for crying out loud.

Regarding discipline, at this point, everyone knows spanking not only doesn’t work, it’s psychologically damaging. And clearly all that New Age-y “get down on their level and try to reason with them” crap doesn’t work. Then there’s the behavior chart with stickers. Pfffft. Are you kidding me? This is why I’m not surprised your children are undisciplined godless heathens.

And please, please! Get off your phone and enjoy your time with your kids. What are you even doing still reading this? Time with your kids is so, so precious. It goes by so fast. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more important than your children. Although remember they shouldn’t be the center of your world. Honestly, that’s what’s wrong with kids today, parents thinking their baby is a unique snowflake that constantly needs to be engaged in some enrichment activity. That’s not how it was done back in the day. Kids were told to leave us the hell alone and go play outside and God help them if they came back before dusk.

Anyway, remember it’s equally important to make time for your significant other. Have a date night. And don’t be bothered by the fact that if you’re a woman, you will be considered a bad mom for leaving your baby at home so you can finally relax for a few hours. And God help you if you try to enjoy a cocktail in public, you floozy. But please do take solace in the fact that dads can quite literally chug a beer while holding their infant and everyone will tell them what a fantastic and hands-on father they are.

In this brave, new, technological world we’re living in, screen time should definitely be tightly limited. You don’t want to raise a little media zombie, do you? I mean, even though refusing to let your kid watch TV makes you one of those ridiculously annoying hipster parents that we will never, ever get tired of making fun of. Seriously, chillax a bit, “bro.” A little Spongebob never hurt anyone.

And lastly, remember that however many children you decide to have is a very private decision and should only be a conversation between you, your partner and possibly your doctor. Speaking of which, how many kids do you have? I read somewhere that it’s cruel of parents to only have one child. Such a lonely childhood and all that. Did you know 96 percent of murderers in prison were raised as only children? So, when are you having your next one? You know, you shouldn’t wait too long between siblings. Then again, you don’t want Irish twins. Ha! You have how many again? Whoa! Trying for a whole basketball team, eh? All with the same father? Not that it’s any of my business. It’s just so rare for a woman to stick with the same partner for very long in this day and age.

Wait, where are you going? There’s so much more we need to discuss! Like how you have to vaccinate your kids even though vaccines contain bleach and octopus urine, and how Snapchat is really a front for an organization made up of pedophiles who seduce children with non-organic gummy bears!

Bad Mom

I feel this should go without saying, but judging by the amount of hate mail I’ve gotten recently, apparently it does, in fact, need to be said.

I love my son.

More than anything.

More than my own life.

More than coffee.

COFFEE, people.

I’m not just willing to die for him, I’m willing to kill for him if it comes down to it. Granted, the only weapons in my house are a 32-pound dog and a frying pan, but I will throw both at your face if you even feign that you mean to harm my kid.

So, yes, I love my baby. And I love being a mom. I could talk (or write) for days non-stop about his every adorable facial tic and all the amazing ways he’s developing into a person. Seriously. Just ask my husband, who gets an extremely detailed run-down of what Riker did that day the second he gets home from work.

Me: “Guess what your son did today!? He pulled the dog’s tail and then shoved all the dog hair in his mouth! It was so cute. Well, up until he coughed out that hair ball. But still. I wish I would have recorded it.”

Him: “That’s great, sweetie. Now would you mind getting out of the way so I can get out of the car?”

Me (not moving): “And then he had peas for lunch and it got all over his face and it was so cute that I took 27 almost identical photos of it with my phone, here look at them, and then…”

Him: “…(sigh)…”

Needless to say, my life is ten thousand times better with Riker in it and if I die tomorrow, with my last breath I can honestly say that I am dying a happy woman.

Except, it’s not needless to say. Because more than once I’ve been accused of being a Bad Mom.

See, we all have our ways of dealing with the stress of parenting. Some people eat the stress away. Some lock the bathroom door and just sit there on the floor, staring vacantly at the wall for an hour. Some hire a babysitter and head out for a night on the town. I’ve even heard urban legends of strange creatures that do an odd ritual called exercising, where they force themselves to move in a vigorous manner to alleviate stress and maintain good health.*

*Science has yet to actually study these mythological creatures up close since one has never been caught out in the wild. Mainly because most scientists refuse to jog to catch up with them.

As for me? I write about it. For over a decade now I’ve been writing this humor column. It started out when I was that lowliest of low creatures, an intern for a small town paper, and has continued in different newspapers and media outlets across the country as well as here on my own website. And for all those years the main subject has been the same: Finding the humor in everyday life, mostly using my own life as fodder.

And my own life now is all about raising my child. So, I take those frustrating days when he won’t stop crying because he’s teething and those surreal moments where you find yourself saying things like “if you’d just stop poking yourself in the eye, you’d probably feel better,” and turn them into amusing (or at least I hope amusing) 800-word anecdotes each week.

And as the words amass on the page, I can feel myself relaxing, feeling better. I pour it all out. And in the end, it makes me a better mom, refreshed and ready to tackle another diaper blowout (where he grabs his poopy naked butt and smears it on his face before I can stop him) with a smile.

However, writing honestly about parenthood, while it will gain you some fans, also garners enormous amounts of criticism. Because in our society, raising children is Very Serious Business. And making fun of a baby or modern parenting or daring to say that the entire process is anything less than an amazing blessing we should be thankful for each day really, REALLY pisses some people off.

And so I get called a bad mom, an ungrateful mom. And my poor, poor son, who people feel so bad for because he has someone like me for a mom. He deserves better.

I know I shouldn’t let it get to me. But the first thing I learned when I became a mom is that guilt, a lot of guilt, comes with the job. So, I feel guilty for all the regular mom stuff (am I doing this right?) and then doubly guilty when someone doesn’t think it’s funny that I compared my baby to a dog in my column (am I ruining his life just to make some cheap jokes?).

There is nothing worse than being called a Bad Mom. Even if it’s by a stranger. Even if you know it isn’t true.

Because being a parent is hard and secretly we are all a little worried that we might be bad at it.

But that’s exactly why I think it’s so important that we be able to laugh at ourselves from time to time. We’ll go insane if we don’t. Or at least I will. I’d much rather view raising my baby as a comedy of errors rather than a tragedy of sleepness nights. Or worse, as a boring corporate lecture where I have to follow a PowerPoint of parenting rules.

Only time will tell if this particular strategy really did make me a Bad Mom. But until then, I know my son will grow up in a house filled with laughter. A house also filled with a lot of crying, barking and exclamations of “No! No! We don’t eat Mommy’s mascara!”

But mostly, hopefully, laughter.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go teach my son to roll over and maybe, if there’s time, to go fetch me the newspaper.