Saturday, May 09, 2009

Bad Mommy

It's almost Mother's Day and I don't feel quite so deserving this year, or any year so far for that matter. Right now, Noah is at a friend's fifth birthday party with his DAD. Not me, his...DAD! In the past three years, I've taken Noah to roughly fifty freaking kid's birthday parties. FIFTY! He had Mom and Tot parties, and then his two, three and four year old class parties, plus parties from his new school this year, cousins and non-school friend parties too. I've added it up and I can't imagine doing fifty more, exhausting, two hour mad houses again. My brain is fried. To be fair though, I should point out that a few of these parties have actually been enjoyable, but let's just say, frenetic, crazy birthday get-togethers are not my most favorite past-time. Don't get me wrong, I've thrown some parties too, loud, over-crowded, wasting your nice Sunday kind of parties. The kids want it, it's what you do as a parent, right? Maybe.

I'm starting to think that this whole parenting thing is over done. I can't seem to find the "preciousness" in it all, that so many other Mommies seem to be extolling. So since I am a bad Mommy, who would rather send her husband off to the party this time, so she can avoid making social small talk about Kindergarten, not have to wipe the inevitable tears that her son will surely make over nothing, and escape taking the kid to a dirty public restroom, I've decided to stay home. This is a first for me, and I know it's going to look BAD.

I'll apologize later, maybe make it up with a cringe worthy play date, as our tiny home, that lacks a family room, is RIPPED apart while our kids play. You don't know this, but the universe has blessed me with one very special thing, an anal retentive child, who has never been one to make a big mess. I loath the aftermath of these play dates.

It's not that I hate kids. In fact, kids are great! I love your kid too. I have this infinite ability to love yours and mine at the same time. Children can be amazingly insightful, hilarious and sweet. I like chatting with them, laughing together and spending time with pint-sized buddies. It's more about the hoopla that comes with having kids, the brew-ha-ha, the much ado, the rules, the judgements of parenting. It's exhausting. I'm not sure if parenting has always been this way, but what most "Good Mommies" won't tell you is that sometimes, being a parent is just annoying.

So while most of my peers are off reproducing again and again, magically forgetting the sleepless nights, the terrible two's, horrendous threes, and brain melting fours, I am for some reason not able to block it all out, and thank GOD.

This week there has been a lot in the news about Ayelet Waldman's new book: Bad Mother. She's Witty, she's intelligent, and most of all, she's honest. Our society, I'm sure you've heard, has raised the bar so ridiculously high for mothers. The expectations are an intricate game, one that is quickly learned in the back of the Mom and Tot Room, the halls of Preschool and on all of your local playgrounds. One false move, give that kid a NON-ORGANIC Milk drinkbox and you're banished to being a ....BAD MOMMY!
No, I'm serious. It's true, because come on, you know, we're also so F'ing judgemental here. Even if you don't want to be.

One more thing about the loveliness of parenthood ladies. NO, we CAN'T have it all. They lied to us. We can't have all the perfectness. If you're a working Mom, good for you! But, I bet you miss your kid and feel guilty that you aren't able to be at his class party. If you're a stay-at-home, and your make it to your kid's class party, but you weren't the one who organized it you feel guilty about that, AND, if you're like me, being a SAHM has tuned your brain into mush , but you're afraid to ever admit this as you would sound like some kind of whiny jerk. Very few of us are lucky enough to find just the right balance, for the most part, it's only a fairy tale girls.

Ok, so in the spirit of Mother's Day, I have decided to come up with a list of parenting things that I have done, that in my mind, constitute me as a good or bad mother. Well, I suppose according to what I think other Moms would say. Here goes:

Good Mother: I took an extensive "natural" childbirth class, to have a medication free birth. Went to an "Alternative Birth Center" and had a midwife. Because, COME ON PEOPLE! Epidurals are the devil.
Bad Mother: I had an emergency c-section under general anesthesia, and missed the whole show all together. I failed to notice and/or recognize my son after I woke up in recovery.

Good Mothe
r: I had a breast pump ready, chap stick for my boobs and a Boppie! Because of course you sillies, breast is best!
Bad Mother: Failed breastfeeding miserably in just seven days. Have been neurotic over that fact for four and a half years and counting. He drank A LOT of formula.

Good Mother: Of course I had my baby sleep in my room at the hospital and then in our room when he came home.
Bad Mother: Lost my freaking mind. He woke up every hour, every single night. Moved the kid at four weeks to his own crib, in his own room.

Good Mother: I was sure not to use any bumpers, blanket or other suffocation hazards in his perfect Pottery Barn Kids crib!
Bad Mother: I gave the kid as many pacifiers as he wanted, for as long as he wanted and also used the "cry it out" method. I know, I'm bad.

Good Mother: I took my baby for frequent, peaceful fresh air walks, in hopes that he would finally nap.
Bad Mother: I gave up and Bought a Jumperoo , stuck the kid in it with a phonebook underneath his feet and prayed he would wear himself out by jumping.

Good Mother: Joined baby music class!
Bad Mother: LOATHED going.

Good Mother: I signed up for a wonderful Mom and Tot program together.
Bad Mother: I sent him off to school on his own at 22 months.

Good Mother:
I always Dress my son in adorable, CLEAN, IRONED, matching outfits each and every day.
Bad mother: SSHHHHhh....the clothes aren't from Baby Gap, they're from Target, and I'm a little embarrassed.

Good Mother:
We bought him a bike, a baseball, a soccer ball, football, and a pool.
Bad Mother: I have still yet to put him on any sports team and have no plans to.

Good Mother: I only buy organic milk and other organic dairy products.
Bad Mother: I let him drink chocolate milk and fruit juice, eat cookies, cake and ice cream.

Good Mother: At four years old, I did not just run out and buy a dangerous booster seat because I could.
Bad Mother: I HATE my stupid bike trailer and will be buying a more "dangerous" children's bike seat for the back of my bike this summer.

Good Mother: I attend each and every one of his field trips as a driver and parent volunteer.
Bad Mother: THANK GOD for Wii and Club Penguin.

Good Mother: I've taken Noah to all fifty of his friends birthday parties. Bought nice gifts, pretty wrapping paper, sweet cards and even remembered to tape the gift receipts inside.
Bad Mommy: I finally skipped a party today.

So what have I been doing might you ask? On this lovely, free afternoon, meant to be spent in quite relaxation? Well, I went to the store because I noticed that we're almost out of milk, and shaving cream, and Noah needs new pajamas that fit, and the welcome mat at our front door is old and dirty and frayed. I trudged out, bought all of these things and more, came home and began to put away my finds. Then it hit me, WHY am I doing all this? Especially on a rare "freebie day", when I don't need to get dinner made, or the house vacuumed or the kid from school.
It took all of the strength that I could muster to NOT put away anything but the milk and frozen Weight Watcher meals away. I felt incredibly guilty. What a Bad Mommy I am to leave these bags out.

But, I stepped away, and I'm now on here. Enjoying some writing and trying to pretend, for just one moment, that I'm not such a BAD MOTHER after all....


Judy said...

Wow, I am just now getting this on my feedreader - bizarre!

Girl, if you are a bad mommy for those things, then string me up by my toenails! I'm the one at the little league ballpark that sits, chatting to other moms and dads and finally realizes she hasn't seen her 4 year old in, oh, 20 minutes, as he is playing in the parking lot. I'm the one who shuts the garage door before the car is even turned off to avoid letting the neighbors know we're home so they won't come and pester us to play. I'm the one whose son has ZERO new clothes (EVER) - every single item is a hand-me-down. Even socks (and some underwear - was his cousins but never worn).

Don't ask me when he had his last bath - I can't even tell you.

Send him on to a birthday party with Dad...that's one of the best mother's day gifts ever!

Kendra Lynn said... are an awesome mommy! You have a VERY active four-year-old boy, and you deserve a break every now and then.

p.s. I am a bad mommy on occasion...and my children still love me...and make me fabulous mothers' day gifts. Merry listed my attributes, and one of them is "warrior". Hmmm...I must be a GOOD mommy!

Sarah said...

Glad you put this back up. Best post ever. We're all that mom on some level - we just aren't all brave enough to admit it.

Lauren said...

Oh my gosh you guys, these comments made me laugh and cry! Thanks so much, it means a lot to me, you are the best!
Judy- I LOVE your garage door comment. Ha! I get it though. I won't ask you when Tyler's last bath was, ok? ;)
Kendra- a Warrior!!! Now, THAT is a trait of a good Mommy. Way to go, I love it!!! That's hilarious, what did Merry say about you being a warrior?
Sarah- Awww, thank you. Really.
I'm not brave, I mean, I took the post down! Your call is what made me brave! Thanks. :)

Brenda said...

Hmmm... clearly I'm a worse mommy.

During labor I had every intervention you can except the salad tongs and C-section.

I don't know when my daughter last had a bath. She hates them, it's not worth it to me to fight about it until she's actually filthy. Then I guilt her father into bathing with her. She may insist on wearing bath shorts like daddy, but she's clean and screeches a lot less. I also plan to slowly reduce my presence in the bathroom until I'm no longer wanted.

We didn't do any baby classes, although we did do "gymnastics" to help her burn off energy during the cold months. We wouldn't have done that if I hadn't won a gift certificate to give it a try.

I am having another kid, but not because SAHMing is so magical. I did it because I hate being an only child and always have. Many days I long to return to work and have regular daycare. If I hadn't gotten laid off from my part-time writing gig, she'd be in daycare right now.

I hate being pregnant. I am a hormonal bitch of epic proportions, my back hurts, and I have killer heartburn from week 2 - 40.

We won't start preschool until she's 3 because I'm cheap and I didn't want to deal with the competitive mommy-crap.

She's eats a lot of chicken nuggets and recognizes Wendy's, Taco Bell and Dunkin Donuts. I only accept blame for TB, though.

Yeah - we're not even in the same league of crappy parenting. I think my kid will be fine, and I think yours will, too.

Lauren said...

Wow Brenda! Thanks for all of your "Bad Mommy" sharing! ;)
I'm just joking. This post was kind of sarcastic, I mean, in reality, I don't think that I'm a "Bad Mom" at all, I try my best. It's society and the whole "Mommy industry" that might question some of my parenting. No Mother is perfect, and perfect doesn't = good anyway. All we can do try our best, right?
Hang in there, and thanks again for sharing!

Brenda said...

I figured it was a joke. I think I'm a pretty great mom, too. I mean, she's happy, healthy and we're very affectionate. But, apparently we don't judge parenting abilities by the happiness and development of our kids anymore. It's all about organic snacks and access to licensed characters.

Sorry if my sarcasm was lost in translation.

Lauren said...

Thanks Brenda! Not lost, just wanted everyone to know for sure that my post was a bit tongue-in-cheek.
Thanks again for your input! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that sticking with it and not running away (my 2nd biggest fear) is exactly what makes you a good Mom.... Laura