Am I Really A So-So Parent?


We live in a world of super moms and overachievers. Those individuals who work full time, volunteer out the waazoo, have multiple children, and good hair. People who really excel at this parenting game.

I am not one of those people.

Mother’s Day was this past Sunday, and a certain gift got me thinking about what it means to be a mom.

My seven year old gave me a homemade Mother’s Day card. I cannot tell you how much I adore this card.

Here’s what I learned: My daughter thinks I am the best cook ever.

Because I make hot dogs.

No, not cookies, not even spaghetti, but hot dogs. I’m pretty sure franks are one step away from Fritos.

If that’s not mailing it in then I don’t know what is.

Last week, NBA MVP recipient, Kevin Durant tearfully thanked his mom. She was a young, single parent, raising two boys. She kept her kids off the street and made sure they always ate, even if she went to bed hungry.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a MOM.

I have one child. I often worry about all the screwing up I do because there are no take backs. That’s it. There is no number two, or three child for me to perfect my parenting skills. It’s like trying to qualify for the Olympics: I have one chance, if I don’t get it right the first time – Game Over people.

I often think if my daughter ever writes a tell-all book, the title will most likely be: “The Scurvy Diaries. Never Tried A Tangelo – Mom Said It Wasn’t Worth the Argument to Eat My Fruit.”

Proof. Never mind the age up top.

Proof. Never mind the age up top.

Allow me to illustrate my parental mediocrity:

Diet/Cooking: I will never be known for my homemade meatballs or tasty knish. (Please see frankfurter reference above.)

Discipline: I’m all over the place with this one. Sometimes, I’m fair and she receives a consequence for the wrong behavior. No yelling. Other times I take it personally if she doesn’t make her bed/talks back to me/acts like she is seven. I usually end up re-enacting a scene from Days of Our Lives, “How could you do this?! Why, oh God, Why?” Followed by some melodramatic hands over the face. No consequence. Usually because I over-exerted myself from my dramatic performance.

Appearance: I cannot tell you how thankful I am she has to wear a uniform. When she does have the opportunity to wear layman’s clothes, people stare at me as if they are about to call CPS. Plaids, combined with stripes, with some polka dots mixed in. At one point I almost brought her to the Ophthalmologist to get her eyesight looked at. I have actually uttered the words, “I can’t let you leave the house like this.” More often, I just go with it. If she’s happy wearing something off the Bozo the Clown line, so be it.

Hair: So many moms are good at hair. I see French Braids and up-dos and cute pony tails. I gave up a long time ago. My daughter looks like Janice Joplin at a hair brush burning event…after she ran through a forest. For special events, the best I can do is use hot rollers on her mop. Also, the rollers are mine from the 80s.

TV/Computer Time: Most families have set television and computer times. Our television is on Sam and Cat 24/7. Oh we have rules, we just forget them a couple days later.

Homework/Academics: Right now her homework is like my homework too. I usually need to explain and go over things with her. This is not a complaint, I like working with her, but I have never uttered the words, “Let’s find some extra math work online. Maybe logarithms!” That Tiger Mom lady would have a stroke if she ever came over to our house.

Even though I won’t be nominated for any parenting awards, I love motherhood. If it weren’t for that one small, feisty child, I wouldn’t be fortunate enough to write about how average I am. Luckily, my little person seems pretty content with me too.

So maybe I will try a little harder, go that extra parenting mile with crafts, chore charts, and books on “gentle” rule setting.

Right after I get these hot dogs in the microwave. Since I forgot to defrost the chicken. Again.

Am I Really Back in the Saddle, But My Chaps are Chaffing Me?

          And just like that – I have a job.

            This is what I want everyone to do right now:  stand up and start clapping.

            No, not for me, for all the working moms out there making it happen every day. I seriously don’t know how they do it five days a week, year-round.

            This sh*t is tiring.

            Oh sure, I went back to work right after my daughter was born, but she wasn’t sleeping through the night at that point and my boobs were like cow utters, so I had no idea what was going on.  Then I quit four months later.

            Now – I am wide awake and have realized a few things:

1)      I have no pants. Who doesn’t have any pants? Me apparently. Well, I have one pair of pants which are slightly large and have a late nineties vibe to them. That goes for most of my dress clothing I try to pull off as “business casual.” I miss my uniform of jeans and a t-shirt.

2)      Those who go to a workplace must shower and be presentable every morning. I cried a little when I couldn’t just show up to school in my pajamas and shoo my daughter out of the car. I also have to brush my hair more.

3)      Nightly baths for my daughter are a crap shoot. After preparing dinner, making threats to complete homework (“All you have to do is color every other triangle for Chrissake!”), throwing in a load of laundry, and trying to clean up said dinner; child cleanliness goes out the window. Don’t call CPS.

4)      Dog? What dog? Sorry chump, your daily walks take a back seat to dinner. Which leads me to…

5)      …Dinner – you evil b*tch. It shows up every night, pans naked and waiting. I’ve been making a lot of pasta and pre-made skillet meals.  The inmates are planning a coup. I’m not fooling anyone.

6)      Remember when I could flex? Work outs have gone from a pleasant hour of body pump to, “If I skip lunch, maybe I can run around the parking lot for twenty minutes.”

I know all you mommies who have been at this game since the beginning are laughing at me. But I am getting the hang of things.  I show up to work on time (I know, I can’t believe it either!), I am earning a paycheck, and it feels good to be using parts of my brain that were once solely reserved for: “Did she eat? Did she poop? Are we out of Goldfish? Wait, did you say that she ate?”

While it is a change to my routine, my family’s routine, and can be a bit daunting at times, it feels good to be back in the saddle.

That and I bought two new pairs of pants.

Am I Really Bribing My Child With McDonald’s/Candy/A Ghetto Toy from CVS…Again?

Yesterday it rained….a crap-ton of eye boogers. Yep, my little person was sent home with conjunctivitis.  Awesome.

In speaking with the pediatrician’s office, the nurse asked if I would prefer eye drops or ointment for the situation.

“Err…which one will stop my daughter from kicking me in the bladder when I try to give it to her?” I inquired.

She said neither. So I went with the ointment.

Then the nurse informed me of the application procedure:  “All you do is pull back the lower eye lid and make a pouch with it. Squirt the ointment into the pouch and have your child circle her eyeball around a few times. Oh, and she can’t touch her eyes.”

I think I laughed so hard I almost crashed into a Dunkin Donuts.

Yeah right.

So, I hung up the phone, collected my one-eyed monster from school (apparently communicable viruses are frowned upon), and promised her a new toy at CVS while we waited for her prescription.

Then, I promised McDonald’s for lunch because I had to drag her with me to a commercial audition (I could not have been more excited about kitchen flooring).

When the dreaded moment of eyeball application came, my daughter unraveled. So did I.

“Baby, you can have a cookie. A popsicle? Your name on the jumbotron at a Celtics game?” Then I vice griped her between my legs, anaconda style, pried her lid open and slathered on the juice. All while she screamed to a decibel that I’m pretty sure even Marlee Matlin could hear.

My carrot-dangling tactics do not only reside with medical applications, they have a far wider reach.  School, church, grocery shopping, swim class, airplane rides, my well woman exam (that was a day), and the list goes on.

Commiserating with a fellow mommy, she worried her child would grow up to be a spoiled bully; expecting things for everyday activities.

I told her not to sweat it. That will be society’s problem. Then I peeled out of the school parking lot while throwing old Starbuck’s coffee cups out the window. Just kidding. Maybe.

While attachment parenting enthusiasts and the Dog Whisperer guy are probably shaking their heads at me, I’m here to tell you about the PROS of sweetening the deal for your little people:

1)      A well behaved child…temporarily.  While the results may not last long, you’ll get them.

2)      Looking like a champ donating all that crap to charity. With the amount of trinkets your get roped into buying for your kids you could probably stock a Toys R Us. When you weed through it all you’ll save the day at your local charity/mom club/neighborhood garage sale with all those damn Squinkies and Zoobles.

3)      Keeping your hearing. As previously mentioned children scream, a lot, when they are scared, upset, you name it. Some Scooby Doo fruit snacks can take all that away.

4)      A well stocked pantry. You will need to build up your arsenal when going into bribe mode, so head to your Super Target with your coupons and grab some goods.

5)      Sticker Removal talents. Don’t ask me why, but kids get rewarded with stickers for EVERYTHING. A scratch-n-sniff sticker to a kid is like a new tube of lip gloss to Lady Gaga. Major Score. However, these pieces of joy seem to find their way into the laundry, the back seat of my car, windows, couch cushions, water bottles, and on the dog. In time, you will find ways to get these things off of your home goods while only using three to four curse words.

6)      A well-conditioned child. Just like Pavlov’s Dog, your child will soon learn that, “If mommy gives me these animal crackers while we are at Bob’s Furniture Store, I need to sit down on this hideous zebra-print ottoman and be quiet. Okay lady, you have twenty minutes to shop, make it count.”

While I don’t believe in bribing all the time, I’m not going to stop. Guess what?  I feel less crappy too. No parent wants to scold their child; it’s not fun for either party. So if some new markers and a Hello Kitty eraser help the situation, so be it.

Just don’t offer a new parakeet – that’s just more poop to clean up.