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 the Last Woman on Earth With an Only Child?

It sure feels like it.

A while back, I met a woman at a party who discovered I too had just one child. She scooped me up into her arms, gave me a bear hug, and exclaimed, “I thought I was the only one!”

Oh no sister, you are not alone. Word on the street is one in five families have only children.  Hmm, interesting. So why do I feel like I belong on the endangered species list because I have an only child?


I have run into many a mommy who has Spanish Inquisitioned me about my singular sensation:  “Is she your only one?” Yes. “Do you think you will have more?” Maybe, er, I don’t know. I’m not a soothsayer. “Did you plan to just have one?” Well no, it just kind of happened that way. (And my personal favorite) “Won’t your daughter be lonely?” We enjoy making her feel like crap.

Really?  At one point I started making up random medical reasons like, “I’m just not too sure about my uterus.”

While not ALL mommies have this mind-set (of course not!), there have been many who have given me the eyeball, slowly backed away, and then sat down with a gaggle of pregnant women so as to not catch my “small family syndrome.”

There seems to be some type of public shame for having just one child. I feel as though I should shroud my face and live on the outskirts of town. I don’t see why we can’t all get along. So I have one child and you have four, big whoop. We are both parents, I carried and birthed my child just like you. I breast fed and got up in the middle of the night to calm a sick child. I’ve been puked on and pooped on. While I can’t imagine what it is like to juggle four different children, is it really necessary to have an elitist attitude? Is there some type of “Be Like The Duggars” award that I am unaware of? Are we only-child-raisers not considered a family by U.S. standards?

I’ll be honest – third grader honest – the questions and superior attitude hurt my feelings.

And guess what? That “look how many kids I have, it’s too bad about your solitary daughter” mentality is hurting my child’s feelings too, so quit it. She’s not Orphan Annie.  She’s a little girl who has a dog instead of a sister. Geez people, haven’t you heard the bragging rights about being Numero Uno?

So I’m putting my foot down and squashing this “I’m on this side, you’re on that side” separation like a dirty bug. Let’s flip the script and talk about all the Pros about being the parent of an only child:

1)      We can all comfortably fit into a Mini Cooper.

2)      When the three of us walk down the street, we can form a perfect triangle.

3)      ONE college tuition…or tuition to Barbizon, whichever.

4)      I can easily hold my child’s hand while crossing the street and a large tote bag.

5)      I save time by calling just one child’s name to dinner, instead of going down a list.

6)      I’ve never heard a bank robber say: “I did it because I was an only child!”

7)      Famous only children: Robin Williams (Academy Award Winner), Natalie Portman (Academy Award Winner), Rudy Giuliani (Mayor of NYC), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Kick ass basketball player, and top notch actor in Airplane!), FDR (President of the United States), Cary Grant (swoon), Frank Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, and Robert DiNero, just to name a few. Not too shabby.

8)      When our child has a bad dream, we have plenty of room to snuggle in bed.

9)      I can drag her around on more errands.

10)  I can sit down…fairly often.

And the list goes on and on. I’m sure you can come up with a whole bunch more.

Bottom line – it’s the type of parent you are, no matter how many children you have. While I am far (like pretty damn far) from being the perfect parent, when I look at my girl and all the light she brings into this world and the people she meets, I go ahead and give myself a pat on the back. We are doing A-Okay people.

So when you see my daughter playing in the pool while I sit back and relax while watching her, don’t hate. We’re just like you.

Just a few people less.