Thursday, January 7, 2010

mother of the year...?

I was watching a “momversation” on a blog I read, which is a little video of several mothers talking about one subject, ranging from childbirth to discipline to schools, etc.  This particular one was all about these mothers' worst parenting moments. It included several women telling stories about all the things that they might have done that were so terrible to their children.  I got to the middle of the second story (which was about how the mom gave the child her set of keys while strapping her in the car seat, and then while she walked around the car to get in, the child locked the car door) and I started tuning out. Seriously. First of all, why would you give your 18-month-old child your only set of keys and then shut the door? And secondly, that’s IT? THAT is the terrible parenting moment? One other mother told a story about how her child had been pressing her buttons all day long and at bath time, she had to call her husband to come help because she might do harm to the child. Uh. I turned it off at this point, because it occurred to me that something might be wrong with me. Why didn’t either of these stories seem all that terrible to me? I kept waiting for the mom to say that she gave her kids Benadryl so that everyone would go to sleep at a decent hour, or that she has bribed them with everything from a new pet to a Disneyworld vacation. Not that I would…er…consider doing either of this things. Moving right along…
I feel like we are a generation of parents who are raising a new generation of whiney brats. Really. We do EVERYTHING for our children and then we are shocked when they can’t figure out how to act like human beings. We never say NO to our kids and then wonder why they are little assholes.  Maybe this “momversation” struck me as so insane because I can think of a plethora of things I’ve done to my kids that some might consider terrible parenting moments – and not one of them had to do with keys or the possibility of losing my temper.  Honestly, I had never even considered them to be parenting shortcomings on my behalf until I had some overly happy, perfectly coifed mother point it out to me.  My kids are safe and loved.  I would never, ever do physical harm to them, but I have certainly lost my temper, and while I’m not proud of it, I think it’s important for our children to know that we are human.  Human beings have emotions, we lose our cool – and sometimes our kids need to know when they’ve upset us.  I don’t have much of an internal editor, so sometimes I say things that I wish I could take back…and the lesson I feel like my kids (and I) learn from this is that we sit down and talk about why I might have freaked out, or why getting angry is sometimes a very healthy, good thing.
I’m not proposing we all lose our shit in front of our kids, and I also know that in a perfect world, I wouldn’t even be writing about this, but I was struck by my own reaction to what I heard these other mothers saying.  I worry about moms these days. I worry that we have to talk about our shortcomings like they’re harming our children or something to be sorry about; and we constantly feel like we should make excuses for being emotional or saying something we wish we hadn’t.  Sheesh. If I had a dime for everything I have said in the past that I wish I had thought about more – I would probably be so wealthy that I would have already hired a lovely nanny to raise my children and I wouldn’t be thinking about this stuff at all. I wonder, what are some of your “worst parenting” moments?


  1. Not 5 minutes ago, Erin did a reverse roll back flip fall thing off of the couch not two feet away from me. It did not go as she intended, I was terrified she broke her neck.

    Never underestimate the recuperative powers of M&Ms...

    I have two rules in my (almost) 2 years of parenting.

    (BTW, this is just prognosticating, not directed at anyone.) :)

    1) Your child's needs need to be your priority. (Not spoiled, not giving them everything they want, but they need to come first.) People that don't take care of their children because its inconvenient bug the hell of out of me. There's nothing wrong with needing time for yourself, but you're no longer most important in your own life.

    2) Try not to lose your shit in the emergency room. It's Daddy's job to keep it together, and he can lose his shit later on after everything is ok and nobody is looking.


  2. I avoid all bad parenting moments by allowing Madelyn to live outside in a crate and walking her 3 times a day. It works great in CA, but here in NC the snow has been a little rough on her, but I threw some extra blankets out and I bring her in twice a day to eat and I make sure her water isn't frozen.

    I started doing this when I was afraid one day that I would lose my temper with her or hand her some really dangerous keys to play with. I figured this was the best option for all of us.

  3. I love this post Kate. I have 3 children; 18, 13 and 9 so as you can imagine I have had my share of "not so proud" moments. I subscribe to "because I say so" parenting- not "love and logic" parenting. I could write a whole page about regrets and not-so-proud moments....but overall I feel pretty happy about my life as a parent. You seem to have a firm grasp yourself! -Candy

  4. Candy, I remember when Jewel was just a baby and I'm still in awe of what a strong young woman you were and are. particularly now that I think about how much I screw up with my kids and I'm in my mid 30s! I'm all about "because I say so" parenting and I'm sure I'll embrace it more the older my girls get - either that, or I'm going to send them to live with you!