May I see a show of hands, of those of you who think or believe (to be true) that you are the worst mother?
Seriously, if I had a dime for every time I thought I was THE world’s worst mother – I could own Microsoft. Or be the female version of Bill Gates.
I know the first time I ever thought I was a really bad mom. It was fall of 1997, I had told my oldest son, the Asperger’s child, that he was like a piece of garbage. Yep, I said those words. They still haunt me. I am sure he remembers those words too, I will have to ask.
Another time I felt like the worst mother was when I removed my middle son from flag football practice. We didn’t know it at the time, but he was allergic to grass – every type of grass known to man we later found out, so after 10 minutes on the field, he was sneezing, coughing, eyes watering and nose running…. I just removed him and told his coach that he quit.
About eight years later, after four months of four allergy shots three times a week, I made him quit that because he was getting migraines within 24 hours of getting the shots. He missed a LOT of school.
Another time when my baby was in 5th grade, we pulled him into the car to get him to go to class – I called the school police to escort him once we got him to the parking lot – into the school. Only he wasn’t getting out of the car so the principal came out and got him. Sat him in her office for entire school day.
That’s when we signed him out of public school and started home schooling him. We found out a little later why he was insistent on not going – his teacher embarrassed him in front of the class and made several comments which were inappropriate (in general) to fifth graders. It had been going on for a few weeks. Naturally I complained and naturally the school stood behind the tenured teacher. Since this happened, he now goes to an alternative school and while he still hates school, it’s a much better fit.
I remember when I was a very young mother, I think my oldest was 9 months old. We were on a flight and my son was crying uncontrollably (he was sick with an ear infection). I had one person give me money – to make him stop crying, and another told me to read a parenting book because apparently, I was a bad mother.
I let my kids eat whatever they want for breakfast, including pizza, leftover dinner, rice & beans, whatever. It’s their body – they know what they want.
When we were in Maine one summer, I signed up my then four year old for swim lessons. When the swim instructor called their name, your child was supposed to jump into the pool. When it was my son’s turn, he walked over to the edge, looked in the pool, then turned around and walked away. He was obviously too scared. So, what did I do? I let him quit. I figured he was not ready.
I don’t force my kids to make their beds. I think their room is their sanctuary.
I don’t make my kids ask to be excused from the dinner table. Heck, I’m happy they show up.
Oh, I just thought of a really good story of horrible parenting…
When my two little ones were very small, maybe five and three, they knocked on the front door of the house. I answered the door, saw who it was, wondering what in the heck they were doing outside. They were just playing nicely in their bedroom. OR SO I THOUGHT.
When I got them inside, I asked them how they got out. “The window.” I walked over to their bedroom, and sure enough, their window was opened. BUT what I saw in addition to their window being opened was an opened pack of Claritin tablets. There were 20 in the pack. The pack was EMPTY.
I asked them if they had taken any. Of course, we knew the answer to that. I didn’t blame them, they were the minty dissolving tablets, and tasted really good.
I ended up taking them to the emergency room to get their stomachs pumped – at least that’s what they did when I drank silver polish when I was a little one…. But they didn’t do that. They made them drink a charcoal “beverage.” Waited three hours. They were fine. Not tired or hyper. Normal.
Naturally, they interviewed me and asked where I had been during the ingesting… I told them that I was in the house blow drying my hair most likely. They said if it happened again, they would call DYFS. Crap.
For those of you who want to know where the boys found the pills… they were in the back of a higher cabinet. They must’ve climbed on top of the kitchen counter, pulled open the cabinet and found them. Since they took them every night for allergies, I guess they loved the flavor and wanted more.??
Ok, to be fair, I must bring up a situation with my husband and the two little ones. Several years ago, we were on a transatlantic flight, returning to Florida. Unfortunately, we were not able to get seats together. I sat farther back in the plane. After a while I made my way up the aisle to check on everyone. What did I see? My husband, my daughter (she was old enough) and my two little guys, ages eight and ten watching TED! Ted, rated R. Holy cow. I nearly clobbered my husband. The kids were all enjoying and laughing… but come on!
I was speaking to a friend of recently, I asked her if she ever thought she was a bad mom. Her retort, “Got an hour?” She said sometimes she doesn’t enforce the rules – for example, if they make a mess and they don’t clean up their mess she guilts them into cleaning. But most of the time they don’t clean their mess so she does it because it will never get done if she doesn’t do it.
Of course, there are many other areas of bad mothering, too small to write about. Like allowing my kids to swear in their bedrooms with the doors closed.
But it’s wise to remember an old European proverb – “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”