Monday, November 23, 2015

10 Reasons I’m a Bad Mom (but not really)

(but not really)

I’ve never been called a bad mom to my face, but it’s been not-so-subtly insinuated. I hear the things moms are publically shamed for doing, and I often think, “Yeah, so? I do that, too.” That’s why I decided to write a short series of posts about it.

I’ll kick it off with this: For all you moms getting stink face from other moms, here’s a fist-bump-blow-it-up for you, sistas, and a list of ten reasons I’m a bad mom, too (but not really).

I let them eat… sugar!
The boys get a small treat almost every day, assuming they eat their meals and healthy snacks as well. Recently, I stopped at a gas station and bought them a small package of cookies. Hey, the boys were being angels for a change, and I was feeling generous. Also, my 4YO is the skinniest thing on two legs, so a few extra calories won’t hurt him.

I give them... juice!
Yes, I am aware that apple juice has sugar. It also has vitamin C and lots of other good things their immune systems need as they go off into their germ-infested preschool. So yep, they get a cup of juice. Every. Single. Day.

I let them… watch TV.
My kiddos get more screen time than any other kids I know (or more than any other moms will admit). It’s all educational shows, mostly Sid the Science Kid and Sesame Street, but that doesn’t stop people from judging me. Look, sometimes I just need twenty minutes to make dinner without a toddler pulling on my leg and crying, especially when Hubs is traveling for work. Elmo and Sid make dinner possible.

I teach them to… share.
Ah, nothing divides moms faster than The Great Sharing Debate. I do not make my boys share, but I try to teach them to share. I think sharing should be child-directed and not micromanaged by mommy. I will guide and encourage them to share because I think it’s the right thing to do, but I will not make them give up a toy just because another child wants it. This means I piss off moms on both sides of the sharing argument. So, yeah, go me.

I say… “just a minute.” 
If I read one more article on how telling your children “just a minute” will scar them for life, I will scream. When I’m making dinner, contaminated up to my elbows in raw chicken guck, and Reid wants me to pick him up, he’s going to have to wait a minute. I’m not communicating to him that dinner is more important than him. Rather, I am communicating that his particular need might not be the most important thing at that particular moment. Basically, I’m trying not to raise a couple of a**holes or give them Salmonella. (Oops, I originally wrote E-coli. Also, a nasty thing I'm not trying to give them, but that's not what I meant. Ha!)

At their preschool, I… do not participate much.
Many moms are super involved at their kids’ schools, and that’s wonderful. I just don’t have the time or, frankly, the desire. I rarely attend the multitude of dinners and potlucks. I do not give up my Saturday to clean the playground. I do not volunteer a bazillion hours for fund raising. Instead, I pay tuition on time, get to know the teachers, attend parent-teacher conferences, and stay involved in how my children are performing at school. Beyond that? Nope.

My 4YO can quote… “Baby Got Back.”
Quinn’s never actually heard the song (to my knowledge), but if you say “double up,” he’ll holla back with a “UH! UH!” And if when Reid sings “Uptown funk you up,” it sounds like he’s singing “up down f**k you up,” it’s because he is. And that’s just funny.

I use a… reward chart.
We’ve all heard that rewards teach children only to help when there’s something in it for them. I say, whatever. Quinn gets stars on his chart for vacuuming, taking a “polite bite” of new foods, following house rules, etc. When he’s earned twenty stars, he gets two dollars in his money jar. When he wants a new toy, he buys it. Quinn’s learning to take pride in a job well done, the importance of saving money, and how to work for what he wants. He’s also learning to respect and value his belongings, as well as those of others. And the floor gets cleaned every night, so BONUS!

In front of my kids, I…. use my phone.
It’s almost 2016, people. I use my phone to navigate in the car, look up answers to Quinn’s 80 million questions, send pictures of our adorable children to Hubs (and post them on Instagram), text our friends to make play date plans, and stream “Uptown Funk” on demand. And sometimes when they’re both happily watching Thomas and Friends, I will nerd out with my word game app. #SorryNotSorry

Sometimes I… yell.
I’m not proud of this one, but I’m guilty of yelling. When both boys are screaming like banshees or fighting over toys, they pay no attention to my gentle admonishments or attempts at redirection. But a loud, firm “Hey! Knock it off!” works like a charm. I don’t like to yell, but it happens and I make an effort to apologize to them when it does.

There. Do you feel better about your own parenting now? I hope so. We’re all human, so can we just stop with the mom shaming already? I do things differently than you do, you do things differently than I do, and all of our kids are going to be fine. Now please excuse me while pour a glass of wine and check out Facebook while my boys watch another episode of Dinosaur Train.