On What Makes Me A Sh*tty MomKatherine Stone
It’s Saturday, 9:30am. I’m swaddled in my down comforter, lying in bed thinking perhaps I’ll get up at some point and scrounge up a latte. My children have been awake since 7am, but have they disturbed me in any way? Even one single peep?
Not a chance.
Do you know why? Because I’m a sh*tty mom.
According to the snicker-worthy new book Sh*tty Mom, there are a number of ways in which you can join the sh*tty mom club, one of which is sleeping in late on the weekends. I win!
I believe I may be the queen of sleeping in. I schooled my children in the art of making their own cereal. I’ve carefully instructed them how to turn on the TV and find either “Top Gear” or “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” on the DirecTV DVR. I’ve cultivated a close relationship between them so that they enjoy playing together. And I’ve warned them in no uncertain terms not to wake mama up on the weekends for something stupid. If there’s an event that would necessitate the dialing of 9-1-1, fine. Otherwise, think it through very carefully.
Maybe it’s not me and my parenting skills, maybe I just have the greatest kids in the world, but they rarely if ever disturb me when I’m sleeping in on the weekends. I’m very happy about this arrangement and they seem none the worse for wear. And while they’re now 6 and 11, they’ve been doing this since they were much younger.
I also gave up sending thank-you notes years ago, by the way, because apparently I have no couth and also because I think they’re a waste of time. What the heck is the point of writing on a piece of paper, exchanging the piece of paper, the intended party reading that piece of paper in 2.3 seconds and then tossing that piece of paper in the trash? (Oops, I mean, recycling bin.) How much of our gross domestic production would be saved annually in paper manufacturing and handwriting and envelope licking and trash throwing if we stopped this silliness? A sh*t-ton, I tell you. Yet another sign, according to authors Laurie Kilmartin, Karen Moline, Alicia Ybarbo and Mary Ann Zoellner, that I’m a sh*tty mom.
I feel the same way about making beds, which means you’ll probably dislike me even more now. Whatever.
I love the idea of Sh*tty Mom, even though I know some people will Not. Get. It. They won’t see the humor. They’ll carp about the language. They’ll crab about the fact that this book promotes laziness and a lackadaisical attitude about parenting. They’ll say that caring mothers would never have this attitude. I admit there are things in this book that I have not done and likely never would (see also: I’ve never used Benadryl to put my kids to sleep, and no I’m not judging if you have). However, I think the concept is fabulous. There’s no sense in trying to be perfect and there’s no sense in trying to do every single thing that the proverbial “good mom” does. It will drive you insane, and I know a little bit about being insane. It’s better to do your best, pick your battles, and laugh at the trials and tribulations of motherhood, and Sh*tty Mom will surely make you laugh.
I don’t adhere to the principle that I must be fully engaged in my children at all times. I believe my job is to make sure they’re learning in school and doing their best, to feed them healthy food and make sure they are bathed, to provide for their general welfare, to raise them to be kind people, to help them learn to navigate through life’s challenges, to make sure they know I love them like crazy, to laugh at fart jokes, and to teach them independence so they’ll be ready to go off and do things on their own. Without me.
Those things do not require me to send thank you notes, or to ferry them to 236 different after-school activities, or to get up early on weekends. I’m okay with them playing in the rain, and getting dirty, and using the five-second rule, and playing by themselves for God’s sake because I have a deadline and NO I DON’T want to play family!
Sh*tty Mom‘s authors explain that one of the worst children’s books ever is The Giving Tree because “any mom who follows the parenting model of the protagonist … is creating a monster. An entitled a**hole who will expect the women in his life to allow themselves to be dismembered in the pursuit of temporary happiness.” Amen. I am fully against proverbial dismemberment for the sake of mothering, and yet I see moms (myself included) flagellating themselves nonstop for not having done it. This needs to stop. Better to embrace being a sh*tty mom than to find yourself sitting in an empty nest in a few years devoid of any sense of humor and missing your limbs
When my kids saw the cover of Sh*tty Mom, they laughed. They said the picture of a mom holding her coffee in one hand and her smartphone in the other looks verrrrrry familiar. They also said I’m the world’s best mom. So there.
Sh*tty moms rule.
Photo credit: Abrams Books
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