Wednesday, November 2, 2016

It's good for the soul

A dear friend of mine recently wrote and thanked me for "teaching her how to mom." And while I love her with all my heart for saying that, I have to say to her publicly ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FREAKING MIND?! First, because she was already an awesome mom and second, she must not know me at all. Because I am not the kind of mom like the ones on the Mother's Day cards who are all sweet all the time and never say a harsh word and I have never made anything in my life that is Pinterest worthy and I can't sew a buttonhole and last year I tried to feed my friends and their children raw turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. And when someone asked me to write down all our house rules, well, the only one I could think of was no sticking out your tongue except at King George, which is not exactly Great Mom material. What I think she meant was that by watching me, she knew she couldn't be all that bad, so in that spirit, here are some other horrible parenting mistakes I have made which will make you all feel better about yourselves and your parenting skills.

I let my children choose and sometimes make their own Halloween costumes. That means that sometimes they are later embarrassed by how strange their costume looks. But it also means they looked like this on Monday:
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I know! Pretty amazing and almost Pinterest worthy, yes? But there were a couple of moments when they were ironing on the reflective tape when they said are you actually really not going to help me with this and I replied no, it will be good for you. What I meant was I was still waiting for that story to load on Facebook so I could comment on it, but whatever.

It also meant that Child 1 and her best friend looked like this, which if you can't tell are the kids from "Stranger Things". And she nailed it so hard that the actor she is dressed like actually liked her photo on Instagram. So parenting success right there! And the best part was I didn't have to do a thing except listen to her whine for years about how she was the only princess without a wand and a crown because, and I know this from Harry Potter, princesses don't have wands! Witches do and when she was Hermione Granger for three years in a row, I knit her a scarf just like the one in the movie and then when the stupid producer changed the pattern in the third film, I knit her a new one. Ugh. I still hate the third film for that very reason.

I never taught the children to read. Not even one of them. I just threw the books at them and they picked it up on their own. Well, not literally threw them, but just about. With the first two, when the teacher asked how long had she been reading, I actually replied she can't read! Both times. With the third, I finally figured it out and said oh for about a year (I had no idea.) I mean, how am I supposed to know she can read when I am the one reading all the bedtime stories! I was sooooo glad when we could stop that routine because I could say no, you read this fabulous Barbie does gymnastics book to me since you can read! And then I could doze off because there is nothing more boring than a Barbie book besides maybe Barney.

I would not let them watch Barney. I may have also told them Bananas in Pajamas was canceled when it wasn't and that the video store didn't have Bananas in Pajamas any more when it still did. And when one of them wanted to be a Banana in pajamas for Halloween, I may have pretended I didn't hear her and made her a cowgirl costume instead. They were matching cowgirl costumes and did I mention I actually made them? Yep. Probably not Pinterest worthy, but I was also 8 1/2 months pregnant with Child 3, so I should get a medal for those costumes.

I never once hired a magician or a cowboy or a bouncy castle for their birthday parties. I never took them and all of their friends to the mall to one of those stores where you make the bear or have tea with your really expensive doll and her friends for like $45 per person. I sometimes didn't even buy decorations because one was born near Halloween and one near Christmas, so why do I have to also have balloons and streamers? And sometimes, I would just buy the decorations and leave them in the bag and let the children put them up at the beginning of the party. You know. As an activity. Not because I was too tired to do it myself. I also let them decorate all the cakes because it was funnier, especially the year that Child 2 turned 16 and they made her candles say 61. And they wrote something like Happy Birthday Old Man on it and we laughed and laughed.

In over 20 years, the only times I've been successful in getting them to go to be on time is when they are sick. Seriously, even during the Barbie reading years they were never in bed before 9 and often later than that. Husband wasn't much better at it than me. I used to work nights and I'd come home after 11 and everyone would still be awake and giggling and would hear me coming up the stairs and would sometimes run and jump in bed and pretend snore. Or sometimes just go jump on my bed which they loved to do. Oh, I also let my children jump on the bed.

Don't tell Husband, but we also ate in the living room, or the family room, and often during those 365 bad days, in my bedroom while sitting on my bed watching reality TV. About mediums or beauty pageants or housewives or bossy cake makers. Or bridal dress shopping. That one was a favorite. And even though I am a feminist, I encouraged my children to fantasize about big poofy dresses and debate whether or not a sweetheart neckline is the way to go and do they like crystals or lace or crystals AND lace and should you wear cowboy boots. The answer to that last one is yes, if you are having the wedding in Texas, and pretty much no, not ever if you are in New York.

I have done some things that are right. No really! Give me a minute and I'll think of some. OK, they all know how to open a can of soup. With a manual can-opener. And to pour it in a pot and cook it on an actual stove. They know how to do this because sometimes they say what's for dinner and I say whatever you want to fix because I am too tired. And then they asked how to make soup and I said the directions are right on the can. And since they taught themselves how to read, they could make soup. I rest my case! Oh, and also when we all went to London and saw a painting of King George III, they all stuck out their tongues. Go ahead and give it a try. Feel the rebellion! It's better than a brownie, I promise.

Image result for King george painting windsor castle.