I read something yesterday that I’m rather obsessing about. Go figure. Me, obsess. I can’t even give you any context, because it was in an old issue of Parent’s magazine that I was flipping through just seconds before I donated it to the art center at Sweet Pea’s daycare. It didn’t occur to me that I would be obsessing (I give myself far too much credit for being sane and rational) or I would have torn the article out. Actually, I was annoyed that I couldn’t find the “Best Vacations with a Baby!” article promised on the cover. So the following sentence didn’t register with me until later:
“Even though I’m a Cranky Mommy, I do give great hugs.”
Huh? Cranky Mommy? Is this a legit new parenting style? What exactly defines a Cranky Mommy? Are we talking about harping on your kids about keeping the lids on their markers, or a nightly gin soaked crying jag about your saggy breasts and non existent sex life? (But later, when mommy is weepily apologizing for slapping you, there will be hugs! Great hugs!) And how do you know if you’re a Cranky Mommy? I would think that if you suspected this trait you might want to work on letting it go. I’m not Pollyanna, but I don’t want to give myself permission to reside in Crankyville permanently. Do your kids tell you that your Cranky? Your husband? Strangers? None of these scenarios sound appealing to me. And helllooo…they make fanFREAKINGtastic good drugs for that particular affliction. Xanex anyone?
Maybe I’m just not comfortable with the level of candor writers of Parenting forums seem to have as of late. I blame it on the blogosphere. People are just so willing to air their dirty laundry on the interweb. I guess I’m guilty of that too. But I’m here to tell you that you will never see me crowing to a national magazine about how my kids get to see me be a biotch all day long. (Not only because that seems over the top self deprecating, but because THEY DON’T. In general, I attempt to be pleasant to my children. Call me crazy, but Happy Mommy sounds more fun.)
Additionally, I am a little nonplussed by all the Mom bashing in the world of women’s light reading these days. Not that blaming your parents for your life failures is a new thing, but come on. I was thumbing through a special feature story for Mother’s Day where several authors were asked to reflect on the things their mothers were right about. And I swear that every single one of them was all, “Lets see…for the most part she sucked, but after years of therapy I can tell you that she did teach me how to mix an excellent dirty martini. And that has served me well.”
Maybe we have swung a little too far on the “June Cleaver I am not” pendulum. It’s Ok not to be perfect mothers. (Thank ya Jesus!) It’s Ok to want a life that includes some fulfilling adult activities. When Mommy is happy evahbody happy. Got it. But. Erm. I dunno. Maybe we also need to adopt a little bit of the Thumper credo when we are writing about our moms in a magazine that everyone we know – including our moms – is going to read. “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all.”
Perhaps that’s too sugar coated? Really I’m just hoping that when Sweet Pea and Will become successful/famous somethings or other, I will never be caught off guard by very public, and very detailed descriptions of all the ways I failed them as a mother. (Not enough sunscreen! Incorrect interpretation of preschool art project! Attempted humor at the expense of children’s dancing skills! Too hungover to make pancakes that one morning! Inability to keep eye rolls to myself! Swearing! Bad haircuts! Overly critical of hot new girlfriend! Can’t make nice with that other mom at playgroup! Birthday party invitation screening! Ban on neon blue yogurt tubes! Sweet Pea got to go to Disneyland more times that Will!)
Fantastic Mom who might be a little obsessed with hand washing and clutter control is fine. Cranky Mom? Wince. I sure hope not.