Mommies Dearest

IMG_5867Think back to the first time you realized you were having a baby, the joy, the promise, the way that  you ecstatically mapped out the future, your future, the baby’s future, everyone’s future.

You read a few books and knew everything, no really, like EVERYTHING.

Colic? You were going to beat it. Those terrible two’s were going to have nothing on you. Adolescence was going to be a walk in the park. And acne? Stop! Your kids were going to have perfect diets, filtered water, and plenty of fresh air which meant, of course, the most perfect complexions.

You weren’t just ready. You had all the answers. You were going to breast pump and send the extra to starving kids in Africa. You were going to make all of your own baby food from a garden you were going to start on your window sill. Your kids were never going to know what a chicken nugget was.

That wasn’t it. Your kid was never going to misbehave. Ever! Your kid was never going to say things like, “I hate you,” or, “you suck,” or much worse, yeah, way worse! Nope. Not your kid. You read chapters 3 through 33 of that popular book someone gave you at your baby shower. You got this.

You totally got this. Ha!

If your kid is under 5, skip forward a few paragraphs because you’re still delusional. You have no idea.

Why? Because when people are telling you that you should start a family, pestering you about getting pregnant, and generally harassing you to join the club you can never get out of, they leave out some crucial information. They don’t tell you the part where all kids at some point turn into unrecognizable creatures that do things that are unimaginable.

Don’t believe me? Think back to when you were a teenager. Yeah. Think harder. You know what you were doing.

Oh, and that was before social media, cell phones and 24/7 news. Our parents had the luxury of going bowling or out with their friends and actually bowling and hanging out with their friends. They didn’t track us. They couldn’t. And they didn’t have some stupid moms group that regularly exposed all of the bad things you and your friends did or all of the horrific mommies dearest who couldn’t wait to make themselves feel better about themselves by trashing other kids in those stupid groups.

Nobody warns you. I mean, I warn people, but my reach is sort of limited.

If you’re having your first kid, you may want to skip the rest. There’s nothing you can do now. Your life is pretty much over.

You may escape colic.  God bless you if you do, because it is a special place in Hell. Nobody tells you this, but the terrible two’s don’t actually start until three, just when you think you’ve escaped it, and it typically hits on that day where you’re running out with greasy hair, no bra, and forgot your wallet. In fact, its pretty much a given that it will never happen on that day when your hair and makeup are perfect. Yes. I said that day.

In fact, I promise you that if you leave your house in your pajamas, without brushing your hair, or are in any kind of unkempt state (basically from the time they are born until they are 25) well, that’s most likely going to be the moment your kid will decide to go from cute little Gerber baby to Rosemary’s baby. I promise!

I’m still scarred by the memory of my beautiful daughter, at the age of 3, deciding she had to strip in the middle of a parking lot during a snowstorm because I was silly enough to believe the myth that we would not survive without milk and bread. I can’t remember what I was wearing, but nobody was mistaking me for Gigi Hadid, even if she hadn’t been invented yet.

I will never forget that day. I remember it vividly, the  gorgeous purple faux fur she shed in the supermarket parking lot, the adorable snow boots from some expensive boutique scattered like wreckage, her precious leggings that matched perfectly the tutu dress that was now getting buried in the freshly falling snow, the gallon of milk dropped along the way as I tried deseperately to keep her from flailing herself out of my arms and into a snow bank.

Worse than her actual tantrum were the looks from the other shoppers, other mothers, the Mommies Dearest.

As I struggled to open the car door while wrapping my arms around my practically naked daughter, I scanned the snow looking for the various articles of clothing and then had a moment of panic because I wasn’t sure if I had dropped my keys. I don’t remember how I got her into the car seat, how I managed to strap her in, or what maternal instinct kicked in that spared her life and stopped me from dropping her in the snow and taking off for someplace tropical.

Somehow we made it out of there. I’m pretty sure the milk and boots didn’t.

Nobody offered to help me. The Mommies Dearest just stood there silently shaming me with those awful looks, as if this was the first time any of them had ever seen a kid throwing a tantrum.

I still think about the Mommies Dearest and wish I could go back and mash their faces in the snow. I made a promise that day to never be one of them. I will never be a Mommies Dearest, some awful person who shames other mothers having a tough time.

Kids are awful creatures. They go from adorable little bundles of joy to these things that ooze poop and vomit and then they grow into things called teenagers, and that crap is starting younger and younger, and they find new and improved ways to humiliate you in public,  and they have a brilliant way of doing it at the most opportune times.

The more awful creatures though are the Mommies Dearest. There is a special place in Hell for them.

My kids are all in their 20’s now and despite the horror of that long ago day, there are still times I would give anything to go back to it. I’d hug my daughter a little tighter, yes, during mid fit, and tell her I loved her and that all of those Mommies Dearest  glaring at us were stupid and that one day we were going to laugh about this. And maybe I’d apologize for dressing her up in that tutu dress and the purple faux fur. Not the boots though. They were incredible!

When I see a mom in the store struggling with a kid who is making her sorry for leaving the house, I offer a smile, a sympathetic look, and sometimes a kind word. Because I remember how awful those moments were and how horrible the Mommies Dearest can be.

Being a mommy is one of the greatest things in the world, well, from birth till 2 and then again after 20, so for like 2 and a half  years. But way worse than colic, the terrible twos, teenagers, the I hate you years, and pretty much anything else your kid can put you through are the Mommies Dearest.

Never be a Mommies Dearest.

 

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