Bad Mother Seeking Other Bad Mothers


I am a bad mother. At least if you judge me by the actions of my children. You’d think I’m alone in this bad mother thing based on the lack of other mothers speaking openly about their darling little wayward teens. Admitting that your  kids can be little shizzy wucks seems to be the same as saying you contracted ebola. Nobody will look you directly in the eye and most will suddenly remember that they left their house on fire and beat a hasty exit.

Well, all except those with infants, toddlers, and kids under the age of 10. They stick around because they love nothing more than to tell you all of the ways you went wrong and all of the ways they’re going to beat the bad teenager odds. They have read every important child rearing book cover to cover. They’ve also read and re-read the best parenting articles that can be found on the internet. They have gleaned all of the best tips and are more than happy to explain to you that they know everything there is to know about parenting. Of course I have to laugh rather hysterically because I was them once. Well, sort of. Thankfully I can say that i never uttered that dreaded phrase, “not my kid.” Geez Louise, never!

Even more comical than the fantasies in those parenting books are the mothers who sit around in their mommy and me classes and talk about the way they are going to monitor their kids’ social media. Ba and freaking hoo ha!!!! Which accounts will you be monitoring? The actual account they use or the fake one the little darling has set up right before stoically handing over all of the passwords. If it makes you feel better to take the passwords then by all means, do it, but please stop fooling yourself. That account is as fake as a $3 bill. Wait. Let me correct that. All of those accounts are fake. They’re not even using those apps any longer. They are about 50 new apps that you’ve probably never even  heard of and by the time you learn what they are and how they work they will have moved on to the next new app designed to evade parental surveillance.

But forget those moms. They’re actually good for a laugh. I mean, that is if you can find some of the moms who will laugh with you while talking about how they not only let their kids live through colic but that they’d trade their one rotten teenager for 27 colicky babies.

Where are all of the articles titled, “That Time I Accidentally Saw a Picture of My Son Wearing a Gas Mask Bong on Social Media,” in the parenting sections of HuffPo? When will the baby books include chapters called, “Don’t Pull Your Hair Out, Drink Wine Instead,” or “What to Do When No Doesn’t Work and Neither Does Taking Away All of Their Shit.”

Where are the How To Sections that tell you “How To Continuously Scream ‘F*&k’ Without Your Neighbors Hearing,” and don’t forget, “How To Walk Out of the House Looking Like a Million Dollars Minutes After the Nuclear Brawl,” all because you are on your way to a school concert or play or some other function where you have to present your best mommy face.

I know there are others out there just like me. I know that they want to vomit when some mother of a toddler asks  if you tried tough love.  How about the mothers with one daughter, or two that are five years apart? They could never possible understand why your sons, two years apart, think every second of every day is the WWE. So when they tell you that you should tell them to stop fighting (like you never thought of that one) admit it, not only do you want to punch them in their stupid face but you also silently wish you could be there the first time their little sweetie walks in reeking of weed or alcohol or both. Then you feel bad, not because you want to punch their stupid face but because you never wish bad things on kids not even kids of annoyingly stupid mothers.

But really what you want more than anything in the world is to have other mothers to share all of the dirty details with, moms who won’t look at you like you suck but will nod with understanding and tell you all about their own discoveries. And in my fantasy we both pull out contraband we found while putting away laundry and decide its too good to waste. That would be the best kind of bad mommy playdate ever.

In the end, we do the best we can and the hope is that when our kids do some of the things that teenagers are famous for doing that other moms won’t be so quick to  feel superior or even offer parenting advice. It would be great if we realized we’re all in this together and offered compassion instead of judgment. I guess though for now I’ll just call it to be continued…..

The Child Support Jackpot




Last night I put my feet up and said, “kids, come on downstairs. Mommy collects child support and it’s the same as hitting the lottery so let’s live it up.” Ok, so I never said that because, guess what, child support is not, contrary to what some believe, the same as winning the lottery, hitting a jackpot or even the road to riches.




Not clear enough for you? Hmm. Well, only one parent gets to say, “I only have to pay $(amount) each month and not a penny more, unless I feel like it.” That parent is not me. I get to pay that same amount monthly, plus more. I know. Totally crazy.


I get a lot of comments from people about child support, because it seems to be everyone’s business. Some people have actually taken it upon themselves to discuss it with my kids and explain to them what a hardship it is to pay child support. You know, because their gold digging child support collecting ho of a mother is just living in the lap of luxury cashing those checks from a private yacht in the South of France and not contributing to their support in any way.


As the gold digging child support collecting ho, I’d like to clear up a few misconceptions. I did not try to trap him with a kids. We both entered willingly into what turned out to be a huge mistake of a relationship. Only one of us left that entanglement with the primary care of kids.


That primary care includes maintaining a household with bedrooms for those kids, actual bedrooms. I couldn’t throw all of them into one room together regardless of age and/or sex. I had to actually have rooms for them, like as in somewhere they could live in and treat as if it were their very own home. I know. More craziness, right?


The other part that comes with that is staying within a school district. No going wherever was cheapest. Nope. Keeping kids in their schools means staying within the boundaries of the district. There was no moving a town or two over following cheap or even free rents. Boy do I wish I didn’t have to worry about bedrooms or school district. My housing costs could have been much substantially lower. As in a lot less money.


Then there are the other hidden bonuses that come with being the custodial parent. You know, like when the kids get sick you get to be the one to call in sick and be there for them, all of the time, like a 24/7 kind of there, not just every other weekend which really amounts to FOUR days a month. Four days a month? Geez. I could do a lot with those other 26 or 27 days a month, but I sort of decided when I opted for the epidural and pushed those kids out that I was in it for the long haul and not just FOUR days a month.


Then there are the hidden costs. Come on. If you have kids you know what I’m talking about. $20 here, $10 there, and that’s lowballing it. How often do your kids come to you and need money to go to bowling or ice-skating or for Slurpee’s? All that stuff adds up, and no, there’s no pro rata split for the extra fun stuff. It’s all on you. And yes, I know that “no” is a word. I say it more often that I would like to admit.


And what if, let’s say, you share custody with someone who goes months, even years without seeing the products of your love match or worst mistake, whatever you want to call it? Who foots the bill for all the fun stuff then, as in on what should be their visitation? Um, the custodial parent, also known as the gold digging child support collecting ho. When a parent doesn’t exercise their right to visitation and also doesn’t send a check to cover the essential and non-essentials of those four days a month, surprisingly that can add up in many ways. Who’d a thought?


But basically that means that despite that monthly check that can sometimes be late or short, the gold digging child support collecting ho gets to eat the cost on those four days a month too, essentially leaving one parent free and clear to live life and send a text on occasion that’s really the equivalent of a “wish you were here” type post card.


Before you accuse me of complaining, I’m not. Well not about the parenting part. At the end of the day, after breaking up fights over important things like ice, Gameboys and explaining for the hundredth time to my son why he has to stop pinning his sister until she screams, “tap out,” I enjoy my kids, even when I want to kill them. I got to be there for those nights where we read the same story, “one more time,” a million times and those nights where they were too old for bedtime and could hang out with their old mom and watch a movie. I have gotten to know and love their friends and been there to watch as they developed their first crushes and even had their first glimpse of heartbreak. I got to be their mother and that’s an awesome thing.


So for those who think I hit some awesome jackpot, I did, but it wasn’t financial. I collected support but I wasn’t looking to score. I was looking to be a mother and be there for my kids in all the ways that are important. Some people may think I’m a gold digging child support collecting ho, and I’m ok with that. Like I tell my kids, you can’t fix stupid, and there’s a lot of stupid out there.




Why Forcing My Son to Go to College Was a Mistake


I knew better  but I let that whole being judged by society thing affect my decision. You know, the thing we teach our kids to stand up against? Don’t give in to peer pressure? Well I gave in, and boy did my son show me.

My beautiful little baby, the kid who idolized me and wrote stories about me in school and every year chose me as his hero…well he morphed into this creature that was unrecognizable. My perfect little baby that allowed me to believe strange fantasies about being a perfect mother and how bad teenagers happened to bad mothers, well, somehow I must have become that bad mother, because being a bad teenager became his profession.  And I hate to use the bad. He was creative in the way he broke the rules, every single one. Yes. Creative. I like that.

But anyway, I had this kid who was always on the honor roll. He would get anxiety if he got a 96 on a test because he knew that he should have had the 100 plus the bonus points. Then one day I pulled up to get a bagel and what did I see?  My kid standing in front of the bagel store smoking a cigarette. My son who cried every day until I quit smoking and gained 100 pounds. I tugged at my yoga pants that were not for yoga and wanted to go kill that little bastard as I thought about all of the nice clothes that I could no longer fit into. Then I remembered that it wasn’t about me and that my son was smoking a cigarette at 16. Ok, so I was smoking at 13, but this was not about me. So, I sent him a text and asked him what he was doing and this is the part where I want to tell you that he told me he was at lunch or hanging with his friends but nope, he told me he was in class. I sat there five feet away and read a text that said, “Ma, I’m in class. Ttyl.” Which then meant that not only was he smoking, but he was cutting class. I know. Not the worst stuff teens do, but this was my little cherub not one of the bad kids of those other bad mothers I often heard about.

That was the beginning. I wish that was the worst of it, a few cut classes, a few loosies, but it wasn’t. My little A student with dreams to go to Penn State was now this creative genius when it came to breaking rules. And you want to talk about a little charmer? Well, not at home. At home he was such a charmer that I discovered at least 500 ways of using the F bomb in a sentence. At least 500, but I’m sure the number is much higher. School was where he used his real charm. Teachers loved him. Loved! He was so charming that he regularly got a pass for cutting and not doing homework. It got so bad that he was not going to graduate on time because of gym. GYM!! Can you imagine? Not even science or math. The kid couldn’t pass classroom gym!

So imagine that I took this kid who couldn’t pass classroom gym, rarely saw the inside of a classroom, refused to take the SAT, and I thought college would be different. College is different but I was ignoring a lot of the signs. No, not that my son was a little shit. Obviously he was a little shit, but that he was not a student. No matter how smart he was, he was not a student. And believe me, my son is a genius, maybe an evil genius, but a genius.

My little genius went off to Nassau. He registered for classes that he never went to. Maybe once or twice, but the rest of the time he met up with other friends who didn’t belong in college either. They had all been part of an alternative learning program at our high school but all seemed to graduate without any job skills or any skills to apply to a classroom. It was a failed experiment because my son, and many of his friends did not last the semester.

What do you do with a high school graduate with no job skills in a world that demands college for everything? It’s not back in my day where college was important but you still had possibilities. There is such a push for college today, and not just from the schools that don’t want to land in Newsday’s bad school list but other parents who all seem to believe that where their kid got accepted is some proof of great parenting.

I’m not completely blaming the school for wanting to have a certain ratio of kids going on to college because it looks better than saying that they had kids they recognized were not students but still had great potential. I mean, not completely. But I do look back and wonder why not one of those BOCES programs had been suggested as an alternative. Eventually my son got it together and went to school to become certified as an HVAC technician, a program he could have taken in BOCES. He would have graduated with a career and no debt. It was NEVER suggested but the alternative program was pushed heavily. I still can’t figure out what he learned in that alternative program except how to make a bong out of a can of soda. I mean that’s a skill but not what I had been hoping for.

I also wonder what was wrong with me as a parent. Why was I more concerned what people were saying about my little nightmare and what it meant about me as a mother than I was at all of the wasted opportunities there were to see that my little evil genius had real potential in other ways. He was a kid who always thought outside of the box. He was smart, just not interested in books. And yet, I forced him to go to college.

We’re seeing many changes to education but this goes beyond testing, modules, Common Core, teacher evaluations, etc. Education is no longer about educating kids and providing the tools to become productive adults, and hopefully happy adults. We should all strive to be the best parents and push our kids to do well, but we should also go back to a time where we recognized that not all kids are college material and there’s nothing wrong with that.