The first moment you realize you’re going to become a mother, you think of all the things you are going to do and not do in order to make your children perfect citizens and human beings. It’s so funny how quickly it all changes when reality sets in and you are one exhausted mommy. Mommy failures happen all the time and we are probably a bit hard on ourselves about them. Because truthfully, what is a perfect mother? We’re all just one Dr. Phil episode away from at least one of our children writing a scathing tell-all about their childhood, with an entire chapter devoted to that particularly tough moment when you took your 8 year old to see that rated R movie, and your sweet little 8 year old asked out loud in the audience of adults –“What’s a condom mom?” (more on that in a moment)…
One of the first declarations I made when my number 1 was born was, “There is no way my kids, at least until they are 16 years old, will ever have a TV in their bedrooms. No way. Not conducive to sleeping and sleep is so important for children.” (Gave in at 10 years old for the first child and 7 years old for the second child) – Well, can you blame me? Parenting at bedtime is hard and some of us suck at it, so we sometimes have to take the easy way out to the detriment of our children’s sleep health. I’ll say to myself, “Screw it, they’ll be all right. I used to stay up late and watch Morton Downey Jr. scream at people and I kinda sorta turned out okay.” Truthfully though, my boys fight me less at bedtime AND actually fall asleep faster now that there are TVs in their bedrooms. So I’m actually kind of okay with this failure. Don’t care what the parenting experts say on this one, because my boys quoting Seinfeld makes me laugh. And if they weren’t put on this Earth to entertain me a little considering all the grief they’ve put me through in their short lives, then I don’t want to live on this stuffy Earth anymore. Besides, I hear the Martian parents are far less judgmental than us Earthlings.
We are some judgmental little fucks aren’t we? Jeez, mind your own business. If I want to be a short order cook and make Bobby, Bubby and Sue 3 different breakfasts, than what’s it to you? Unless I ask you to make the 3 stack pancakes while I heat up the waffle iron and plug in the toaster, you judgies need to shut the fuck up. So what, they are spoiled. That’s because I’m lazy. Duh. But in the end, I discuss with them how spoiled and fortunate they are and how their actions affect others, and all of that warm fuzzy good citizen crap too. I have my failures, but I try to balance them with my successes. (I could go on and on about the successes but just don’t feel like bragging right now…)
My most recent mommy failure happened this past weekend when I had the dumb idea to take my 2 boys to see the movie The Heat. I had already seen it with another adult and we laughed quite a bit. It’s a funny movie. In my opinion it’s not worse than Family Guy, and since I lost the Family Guy battle a few years ago thanks to daddy’s parenting failures, I thought – the boys will love this movie! They’ll just skip over the dirty parts they don’t understand and laugh with the rest of the audience. Besides, their father just let them watch the rated R movie Identity Thief the weekend before. It too had Melissa McCarthy so surely this couldn’t be any more inappropriate than that one.
For my 11 year old? It was no problem. He told me once after I made him turn Family Guy off thanks to a particularly inappropriate scene – “Mom, just ignore the naughty stuff like I do.” That little shit…what could I say to that? I did not give in, but I still lost the battle.
For my sensitive 8 year old? After probably the 200th utterance of the F-word, he had had enough. Glad he’s better at policing himself than I am, but damn, I wanted to watch the rest of the movie again! What really did him in though was first, noticing he was the youngest person in the theater and second, when Sandra Bullock pokes at a squishy thing in the fire alarm, and Melissa McCarthy points out it’s a condom, and he shouted, “What’s a condom mom!?” Thank goodness it was dark enough so I couldn’t see the horrid glares and loud enough so I could not hear the horrified whispers.
Oh c’mon… most of those adults had to be laughing when he shouted that. I just shushed him and whispered, “I’ll tell you about it when we leave.” That was a signal to him that it was not for his eyes and ears and he was ready to go. So I took him out of the theater and let my 11 year old stay. 8 year old said maturely, “Mom, I just felt like everyone knew I wasn’t supposed to be there.” So I said, “Grow up kid, it’s just a movie!!” Just kidding. What I really did was pat him on the head and admit to my mistake. So we agreed – no more rated R movies for him until he’s 13 or so. My memory must be terrible because there were so many scenes I forgot about my 11 year old so generously reminded me of including the tracheotomy scene. Yikes, I can’t believe I ever thought this kid could come to this movie. Where was my brain? Apparently in hibernation with the brains of all the moms who let their 4 year olds go to the drive-in to see The Omen back in 1976. I am in no way referring to my own mother and her numerous failures, why would you think that? Just because I will never let my children play with a kid named Damien, does not mean I am referencing a bit of my past. Nope. But seriously, why would you ever name your child Damien? Fuck that. That’s just dumb. Such child naming failure.
Okay back to my sensitive little man. So we sat in the lobby to wait for the movie to end, and I was grateful he forgot about the question he asked in the theater loud enough for the projectionist to hear. Until he remembered that question and asked it again. “Mom, what was that one thing you told me you’d tell me about? What was that thing?” I was thankfully saved by the exiting Pacific Rim movie goers and said, “I can’t tell you now…I’ll tell you in the car.” But little 8 year old put it together. “It’s not appropriate for me to know is it?” He said. “Well nevermind then.” Wow –where did this child come from? I hope he’s this self policing in high school!
So the movie let out and 11 year old loved it. He also felt the need to remind me about how wrong I was to think I could ever have brought 8 year old to this kind of movie. He said, “Mom, did you just not remember the movie you saw? I mean how could you forget she cuts someone’s throat open? Or that a guy gets shot in the balls at the end? There is no way he (8 year old) could have handled that mom. I just don’t know what you were thinking.”
After my 11 year old finished lecturing me about my pathetic parenting skills, we went to Culvers and had a sandwich. And it was delicious. And we all lived happily ever after until 8 year old stubbed his toe on the kitchen table leg…but that story is for another time…
So – I screwed up. I will screw up again, BUT it’s okay. I am a human mother. And I will continue to do things a human mother will do. Which includes love these kids to pieces. That will trump the mom failures any day of the week.