• margaretfmadigan

Yes I Suck But Parenting is Not a Competitive Sport

*Transferring over another oldie but goodie from old blogging site*

I started following an account on Twitter this week that I really like,Sh*tty Mom.   Check it out.   It’s a book coming out that I believe is written by two women, and oh how I relate to these women.  (if you want to follow me on Twitter, I’m @MadgeMadigan)

I must confess something…  I produced my first college scholarship winning child by being a crappy mom.  Also my two daughters are still in high school and middle school and are A students, and this is another result of my crappiness.

I frankly have no idea how this happened.  My son is going to NYU in an honors program in the Fall.  He’s a wonderfully down to Earth, kind, polite, good athlete, funny as hell, talented in singing and acting, and very insightful.  I have two daughters (I hate to lump them together but they are very similar, see evidence of crappy momness) who are A students, good athletes, kind, polite, funny as hell, talented in singing, acting and art, and are very insightful (when not being hormonal).

And what did I do?  Pretty much nothing.  The question should be more of what didn’t I do?  Shall I list?  Yes, let me count my apathetic ways…

– I never once “made” any sort of foodstuffs for a birthday party, or school party, or Girl Scout shindig, or end of the season soccer party, or some such other convoluted self-esteem building event for children.  I tried to avoid having to do anything all together, but if I was forced to I opted to bring the paper products, ya’ know plates, napkins, etc.

– I never bought my kids anything that cost more than $40 for a present.

– I never kept my house immaculate.  I’m usually apologizing for the mess when people come over.  I didn’t get the housekeeping gene.  I mean, it’s not like I’m a hoarder with 6 inches of animal feces and fast food wrappers on the floor.  But there’s always stuff around, backpacks, books, magazines, some dust, evidence that we are living.  After a while I become oblivious to it.  I guess I wish an unkempt house bothered me a little more but it just doesn’t.  *hangs head*

– I never thoroughly enjoyed playing with my kids outside.  Sometimes I did, but a lot of times I sat in a chair while they ran around.  I’m sad I didn’t have the energy to frolic through a meadow with them as if we were in a detergent commercial, but at least I was there.  Albeit sometimes I was texting or talking on the phone but hey, I was supervising.

– I didn’t go to every single one of my kid’s sporting events.  I almost did!  But sometimes there were three at once and it was just impossible.  Other times I couldn’t get out of work.  Other times I was just too drunk.  NO!  I’m kidding.  Just seeing if you were paying attention…

– I’ve never caught up on laundry.  Almost everyday my kids are pulling the clothes they want to wear out of the laundry basket of clean clothes I just brought up from the basement but haven’t bothered had time to fold.

So yea, I suck.  But the truth is a lot of us Moms suck.  And ya’ know what?  It’s ok.

Sure we all suck compared to June Cleaver, Donna Reed, or Carol Brady.  Hmmm, are those references too dated?  Have there even been any “perfect moms” on TV in the last 25 years?  I don’t know, wasn’t the mom on Home Improvement kind of perfect-y?  Anyway.  The point is, it’s a different world but women still have the “Super Woman” complex.  We feel we need to be all things to all people.  Let’s face it, women can be a wicked competitive lot.  And then sometimes women make stupid choices because of what they feel are the more important successes that should be noticed.

Why was I a slacker in all of those areas?  Because I was a divorced Mother of 3 children for 10 years, with an ex who I couldn’t depend on, and I had to work to support the four of us.  And any job I’ve ever had has never paid more than $36k/year.  I couldn’t afford much of anything that’s why I tried not to volunteer to bring stuff.  Crappy I know, but I wasn’t going to spend money I didn’t have just so I looked good to the other Moms.  I didn’t blow my money on expensive things for the kids just to look good either.  I did my share when we all had to pitch in, but I was always praying that we were done with soccer games before they got to my name on the snack list.  What the hell do kids need a snack for?  They won’t starve before they get home.  I played plenty of sports and I never collapsed from malnourishment in the time it took to leave the school and arrive at home.

I didn’t enjoy playing with the kids all the time because I was damn tired from working and being both parents.  I didn’t clean like a motherhucker because I was tired and I thought my time would be better spent sitting down and talking to my kids and helping them with their homework and feeding and cleaning them.

Basically I had to pick and choose how my time and money were best spent.  I would have loved to bring fabulous baked goods to all their gatherings but I resolved myself to the fact that I’d rather people know me for my awesome kids than my awesome cookies.  Don’t get me wrong, I do know women who have great kids and great cookies… and I envy them.  But I do know they might be lacking in other areas, say maybe they ignore their spouse in order to make good cookies.  Look ladies, we just can’t be all things to all people so don’t beat yourself up over it.  Do the best you can do but try to put the kids first.  It used to bother me that I couldn’t be perfect but now I freely admit that I’m… craptastic!

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