When people without children ask me how my little guy is doing, I usually respond by telling them he’s an asshole. 99% of the time, they are delighted with my candor, having steeled themselves for a long-winded poem about my “miracle” that somehow ends with our Christmas card photo* and a recipe for homemade, non-toxic play-dough.
*You can tell that’s a joke because we don’t do Christmas card photos, on account of my husband’s refusal to participate and my inability to remember to convince him otherwise.
Now, I will point out that he’s only an asshole in that special toddler way – most of the time, he’s sweet, inquisitive, loving, brave, persistent, smart and hilarious, but sometimes the demons come a’calling and he turns into the Babadook. I can’t and won’t deny that this happens, and it’s way more fun to hear about than his progress with dinner utensils, so I reckon I should just give the people what they want. However, when someone with a child asks about my offspring, I revert back to the ol’ turnaround: “He’s a nut, but a sweet little boy, the love of my life. But how’s your little Atticus?”*
*That is NOT a joke. We live in a hipster town full of “Atticus” and “Othello” and “Esther”. It’s near impossible to create shortened nicknames for the children surrounding us. It’s entirely impossible to refer to them in the plural. Attici? Othellum? Esthereses?
Now, you may be shaking your head at me, thinking that #NOTALLMOMS get offended when you use the same terms to describe your darling snowflake that you would for that douche down the road who keeps letting his German Shepard poop on our lawn.*
*I SEE YOU, GERALD! YOUR DOG IS THE SIZE OF A HORSE!
But the fact is that I’ve seen enough pursed lips and heard enough disapproving “mmm’s” to last a lifetime. I’m careful. I let other people break the seal first before I pour out the crazy. Once they do, either by calling their children names themselves or by just being, you know, cool, I feel free to be me and let the curse words fly.*
*If you unexpectedly found your hand clutching your pearls, you must not have read anything else I’ve posted ever, and I warn you not to unless you have smelling salts and a dedicated caretaker to administer them close by.
What’s the point of this blog post, besides my further exposure as a “bad” mom? It’s to let all you other “bad” moms know that I’m safe. I’ve created a trust circle around me, and that trust circle exists in a trust tree, which is planted in a trust forest, which is protected in a trust wildlife preserve. I know you love your kids more than anything all the time. I also know you dislike them intensely sometimes. Me too, bro. I won’t judge you if you lovingly admire your munchkin’s advanced ability to sing happy birthday to every person/animal/inanimate object they meet, or if you recite an angry, curse-filled rant against him, which you clearly practiced in the car ride over. But there is one caveat – you must do both. It doesn’t need to always be equally, but nobody likes a mom who either A) will not admit her child is anything other than a well-behaved angel who despises television and eats plain steamed broccoli with relish*, or B) never has anything nice to say about her kid and doesn’t tolerate anyone else praising him/her either.
*Stop it, you know I mean with delight, not with the condiment. What kind of Damien would DO that????
There is good and bad in every part of life, big and small, and it’s only realistic to acknowledge both. Maybe not on Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat or Pinterest or Twitter or that sub-Reddit you’ve been venting on. But definitely with your good friends and mom tribe*. And rest assured that when you do, I won’t blab to my friends and neighbors. Because I like you and we’re friends, but mostly because you know too much. Far, far, far, far, far too much. The trust circle/tree/forest/wildlife preserve gets real, bitches.
*Yes, I used that term. I would like to apologize to absolutely nobody. (Quote taken from Conor McGregor’s 2016 UFC championship speech.)