By JENNIFER LINDE
The Mom of No
A few weeks ago, a Facebook friend of mine posted a link to an online “mommy” article. It was one of those “Dear Fellow Mom, let me explain all the stuff you are doing wrong and I am doing right” columns that gives advice to other mothers on how we should all be raising our little cherubs.
In this case, it took the form of a mom who had observed another family allowing their offspring to use their technology while eating a meal in public, and this mom took the opportunity to explain to other parents why, based on a one-time short-term observation, she felt that letting your kids play on their technology during dinner in a restaurant is a BAD IDEA and you should NOT DO IT.
Um, uh-oh. You better send me that application for the Bad Mom Club, because I definitely qualify for membership on that criteria. Although, now that I think about it, I probably joined the Bad Mom Club years ago. Disregard that application.
The day the Son of Never Stops Eating discovered Angry Birds, it was like a gift from Above. I loaded up the app on an old iPhone and took it with me wherever I went. If he started getting a little impatient and I wasn’t done with what I needed to do, out came the Angry Birds phone. I’m sure someone, somewhere, looked at the kid blissfully playing Angry Birds (sound turned way down, of course — I do have some compassion for my fellow human beings) and thought, what a terrible mother that woman must be, letting her kid play Angry Birds while (fill in activity.) It was either that or thirty minutes of “Are we done yet? I’m done. Let’s go, Mom. Time to go. I’m done. Talking is closed. Are we done yet?” Pick one.
For some reason, those articles become less frequent the older the kids get, or maybe I just notice them less, but that is one good thing about having teenagers as opposed to small kids: either there is less Mom judging, or I’m just at the point in my Mom career where I’m purposefully oblivious to it because I have other stuff on my mind, like nagging my teenager about college applications or wondering why there is no milk in the fridge when I know that we bought four gallons two days ago.
A few months ago, I was in a restaurant with The Teenager after a campus tour. We were both wiped out and ravenously hungry after hiking about six miles all over a college campus while listening to a perky student tour guide explain why this particular university was an amazing place, and all we could think about was food. When we sat down after ordering, a younger mother with a very cute little boy sat down near us, and the little boy started doing what little boys do: he got up and started moving around.
What I was thinking: Boy, do I wish I had that much energy, because, oy vey, my feet are killing me and my brain is on information overload.
She looked over at me and, looking bashful, apologized for her son. I suspect she might have been expecting a torrent of Mom judging. I just laughed and told her not to worry about it. I was honestly so tired that a circus could have set up shop in that restaurant and the only thing on my mind would have been “Feet hurt. Bring food”.
At least her son was fully dressed. I once chased a naked toddler around a department store while the toddler yelled gleefully, “Pants are OFF!” and other shoppers stood with mouths gaping wide open at the very public demonstration of my inept mothering skills, so I am definitely in no position to judge anyone else’s parenting technique. That might have actually been when I first joined the Bad Mom Club.
So, to all the young mothers out there, just know this: you don’t need to apologize to me for your little kids being little kids. Other people might express annoyance, or start telling you what you really should be doing. If you see me looking at you, I’m probably mentally reminiscing about the days my own kids were young and doing pretty much the same things your kids are probably doing right now. So if you need to pull out your version of the Angry Birds phone to get something accomplished, go for it. I’m certainly not going to judge you.
Read more memoirs and musings from The Mom of No at themomofno.blogspot.com.