I WAS A BAD MOTHER
Seven tricks you too can try at home!
I admit it. I wasn’t the best mother in the world when Ryan and Codey were growing up. I was dishonest, sneaky, and conniving. I’m not talking about the run-of-the-mill tricks all parents play on their kids – sneaking vegetables into their meals and skipping pages in that never-ending bedtime story – no, my evil deeds were much, much worse.
However, looking back, my deceitful ways were actually my saving grace. My ploys and deceptions helped me to survive Motherhood and allow me to carve out some much needed “Me” time. And so, I’d like to share some of my top-secret tricks of the trade with the young mothers of today.
Seven Secrets (Shhhhh!)
1. Allow your family members to believe that grocery shopping takes a FULL day. Venture out on Saturday mornings. Give your husband and children a gloomy good-bye wave as you depart with your list in hand. Your family will not ask to join you because they don’t want to tag along for a full day of this exhausting chore.
The first stop is usually a quaint coffee shop. Enjoy a cup of coffee and perhaps a little baked treat. Next, hit a few garage sales, the market, and your favourite boutiques. The afternoon often consists of a lovely lunch (perhaps meet up with a friend who is also out “grocery shopping”). Next on the schedule is a mani-pedi, possibly a massage or a haircut and style.
As it nears late afternoon, pop into the grocery store, grab a rotisserie chicken, a can of corn, a jumbo box of Froot Loops, and some toilet paper. Head for home. Arrive home looking exhausted. The Froot Loops will provide a diversion for the kids, giving you time to remove the chicken from its plastic dome and create a semblance of a real dinner.
2. If you have a decadent treat that you would like to savour, and you don’t want to share it with your children, tell them that your coveted indulgence unfortunately contains nuts/mushrooms/onions (substitute your child’s least favourite food). They will make a “yuck face” and walk away, leaving you alone to enjoy your solitary indulgence.
If they insist they need a snack too, direct them to the spot on the shelf where you store the cheap cookies with the past-due expiry date. Of course the kids will never accidently stumble onto your hidden stash of goodies because you are very clever. Store the ice cream inside a large bag of frozen green beans and stow your Lindt chocolate bar inside a box of All Bran cereal.
3. If you need to run a few errands and you’d like to get them done without your beloved kids in tow, you need to make your chore list sound very unappealing. Make sure to announce your tasks in a loud voice. An ideal (fake) task is “Underwear Shopping.” Even better is the “Bra Shopping” ruse. The child that is halfway in the car will back out and frantically run for the door to the house.
4. Are you sick of those neighborhood kids constantly showing up at your house to play? Discreetly place a small yellow SAD FACE sign in the window of your front door. If you have curtains on that window, the sign will be concealed from the interior of the house.
Secretly explain to the wannabe playmates that if the sign is in the window, it is a “No Play” day. This little tactic will allow you to have control over your personal time and space, and your own children won’t be any wiser. Hee-hee.
5. Insist that your kids have at least an hour of “Quiet Time” every afternoon. They don’t have to nap but they have to stay in their rooms, doing quiet activities. Take a kitchen timer and and place it on a shelf in the hallway, just beyond the view of their bedroom doors. Set the timer for an hour. Explain that when the timer “dings” they are allowed to come out of their rooms.
Here’s where the deceitful part comes into play. As the hour draws to a close, sneak to the hallway, carefully pick up the timer, and ever-so-gently turn the dial so that it’s reset for another hour. Once you get really good at this, you can do this a second and possibly a third time. Works like magic!
6. If your kids insist that they be allowed to invite a friend over for a play date, and you just don’t feel up to having additional young folks creating havoc under your roof, here is a plan that works. Pretend to call the house of the intended visitor and then regretfully inform your child that nobody answered the phone.
Another idea – however, this requires a fair amount of practice – is to fake the entire conversation with Billy’s/Johnny’s/Susie’s parent. End the phony call and regretfully inform your child that the friend is unable to come over due to the fact that they have other plans.
A third deceitful (yet highly effective) plan is to pretend the intended playmate has moved away to another town (or country). This trick, however, has limitations because when your child sees this friend at school the next day, he will report the news back to you and you will have to act very confused and astounded. Don’t attempt this on a regular basis unless you have exemplary acting skills.
7. If you are exhausted and don’t feel like cooking dinner, announce a special event called “Make Your Own.” The kids will be thrilled to be able to choose their favourite foods and assemble a meal by themselves. Due to their ages and limited cooking skills, they will only be able to master toast with peanut butter, microwaved hot dogs, processed cheese slices, and large bowls of sugar coated cereal – but anything goes on “Make Your Own” night.
As you gain confidence, you will be able to announce “Make Your Own” nights on a fairly regular basis. You will feel less guilty and more liberated with each passing meal. The “Make Your Own” philosophy can eventually be applied to breakfast and lunch.
Despite all of my trickery and deceit, I somehow managed to successfully raise two young boys. They have grown into fine young men and I am extremely proud of them both. In March, Codey and Avalon will become parents. Our entire family is very excited by this news. I’m eager to observe Codey and Avalon in their parenting roles over the coming the years, and I won’t be surprised if they come up with a few tricks of their own.
As for myself, I’m excited about Grandmotherhood. I’m looking forward to trying out some of my secret tricks on my future grandchild… and perhaps creating some new ones.
Stay tuned for a future blog post called I AM A BAD GRANDMA.