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Mother of the Year Will Be Anyone but Me

by Miranda Gargasz
Photo by: iStock

Opinions. Everyone has them. They seem most abundant when women get together and begin measuring up mothering skills.

You’ll have to pardon me if I don’t participate.

I’ve come under fire lately because my youngest child doesn’t eat vegetables much. I’m lucky to get him to eat raw carrots, corn and, on rare occasions, salad. Any other vegetable may as well be a steaming pile of excrement for all the luck I have getting him to eat it. And, sorry, but if I won’t eat a disgusting Brussel sprout, I won’t expect my kid to. That’s some really foul shit disguised as pee wee cabbages.

I’ve come under fire because folks believe I feed my kids unhealthy food. I do cook, people. I cook quite a bit. I cook things like roast, meatloaf, tacos, stroganoff, and spaghetti and meatballs. Admittedly, most of what I cook gets shoved into a crock pot because I do not enjoy the task of meal preparation. On some days, when life gets in the way and I have no time to prepare a large meal–crock pot or otherwise, I will get my kids the occasional cheeseburger. If I’m feeling particularly lazy, we’ll eat hot dogs. It’s an adventure, really. We start a fire in the fireplace and roast those puppies. The kids think it’s great fun and everyone is responsible for their own dinner. Win-win, if you ask me.

The one that makes me laugh are the people who don’t get it when I write a humorous piece about my kids. NO, I do not really think of choking my kids. NO, I don’t fantasize about murdering them. They do drive me crazy on many days, sometimes multiple times in a day. When I write that I hide from them to keep from strangling them I’m being snarky. Funny. Perhaps you didn’t get the joke or your sense of humor has been surgically removed. Please don’t rush out and contact Children’s Services. They are tired of hearing about how my horrible mothering has resulted in my kids having a good work ethic and earning the money they get each week. It’s sad really.

The one that takes the cake for me lately is that I am “abusing” my kids by not getting them their own phones. Evidently, I missed the memo about how kids need to be contacted, or at least have the ability to be contacted, at every moment of every day. I guess the phones at school don’t work or something.

All of that aside, it’s the insinuations behind the observations that piss me off. Why do you feel the need to point fingers and register my every perceived failure? Why do you care if Tony eats green beans? Why do you care if I buy their dinner or make it?

Not that you deserve or need an explanation, but here goes

1. Tony takes a vitamin every day of his life because I, like you, worry that he isn’t getting all the nutrients he needs from his food. Somehow the kid seems to be magically growing despite all those vital elements of which I am depriving him. Go figure.

2. Jimmy is 14 and has already broken 6 feet tall. He has about five good years of growing still to do, and while I’m pretty sure it’s not genetics on my end (a stout 5′ 4″ here), I am relatively certain that his tall daddy (The Hub is 6 feet on the button) may play a part in it. I’m also more than certain that my pantry’s vacuous appearance might also shoot down that diet-comprised-of-fast-food myth. My wallet can attest to the pantry having been filled on multiple occasions. I seriously have lost an entire brisket that I made in the crock pot last week and froze. When I went to thaw it to make barbecued beef for dinner it was missing. The Hub suspects Jimmy ate it all by himself. For breakfast.

3. No one, and I do mean no-freaking-one, will ever love those boys more than I do. I cry when they hurt. I cry when they’re happy. I cry for them when I’m proud (which is often). I ache when I think some high school harlot has broken my Jimmy’s heart. I weep when Tony’s fish dies because he takes it so personally, thinking he just didn’t do enough to save the 99 cent pet that he spent over $20 to medicate and quarantine for six weeks. I hug them as often as the Teenage Code of Embarrassing Parental Actions will allow. And then I hug them some more, because fuck the rules. They are my babies and I love them so much it hurts.

4. They do not need a phone. They walk an astounding two blocks from the bus to home. They have friends with whom they visit that have this strange device called a land line. I have every friend’s number. I know where each of them lives. When my kids are old enough to hold down a steady job, they can have a phone. They’ll be old enough to pay their own phone bill then. I don’t need another one, myself, thanks. And if that insinuation is that my kids have needs that aren’t being met, I have this to say: They have everything they need and 95% of what they want. Go pound salt.

5. Do NOT threaten me with contacting Children’s Services. Aside from the fact that they will laugh at your paltry attempt at making my life miserable, I don’t find it funny. There are kids out there whose parents beat them black and blue. There are kids out there who go without things they need and never see anything that they want. There are children who starve in this country. There are children who are unhealthy because they don’t have access to any meals or adequate healthcare. Don’t waste the time or valuable services of any institution that is set up to take care of major problems that befall our smallest citizens.

I am not in the running for Mother of the Year. I never have been, and I have no desire ever to be. And, the last time I checked, it’s not even a real award. Someone made it up. So all you Type A Mom’s can give up the ghost. Unbutton your pants and let the muffin top free. There’s no prize at the end of this gig.

Miranda Gargasz is a writer from a small suburb outside Cleveland, Ohio. She is a contributor at What the Flicka? and The Huffington Post. In February of 2014, she published her first collection of essays entitled ‘Lemonade and Holy Stuff’. You can read more on her Blog, or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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