The Inadvertently Bad Mom


Have you ever found yourself in situations where you look like a terrible mother, through no fault of your own? This happened to me on two occasions in the last week, and I’m feeling bad about it for reasons I can’t explain.

My son is learning how to say the word “firetruck”. Now either he is lazy and is trying to reduce the number of syllables he needs to utter in a single breath, or he simply can’t say the two words together. My theory is the latter, coupled with the fact that my husband and I laugh uncontrollably every time he tries to say it. But somehow “firetruck” has been shortened to “f’uck”. And because my husband and I laugh every time he says it, he just says it over and over again: “f’uck”, f’uck, f’uck!” like it’s the most natural and normal thing he could possibly say. We had the cable guy at our apartment the other day, and while he was minding his own business, fixing our cable, my son was playing with his firetruck, and….you guessed it….he starts yelling “f’uck, f’cuck, f’uck!” To which I promptly replied, “No, sweetie, it’s ‘firetruck'”, trying to somehow tell this stranger, who I will likely never see again, that in my spare time I have not been teaching my child every swear word in the book. Ugh!

And just two days later, my husband and I took our son to the public pool. Prior to leaving, like any good parent, I lathered my son with sunscreen. But, of course, no sunblock applying session is complete without the token toddler meltdown that comes with it. So, needless to say, applying the sunscreen to my son’s face was no easy task, and resulted in my getting about half of the sunscreen meant for his face, in his eyes. So we get to the pool, and by now he has been rubbing his eyes for a good 10 minutes, so they are red and puffy and watery – kind of resembling pink eye – the LAST thing the other parents want their children exposed to in that environment. And for some unknown reason, his nose spontaneously started running too. So we’re there literally begging our son to “have a good time!”, and he is completely miserable, rubbing his eyes and slobbering all over himself, us, and the kiddy pool we so desperately wanted him to enjoy. And I definitely caught a few looks from other parents, as if to say, “How could you knowingly bring your child to a public pool when he is clearly so sick!?” I felt like I needed to wear a sign across my bathing suit-clad chest that read “Nothing to be alarmed about folks. It’s just a little sunblock!”

So to all you moms out there who have experienced this, I salute you. All we can do is try our best, and just know that sometimes along the way, despite all our efforts, we will still end up looking like an “ass’hole” every once and while.

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