Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The World's Lamest Giveaway!!!

A week or so ago when I started writing this post, I was riding the high of my latest "brilliant" idea: a giveaway.

You see, when you are lucky enough to become a big-time blogger, people give you really cool products to give away to your readers. However, I am not a big blogger, so my "prizes" were simple to begin with.

Basically the idea started when I got together with some long-lost mommy friends for a play date/bitch session. It was nice to be able to vent honestly about motherhood with other moms who have toddlers and babies. It got me thinking about the book I recently read - I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids - which begs parents (but women especially) to indulge in more of this honesty and less of the back-biting competition. I thought to myself, I have a great group of moms, dads and someday-to-be-parents online. Maybe I could get them to share their own ugly truths and/or fears?

Unfortunately, most of the people who come to my blog are both wonderful friends and shameless lurkers. So I decided I would try and bribe a few of them out of their shells with the promise that a comment automatically entered you into a giveaway. The prize was a once-read copy of the aforementioned book along with a brand-new, hardcover copy of the book Bad Mother by Ayelet Waldman - shipped straight to your door by moi!

And this is where it went awry. I honestly thought of this idea while frantically shoving a bagel down a starving toddler in Barnes and Noble. I realized that a used book was a lame prize, so I did a quick walk through in the parents' section and immediately spotted Bad Mother. Even as I bought it, I was internally rolling my eyes at the idea that yet another book had been written about the Bad Mother phenomenon. I mean, it seems there are a million books and bloggers who have covered this subject, and I was promoting the topic once again with yet another book.

When I got home, I lazily thumbed through a couple of pages. Then a couple more. Then I said "screw it" and devoured the entire book in whatever precious spare moments I could find. It was great. So great that I came up with the world's corniest comparison:

I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids was like stealing a handful of candy from the candy dish here and there - short, sweet and temporarily satisfying. But Bad Mother was like slowly indulging in a rich dessert. Her memoir writing is a fully sensory experience and her observations are dead on. The phrases and images are still rolling around in my head.

The only problem is that my "prize" has now become two once-loved books. So lame. If, however, you want to read them anyway, feel free to comment and share a parenting (or babysitting for that matter) horror story. Or just indicate if you've done one or more of the following:

A) Had the desire to physically throttle your children
B) Let them eat something neon-colored for breakfast
C) Left them in the car to sleep
D) Told them to "stop crying" even though you know this only makes things worse
E) Found yourself doing that one thing you swore you'd never do when you became a parent

I'll pick a winner (at random) on Friday, July 24. If no one enters a comment, I'll just search out the most harried mother I can find on the playground and slip them into her diaper bag - along with a note that reads "I'm right there with you, babe."
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Jennifer Wood said...

I'm happy to comment!!!!!!!!!!

The X's indicate all my best mommy dearest moments...

X A) Had the desire to physically throttle your children
X B) Let them eat something neon-colored for breakfast
C) Left them in the car to sleep
X D) Told them to "stop crying" even though you know this only makes things worse
X E) Found yourself doing that one thing you swore you'd never do when you became a parent

FYI... the only thing I haven't done is let her sleep in the car. And that's only because she wakes up as soon as the car rolls to a stop.

This week, Gracie's newest trick emerged... If she doesn't like what I am asking her to do, she says, "What?" and pretends she doesn't hear me. So I end up saying whatever it is slowly and louder over and over again. Eventually this turns into me screaming, "I SAID IT'S TIME TO GO TO FREAKIN' BED AND I KNOW YOU HEARD ME!" To which she replied, "What? Where's the Freakin' bed?" Yup, I'm sure my mommy of the year award will be arriving soon.

Cassi's Mom said...

Okay, here's a group bad mommy moment. While on a fishing trip to Mill Hollow all the mommies were so sick and tired of cooking, cleaning and whining (with very little help from the daddies who were too busy fishing and doing their he man thing)that they all got into the boat and rowed themselves into the middle of the lake. From there the mommies could see their darling offspring and know they were still alive but with the aid of a radio were barely able to hear their plaintive cries to return to shore. It was a lovely afternoon.

By the way I have done all the items on your list many, many times. In spite of this I don't need the prize you offered. I am well past needing mommy books. I have done my mothering and I did the best I could at the time. Now I can just sit back and enjoy watching my children screw up their own little darlings. Heh heh heh!

Kathy Tew Rickey said...

Dearest Cassie,
Thank you for your call to honesty and reality. I can claim A-E with a little but not a lot of shame (in A, having the desire but not acting on it is O.K.). As a 50-something mom of two teenage daughters (see, they do survive you), I will offer these words of hope: Only the first 30 or 40 years of parenting are the hardest.

Hang in there, young mothers!

Marcia said...

The best thing I ever did as a parent was never to swear there wasn't anything I'd never do as a parent. This has saved me on more than one occasion as I have engaged in such parenting faux pas as actually physically throttling (well, define throttling. they have been spanked on occasion and grabbed harder than they should have been.) my children. They have also eaten fast food, and my oldest and I had this great ritual where I'd drive up & down the boulevard till she fell asleep then parked at the cemetery (hey, it's pretty and quiet) and studied while she napped.
I'm having an interesting time these days as my oldest, who's 11, has Aspergers, which means she doesn't always get social situations. I wish I had infinite patience, but i don't, and I raise my voice when I shouldn't.
The worst thing is when adults complain about something that they're parents said to them as a child that crushed their spirit, and I think to myself, "I can imagine myself saying that." Oh crap. I just hope that my effusive love for my children and constant expression of that will overcome my bad mommy moments. They still think I'm pretty awesome, so I hope it's working.

Susan said...

Okay, I didn't even know leaving the kids in the car to sleep was a "bad mommy moment" until a year or so ago. I thought that was just what you did.

As a co-sleeping parent, I will freely claim all the falls-out-of-the-bed my two children have taken over the years. We're lucky neither has ever been injured in such a fall. Sam's first fall came at about 12 months. Lucie was closer to six months. As a precaution, and in case our carelessness continues to follow this trend, we have decided to move our mattress to the floor once this baby is born.

When Sam accidentally stumbled into a fear of police officers (Joel told him that if he stole, the police might take him down to the station and take his fingerprints...and he took this to mean that the police were in the habit of literally removing the tips--and thereby, the "prints"--of sticky-fingered children) I did not correct his misperception but have instead used it in one or two particularly desperate moments to encourage him to bend to my will.

My kids don't have a bedtime. We sometimes put them to bed at 8:00. Other times at 10:00. Other times, 12:00. I'm secretly terrified of Sam starting kindergarten in a few years because I believe we are, at our core, unable to keep any sort of reasonable schedule.

I should stop. While I've given up on any "Best Mommy of the Year" awards, I would hate to earn the lesser-known "Worst Mommy of the Year" title.

Shantana Sheree said...

A - I experience regularly. C - I didn't even know made me a bad Mom. D - I've just started doing, and E I have just started to make peace with.

I have a horrible temper. Horrible enough that, before my child emerged from the womb, I approached several parents about how worried about it I was. I am the type of person who throws a remote control when it doesn't work - this causes some concern when parenthood is iminent. And every freaking parent that I approached about this fear said nearly the same thing: Oh it's different when it's your child. You feel anger, but never at them. And you never want to hurt them.

I now know that either these people are on drugs, or I am a psychopath. No one can make me angrier than my son. NO ONE. And it's purely by the grace of God that I have not spanked my child in anger - I'm honestly shocked i haven't done it in a fit of rage and frustration.

I remember one of those sleepless nights where my child was just screaming and screaming, and I was desperate for sleep, crying, and thinking how this was a method of torture being debated in my country at that time...I had a fleeting thought that, if I put him outside, I wouldn't be able to hear him cry.

The funny thing is that now when I approach parents about parent-rage, everyone confirms that they too experience it. And that we all think that ours is worse than everyone elses. I don't know what changed, if I confess myself first or what.

Wendy said...

Oh Cassi. Thank you for encouraging moms to be honest. Why it's so hard for us, I don't know. Something about being uber-mom...and here, I'll gladly forfeit my claim to uber-mom status:

Yes, I have demonstrated each bad-mother point on your list, except for the neon-colored breakfast cereal (though that is not far off as I've had to pry Ari's hands off my husband's Fruit Loops - don't get me started).

As a couple of moms have indicated, no one on earth can incite my fury more than my son. He just knows *how*. In a fit of depression and rage, I have screamed at him to "JUST FREAKING STOP" (though I didn't say "freaking") during his whining, crying and tantrum-y fits...not noticing at the time that I was exhibiting a tantrum myself. I have grabbed him harder than the situation deemed necessary. And, yes, I have spanked him in anger. Once. And immediately burst into tears. Never again will I do that for I will remember his sudden gasp of fear and pain for the rest of my life. But still, I did it. Each of these things were things my parents did that I swore I would never do to my child. I'm sure there are only more to come.

My use of colorful metaphors has been passed down to Ari at the tender age of 2. He has proudly proclaimed, "shit shit shit shit shit" in the middle of Target; announced "Jesus Christ!" from the back seat of my car; and merrily repeated a muttered "son of a bitch" in the freezer section of the grocery store.

Now that there are two, I shudder to consider where my temper may take me and my offspring. Just yesterday, after 4 hours of collective screaming, whining and ceaseless "I wants", I had to call a friend in desperation, "oh thank god you answered I'm in danger of hitting my child you've gotta talk me down." She did. And then she watched him while I took a nap.

So there is hope for the mom-to-mom honesty. I feel that it's on the upswing. It would be great, also, if we could celebrate our strengths as moms...they ways we love them so much and why we rock at parenting our particular kids. When we can be equally comfortable with both our strengths and our challenges...that will be a grand day.