Like most parents, I often lie awake at night worrying about what will become of my children and feeling guilty for the many things I’ve done wrong in raising them. Every tantrum or door slam is due to some failing on my part and is just more evidence that my kids will, most likely, grow up to be psychopaths. If Biggie gets up 10 times a night before finally falling asleep, it’s because I nursed her to sleep during infancy. When Smalls holds her pee for 8 hours refusing to go to the bathroom at school, it’s because I started potty training her too early as a toddler.
At least one of my children, will freely tell you that I am a terrible mother…definitely a contender, if not the finalist, for Worst Mother in the World. Poor thing. What are the chances of being born to the very worst mother of all?! Because of all the psychological damage Ad Man and I have surely done to our kids and because they’re my children and come from a long line of anxiety-ridden depressives, I’m sure they will find themselves in psychotherapy at some time or another. So, in an effort to save them time and money in therapy bills, I’ve compiled the following list outlining my failures as a mother for future reference.
1. By quitting my job and staying at home full-time during their formative years, I have robbed them of a professional female role model. Moreover, volunteering at their schools, meeting them as they get off the bus every afternoon and bringing them to all doctor and dentist appointments mean I am clingy and overbearing.
2. I moved them (well, at least Biggie) from the hip, glittery, idyllic wonderland that is Los Angeles to hot, buggy Atlanta thereby denying them the careers as actors, marine biologists, surfers or winemakers for which they were destined.
3. Because I am a vegetarian who doesn’t cook meat, I have kept them from all the meaty delicacies the world has to offer. If they fail to become chefs, butchers, or cattle farmers they’ll have me to blame.
4. I lied to them about Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny making them believe in magic. I then abruptly pulled the rug out from under them when they got smart enough to question my outrageous tales. This will undoubtedly lead to trust issues later in life.
5. I raised them in a mid-century modern house with weird art and 50s furniture which made them feel different from their friends living in cozy, shabby chic cottages and reproduction Tudor mini-mansions. Surely, one or more character flaws can be traced back to never having a canopy bed or eyelet curtains.
6. I refused to let them have televisions and computers in their bedrooms. I’ve also, thus far, not gotten them cell phones even as they near the ripe old ages of 8 and 6. Only time will tell, but I suspect my heartlessness will keep them from expressing themselves through naked selfies at least while I’m home or until they leave for college.
7. I was a wildly liberal feminist campaigning for Democratic candidates, supporting women’s reproductive rights and LGBT rights and defending the separation of church and state in the midst of the Bible Belt. This could go wrong in two different ways. I could end up being the clueless hippie mom who is an embarrassment to my daughters when they decide to go all Alex P. Keaton on my ass. Alternatively, they could agree with my politics and be left with nothing to rebel against…quite possibly a teenager’s worst nightmare.
8. I failed to sign them up for etiquette classes and never dressed them in smocked dresses and giant hair bows instead allowing them to make their own (often ridiculous) sartorial choices, greatly reducing their chances of success in cheerleading, cotillion and the sorority of their choice.
9. I stuck them with some pretty crappy genes. In addition to the depression, mentioned above, I’ve also passed down a pokey metabolism, a propensity to carry weight in their mid-sections and strangely muscular legs that are exact replicas of their Grandpa Jack’s.
10. But, worst of all, I loved them unconditionally which just set an unattainable bar for future significant others.
I’m sure this list will be expanded to 10 or 20 pages by the time Biggie and Smalls reach adulthood. So, to my beloved children…for all of the above and for my failings to come, I am sincerely sorry. Blame mom and get a good shrink.