A friend, and one-time guest blogger, Tina Jordan, just turned me on to a great blog that is carried by the New York Times called “Motherlode.” There, author Lisa Belkin expounds on a variety of parenting topics, often employing guest bloggers herself. Thanks, Tina. Now I’m really not getting anything done. See, it’s one of those blogs that is alternately fascinating and informative. I don’t really feel like I’m wasting time, because often I learn something. And there are also those times where I’m screaming “AMEN!” at the computer, because here I thought I was alone.
Did I mention that I hold the title of “Meanest Mom Ever”? True that. I told the child who bestowed the honor upon me that I strive to be the best at everything I do, and that includes being the meanest. Ever.
I visited the site the other day, which you can access at www.nytimes.com/motherlode and read with interest about one of my favorite topics: snacking. Let me give you a little back story: years ago, when I quit my in-house job to stay home with child #1 while gestating child #2, I started frequenting the local playgrounds and parks, if only to counteract the incredible boredom that comes along with leaving a high-paying, exciting job that offers you the company of fascinating people (hindsight is 20-20 after all) to spend your day with a four-year-old who, previously, has been coddled and mentally stimulated (for a small fortune, of course) by a nanny with only one charge. After my one thousandth game of “Candy Land,” I decided it was time to branch out. After lunch one day, I went to a park within walking distance of our house dragging only me, my kid, and one single, solitary, warm juice box, in the event that said kid would get thirsty. I’m not so worried about hunger, but I do worry about thirst. We got to the park and the kid went off to play, while I sat amidst other moms who were surrounded by coolers full of perishable food, not to mention a cornucopia of dry goods like pretzels, Cheez-Its, Rice Krispie Treats, and a host of other carbohydrates. Child #1, upon gazing at this Bacchanalian spectacle of little kid food, immediately pronounced, “I’m hungry.”
“She couldn’t possibly be,” I protested to the women who had turned their collective suspicious and derisive gaze toward me, “She just ate two slices of pizza. And she only weighs thirty-six pounds.” It never even occurred to me to bring food to the playground. Weren’t we there to play?
But my protestations were in vain. I was “bad mommy.”
When I was a child, we ate three meals a day. We occasionally came in looking for other sorts of treats, but they weren’t to be had. Nobody was cutting up oranges for us to consume at halftime during our CYO basketball games. Dare I say I even went to school a few days without even having eaten breakfast? The horrors. Today’s mothers and fathers are constantly monitoring their children’s food intake, making sure they are sated and hydrated with such fervor one would think that food and drink is scarce.
I was in the post office a few weeks back waiting on an interminable line behind a very pregnant woman with a barely-two-year-old little boy. He made one peep and she started digging around in her very big rucksack for food, offering him oranges, pretzels, water, juice, milk, a half a sandwich, and crackers. Once he made his decision of oranges, she wiped his hands with hand sanitizer (did I mention that he was sitting on the floor in the United States Post Office?) and gave him his snack, which he promptly dropped on the floor, picked up, and shoved in his mouth. When he was done with the oranges, he drank the milk. Then, he started on the crackers. By the time he was done, I think I had gained three pounds just from watching.
Okay, maybe the kid was hungry. Maybe he had hadn’t eaten since the day before. Maybe the mom knew something about his blood sugar that I didn’t. But I can tell you that no child that I know has ever been that hungry that they needed to eat a small meal in the post office a half hour prior to the dinner hour. Where did parents get the idea that kids need to be fed constantly? It’s baffling to me.
Back at the playground, someone eventually gave child #1 a pretzel rod or some such treat and she went off to play, something that the children who had the four-course meal awaiting them at the park bench seemed not to do. They circled like vultures, eating everything their parents had packed up for them, instead of swinging on the swings and playing on the slide and running on the basketball court. Eventually, I succumbed to peer pressure and began bringing a half-eaten bag of whatever snack was in our house, if only to show that I wasn’t completely cruel and heartless mother who denied my child her god-given right to eat a six-foot Italian wedge in between games of hopscotch.
Please feel free to chime in with your own bad mommy stories, Stiletto faithful.