Rebecca Frech really cracks me up. She’s been guest posting this month and we’re happy to have her. You can read her regularly at Shoved to Them:
Since moving to Texas, we have discovered the “Playgroup” phenomena. I’m sure there were such things in Oklahoma City, but I wasn’t cool enough to be part of one. Then we moved to the Dallas area, and I was asked to join a few different groups within a month of our arrival. I knew I would be the odd man out, what with the 7 kids and all, but hanging out with “normal moms” has convinced me once and for all that I truly am a horrible mother, and judging by the mouths that fall open when I opine and the subtle head shakes when I talk, I’m not the only one thinking I’m a little outside of “perfect mommy-dom.” People often tell me that they could never have 7 kids and do it well. I’m not so sure that I can either.
Can I just be honest here? I know I’m never going to win Mother of the Year. Here’s why:
• I give the baby formula when we’re in the car. I know, I know, breast is best. I just haven’t figured out how to drive the car and get it into the back seat all at the same time. They’re not as perky as they used to be, but I’m not in National Geographic territory yet.
• The baby sleeps with us. Don’t talk to me about studies and that scary story about King Solomon in the Bible. I’m old, I’m tired, and I’m lazy. Not to mention that a four month old curled up in the middle of our king sized bed does more to delay the arrival of a #8 than just about anything else.
• She sleeps on her tummy. Under blankets. I’ve read the mommy magazines. I’ve seen the American Academy of Pediatrics stuff. I’m deciding to ignore it all. Back sleepers get flat heads and wear helmets. No thank you. Here’s what I’m thinking, I’ve never seen an animal in the wild that sleeps with its soft underbelly hanging out there all tempting the lion and stuff. Have you? No. Things don’t sleep that way. Plus, back sleepers startle themselves awake. About that blanket? Our bedroom is cold, she sleeps with us. I need blankets. The end.
• I see absolutely nothing wrong with chocolate cake for breakfast. It has eggs, flour, milk, and butter; and it has less sugar than a bowl of Fruit Loops. If you’d give a kid a doughnut, why not a big hunk of cake? But not on a school day, let’s not go crazy here. We’re not barbarians.
• My 4 year old can’t ride a bike. He’s almost 5. This is Texas where boys play sports. He’s more Ferdinand the Bull-ish. He wants to sit and catch the roly-poly bugs. Our neighbors’ boys were riding bikes at 3. My boy? He’s afraid he’ll scrape his knees, and I’m okay with that. Partly because he’ll learn when he’s ready, and partly because I don’t want to run behind his bike. (Did you see the old, tired, and lazy part up there?)
• I have 4 sons. None of them ever have or ever will play Little League. America’s game? Maybe somewhere else. This is Texas, son. We play football here, plus the LL schedule is insane. 2 practices a week plus double and triple headers? No way, Jose. How ‘bout a nice game of soccer?
• My children do not have beautiful, professionally decorated bedrooms. In fact, the 2 year old’s dresser is a Rubbermaid set of drawers from the hardware store. His artwork is an Angry Birds poster from Tar-jay. His bedding doesn’t match itself, forget about matching his room. He doesn’t care. He wants the airplane sheets, boat blanket, and Harry Potter pillow left over from his brothers’ old bedrooms.
• I let the kids have Harry Potter bedding. Say what you like about the books and movies, the bedding was horrendous. Giant spiders glow in the dark on the pillowcases. Scary, nightmare inducing stuff. All I said was “Don’t come and get me if this freaks you out at night. Wake up your brother. It’s why y’all share rooms.”
• I decided to homeschool the kids and never once thought “What will they do for prom?” It seems to be the #1 concern of a lot of the moms around here. I just never thought that kids who couldn’t date and didn’t go to school would be worried about a school dance for which you need a date. (For the record, homeschoolers have proms, so you can stop worrying about my under-privileged children.)
• I make my kids do their own laundry once they can reach inside the washer. I have other things to do like watching my stories. And, have you smelled pre-teen boy funk? Not doing it. You forget the deodorant; you’re the one who’s going to suffer in the laundry room. I don’t know why the thought of a 10 year old boy alone with a washing machine is terrifying, but it seems to be just this side of reportable abuse.
• I provide all the basics for my children, for all the extra stuff they can get a J. O. B. Yup, that’s right. I make them work. I also make them save half of what they earn and use the rest for the things they want to do. There’re no allowances in our house. If they need money, then their hippie selves can get to work. There may be free lunch in the kitchen, but that trip to the movies with their friends is going to cost them.
There are times I almost begin to feel sorry for our seven kids when the neighbor women start planning elaborate birthday parties or taking their kids to their 5th piano/karate/ballet/basket weaving lesson of the week while mine are poking holes in the lump of homemade play-doh in our kitchen (Who am I trying to kid? I don’t make play-doh. Have you seen the mess that stuff creates?) Then I turn around and realize that all the “privileged” neighborhood kids are hanging out over here because it turns out that I’m the only mom who allows light saber battles on the stairs, and am willing to throw on a cape and be the creepy emperor. (Bonus that I know that his name is Palpatine!) I let the girls come in and use my nail polish and don’t mind when they get it coated all the way up to their elbows. I may not be the best mom around these parts, but my kids seem to like me just fine. At least they’re not asking to move out this week, and that counts as a win to me!