There are so many things that make me feel like a bad mom these days. Time to make a list!
1. I give my kid cough syrup.
Aidan always seems to have a cough.
He clearly has his mom’s sinus/allergy/cold issues. I’m always fighting something and always popping some natural remedy (like probiotics or grapefruit seed oil or kan jang, a Swedish herb that I was obsessed with for years) and shoving a Neti Pot up my nose. So, we give him vitamins and have an adorable frog humidifier going at all times in his room. But still he coughs so much sometimes that he wakes himself up and cries and and wakes us up and, well, long story short, sometimes we give him cough syrup. I went to CVS and talked to the pharmacist and told him the deal and he recommended Delsym, because it contains dextromethorphan, a bona fide cough suppressant, as in it stops his cough and lets him sleep.
Look, I’ve always been a hippy crunchy mom. I used to make all his baby food. I didn’t let him taste sugar till his first birthday—and then made the super healthy super yucky carrot cake myself. I consulted Lauren Feder’s Natural Baby and made onion poultices that I put by his bed and fed him capsules made of my placenta rather than subject him to, God forbid, Motrin or cold meds when he was sick.
I’ve since caved on everything—how the mighty have fallen!
The kid’s a sugar addict, he’s obsessed with movies (Cars is his fave) and You Tube (he’s two and he knows the words “download” and “iPhone”). And, I admit it, I liked the idea of letting him sleep rather than cough himself awake all night long, so I gave him cough syrup!
And I was punished by having to rush him to the emergency room on a Saturday morning thinking he was going to die of a brain tumor because he was careening around like a drunk because he was high on cough syrup!
A few days later we took him to the doctor for a follow-up and she said that the American Academy of Pediatrics DOES NOT RECOMMEND COUGH SYRUP FOR KIDS HIS AGE.
Excuse me, how the hell did I not know this? How the hell did I not know?
She even said she couldn’t recommend the homeopathic kind because there’s been no safety testing, but I’m still giving it to him when he’s desperate.
Am I turning my kid into a cough syrup junkie? I would ask someone to give me a swift kick to the head, but then I checked Dr. Sears’ Baby Bible and he said, and I quote, “Cough medicines, if used wisely and safely, may help baby and you sleep.”
So, what the hell is going on?
In any case, the whole thing makes me feel like a very bad mom.
2. Yesterday I let my son walk around in the freezing cold rain without an umbrella.
Moms are supposed to think of everything. In fact, we do think of everything without even trying! If we’re so much as walking up the block to the store, I’ve got a stash of diapers, wipes, snacks, and water and a toy shoved in my pocket—just in case.
But yesterday I went to pick Aidan up at school and I didn’t bring an umbrella.
It had snowed all morning, and by afternoon the fluffy white flakes had turned to icy rain and I was afraid to drive in it so I took the subway and….well, there’s me and my little baby angel trudging through six inch puddles in boots and parkas that just don’t qualify as waterproof, getting drenched.
Can you hear baby angel sniffling, “Mommy, I’m cooooold”?
Can you see his drenched hair plastered to his forehead?
Can you see the rivulets racing down his pale wet cheeks?
Yeah, shitty mom.
3. I lose my temper.
So, we get home. The kid is drenched. I peel off his soaked clothes and boots, get him bundled up in some nice warm sweatpants and a fuzzy fleece, give him the popsicle he’s been begging for (I know, I know…) and jump on the computer (I know, I know…)
That’s when I learn that they’re running my piece on babble today, which means I have to read it, approve the text, get a bio together, send a headshot, blah blah blah, all immediately.
Aidan finishes his popsicle and then he wants me to play with him. I go, “Aidan, I have to work for five minutes and then I can play with you.” He stands there, lip trembling, and dissolves into tears.
Okay, it’s been a rough afternoon, so I throw my arms around him, tell him I love him, pull out a bunch of toys and scatter them irresistibly around the room and then, firmly but kindly, tell him I have to work but I’ll play with him in five minutes. He moans and says he wants mommy.
So, I put him in my lap and say he can sit there if he sits quietly and lets me work.
He complies for about two minutes and then starts squirming, throwing pens, running his fingers over my keyboard.
I bite my tongue until he deletes a paragraph from my email to my editor and inserts some nonsense hieroglyphics where it was supposed to be.
That’s when I lose it. Here’s what I did:
I slammed him down on the floor, jumped up, shouted, “YOU RUINED IT!”, picked up my computer, slammed it down on the other side of the table and sat down to fix the damage.
At this point, angel baby’s forehead is pushed against the edge of the table and his lip is trembling again.
Oh man, I am a mean mom.
Of course I tell him nicely that I really just need to work for a minute. Of course I tell him I love him. Of course I give him a huge hug and let him crawl back into my lap.
But within two minutes we’re at it again. He does something naughty (drives a car through my hair, pulling out a chunk). I scream. He gets sad. I apologize. He does something even naughtier (hits me in the head with a car). I lose it even louder, even nastier. It goes on and on.
Is this a dysfunctional relationship? This kind of push and pull—you suck, you’re bad, oh honey, I didn’t mean it, I love you, come here, hug hug, I love you so much love you so much love you so much kiss kiss hug hug—it is all kinds of wrong! Am I screwing up my kid?
If this were a romance, I’d be counseling the woman to leave the bastard and telling her they need couples therapy.
Jesus Christ. And I wanted to be the best mom ever.
4. I feed him macaroni and cheese at least twice a week.
It used to at least be Annie’s Organics. But lately, it’s just as likely to be Trader Joe’s brand. Or Market Basket.
Okay, I gotta stop before I get really depressed.