Every time you find the humor in a difficult situation, you win. Unless that difficult situation is because of your child, in which case laughing in their face would be an epic parent fail. I have been a Mom for over sixteen years, and I have three children. I consider myself an expert in embarrassment, and I can laugh off a pediatric faux pas like nobody’s business. But when I have to place discipline in the place of laughter I find myself at a compromising parental crossroads where no one wins.
I’ve chronicled my top ten so far.
- You never know what you’re going to get when you shop with a two-year-old girl. On this day, I was on Diva duty, dress shopping for a formal toddler event. The victory was finally found at Dillard’s, and when I noticed a sale in my department, I had to look. No more Mom Jeans…at a discount! As I was explaining my dramatic post-pregnancy weight loss to the sales attendant at the register, my daughter interrupted by stomping her foot dramatically … “WHAT’S THE DEAL? I WAS TOLD THERE WOULD BE CHIK-FIL-A”
- When you’re on vacation with kids, you become delusional. Somehow you convince yourself that crossing the state line is going to result in a complete transformation of your child’s typical terrible behavior. We thought we could manage our daughters at a four-star restaurant, but when our two-year-old announced that another patron, a portly man in an ill-fitting white t-shirt, had boobs, we knew we’d been wrong, but thought we could carry on with dinner. But when the man walked by our table again, she stood up proudly, pointed directly at his chest and proclaimed,“There he is! HE’S GOT BOOBS! HUGE BOOBS!!!” Mortified, we quickly exited and dined at McDonald’s instead. To be fair, the man could have used a Wonderbra…or two.
- Kids have no filter…When my husband’s friend from college called to let us know he was passing through, we altered our family lunch plan and met him at a local deli. My daughter doesn’t like change or anyone that takes her Daddy’s attention. And, I have to admit, listening to fraternity stories was getting obnoxious. There is only so much one can take, and my six year old’s threshold was low. As we were saying our goodbyes in the parking lot, my husband asked her what she thought of his friend’s new sedan to which she replied: “Swell, if you’re a man who likes girl cars.”
- When they humiliate you in public. My daughter Lylah Kate is so full of sass and spunk, and she loves to talk…to anyone and everyone. So I wasn’t surprised when I found her chatting up the Sunday school teachers about TV one afternoon after church. Now, I was only half way listening in on her conversation as I was holding one of my own nearby, with the preacher’s wife, but let me tell you the moment she told those ladies about watching a show with naked men and women that corridor became quiet and time stood still.“N-A-K-E-D MEN and WOMEN!!!!” She spoke slowly, milking every syllable for all it was worth, omitting the fact that the program was on the Discovery Channel, and we had only watched a few times. I guess it wasn’t that funny then because I recall my embarrassment as I felt the judgmental stares from senior members of the congregation. Staring at me, The Porn Mom.
- When they mortify you online. When my daughter was eleven, she produced a series of videos starring her little sister. It was a fun little project that brought them joy, and I was proud of their creativity. It was my understanding that the featured specials were for family and friends only. However, people began to approach me with comments about “The Show.” I admit it took me a while to catch up, but I finally realized the girls were broadcasting their little vignettes on YouTube, for everyone. They were punished, of course, for disobeying the rules, but their show was so unique and fun, capturing both of their personalities at that age. I’m so glad I have those memories now, even though they humiliated me for a moment.
- Bad Haircuts. Do you remember the line from that Faye Dunaway classic Mommie Dearest, No Wire Hangars? Well, No Freaking Scissors was my battle cry for about four to six years. See, both of my girls managed to give themselves a you can’t fix it so don’t even try mullet hairstyle. Several times, despite me clearing the house of all potential hair tools. One of them managed to do the “business in the front bang” with a pair of scrapbook scissors! She looked like Sally, Charlie Brown’s sister
- When they share too much…My son Nathan has autism, and we are always working on taking turns or sharing. So when he came to me one day and handed me a ball I was thrilled that he had shared with no prompting! We celebrated this small victory, and as I went to place the ball on the dresser, I detected a smell. That I knew all too well. Upon further examination, I recognized that I was not in possession of a ball…it was poop.
- Nice try? One day back when I only had one child, I was enjoying a relaxing afternoon reading one of Oprah’s selections, when the ADT alarm brought me right back to reality. The source was my kitchen- more specifically the microwave where my seven-year-old had carefully placed six pieces of raw biscuit dough, set the timer for fifteen minutes and checked out kids style. Her effort to be creatively lazy set our microwave on fire. The smell lingered for weeks.
- When they have aced sarcasm. My nine year old still has yet to get on board with the daily personal hygiene thing. She would go a month without a shower if she could. The other day we were trying desperately to “locate that smell” thinking the dog had treated us to something special, but it was her feet. When my 16-year-old suggested for her to sleep in the bathtub and that I should Pinterest an overnight de-funk soak for her, I almost fell out of my chair laughing. (But I didn’t.)
- Helping others..sort of. I thought What Not to Wear on TLC would be a great program to watch with my then eight-year-old fashionista, Lylah Kate. And it checked out, for the most part, until we were shopping at a local department store one afternoon. See, while I was trying on a couple of things, she was supposed to be minding her own business browsing the store. (Bonus for living in a small town.) When the attendants told me what she had been up to I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry. My child had channeled Stacy London and was offering her help, free of charge. She even advised one patron that the dress she selected “wasn’t working for her” and to hang it up! (She did!) Then Lylah Kate picked out a casual slacks/animal print blouse combination for the lady, and she bought it! And Thank Goodness she did, or they probably wouldn’t let us shop there anymore! Shout out to Stubbs!!!
I know I will have many more stories to share. My children amaze me every day with their unique personalities, quirks and, yes mistakes. Sometimes it’s not wrong to laugh along with them as long as they are learning in the process. Because it’s awfully darn hard to keep a poker when your kids are so amusing.
What about you? Have you ever felt the extreme embarrassment of a rude toddler? Been handed a ball of poop? Let me know how you handle the crazy moments of Motherhood!