As we approach the First Anniversary of World’s Worst Moms, I thought it would be fun to throw in one of my own bad mother moments. Enjoy the pain.
And if you haven’t entered the Anniversary Giveaway Extravaganza yet, then get your butt over to the previous post before midnight on August 24th. Someone’s going to end up with a cute necklace.
I consider myself to be a caring, empathetic person. And since I’ve personally lived with chronic pain for the last seventeen years, you’d think I’d be particularly sensitive to when other people aren’t feeling well. You’d also think that, as a doctor, my husband would be more attuned to the discomfort and suffering of others. Generally speaking, we are.
Just not, apparently, when it comes to our own family.
Last winter, we had passes to our local ski resort. The kids had learned to ski the year before, so we thought they’d be seasoned veterans. But instead, they suddenly turned into a couple of whiners who didn’t like snow because it was cold. Or ski boots because they were uncomfortable. Or car rides because they took too long.
We were up in the parking lot of the resort, unloading the equipment, when Elfie, our 6-year-old, started up. She was tired. She couldn’t get her boots on. She felt too puffy in her clothes. That’s when we just laid into her. Both the kids got a giant lecture about how we rented their equipment for the season because they said they wanted to ski and we were sick and tired of all the complaining and if they didn’t buck up and stop being so difficult, we were going to leave them home (a threat that, based on all the whining, you’d think they’d be psyched about, but no — kids are big paradoxes).
So Elfie bucked up. She put on all of her stuff and walked to the lift. But she didn’t really talk very much and just sort of shuffled along with her head hung low. When we got our skis on, she and I took the lift up and split from my husband and son, who wanted to do something steeper. Still not much talking, but I figured she was beaten down from the lecture.
I should mention that the bunny run is annoying enough for me because there are places where it’s so flat that I actually have to “skate” in order to move. And sometimes, I end up having to pull a kid with me. On this day, Elfie was skiing so slowly that we kept getting stuck at a complete stop. And it was killing me. I was like the ski patrol pulling one of those rescue sleds. Only you don’t yell, “Come on! Let’s go!” at a sled.
And when I wasn’t pulling her, I was reminding her that we were actually skiing. Down a mountain. And she had to pay attention. It was like someone had slipped her a special brownie at a Grateful Dead concert and she’d “never seen the stars move like that before. . . “
“Elllllllfie, over this way. . . Ellllllfie, stop looking at the kids from the ski school. . . Ellllllfie, the bottom of the hill is this way. . .” I don’t want to say that my tone sounded as condescending as, say, Donald Trump talking to full-grown, successful adults on Celebrity Apprentice, but it couldn’t exactly be categorized as “kind and understanding.”
By the time we got to the bottom, I didn’t even mind when she said she was too tired and didn’t want to ski anymore. Because frankly, I didn’t either. But I was ticked off all the same. All I could think was, “What the hell is wrong with my kid? Is she really this weak? This wimpy? This spacy? Maybe we need to send her to go live on a farm for a month. This is all because I stopped breast feeding too soon, isn’t it. . .”
We sat down on a snow bank and waited for the guys. She asked me to help her take off her helmet, and that’s when it happened — I felt her head.
“Elfie, do you feel sick?”
When we got home we took her temperature — 102 degrees. Um, sorry! Erm, ha ha. . . wanna watch a movie? Or eat a popsicle? Or burn your mother in effigy?
I’m sure she’ll read this in the not too distant future. And all I can say is this: “Sorry honey. I really screwed that one up. And with me, it’s true — you and your brother have have gotten the short end of the stick. But just think — if I were better at this, there’d be no World’s Worst Moms. So thanks.”