In honor of Mother's Day this weekend, we'd like to salute not just those who make brownies for every bake sale and keep the house tidy enough to let unexpected visitors in the door, but those who are -- occasionally -- not perfect.
We asked you to send in your stories of what makes you an unfit mother. Stories that are funny and left no scars.
Here are some of your responses:
I managed to qualify not once but twice for the Unfit Mothers Hall of Fame:
The first time was when I had to drag my child OUT of the library. ...
The other time was when I had to make her STOP READING at bedtime, and not only stop reading, but stop reading Bible stories.
... (The time I hauled her squirmy little self out of church with her wailing, "No, Mommy, I'll be good!" while the rest of the congregation was in prayer probably earns a Dishonorable Mention.)
When my daughter was 4 years old, I sent her to Sunday school occasionally with various friends, since my husband and I are not church-goers. One Sunday afternoon after attending Catholic Sunday school with Jennifer, the two girls were playing at our house.
I was reading on the hammock and watching the girls play on the porch, when my daughter Katy said, "I sure am glad we don't have to go to your church and learn about all those 10 Communion things!"
"We don't take Communion in Sunday school," replied Jennifer.
"You know, the 10 Communion things, all those stupid rules you have to know for your life."
I looked up from my book, the horror dawning on me slowly. "Katy, are you talking about the Ten Commandments?" I asked.
"Yea, that's it, the Ten Commandments," she proudly responded.
I went to the bookstore that afternoon to buy a children's Bible. It's a horrible thing to think you are raising a heathen!
Diane P. Barnes
OK. Huge confession. But I know that all of you moms out there, even if you've never said what I'm about to admit, you've thought it.
I'm holding court in my high school English classroom, teaching something really important (no snickering from my students past or present), when our school secretary comes to the door and says, "You need to call Will's school. He's in the sickroom and they want you to come pick him up."
Now, understand that my middle schooler Will had been warned to call me at school only if the situation were grave -- bones sticking out, gushing blood, seizures and so on.
I throw together some lesson plans for the rest of the day and huff my way out the door. On the drive over to Will's school, I feel myself getting mad, really mad. I mutter to myself, "He was perfectly fine this morning. What is he thinking, interrupting me at school?" My lips press in a thin line and I say as little as possible to Will and the secretary who hands him over to me. I head out the school door, Will following behind.
We get in the car and I turn on him and the following words come out of my mouth, "You had better be sick, dammit." Dead silence. Will just looks at me. Then I have a moment of recognition -- an ugly one. What am I? Some kind of sadist? A horror-movie mother? An egocentric maniac to warn her child in the nastiest demon-mother voice, "You had better be sick"?
Will sits silently beside me as we drive. I have no idea what is going on in his brain, but I know about mine. Guilt, guilt, guilt. Much chastened, I apologize to him, carry him to the pediatrician, stop by the pharmacy for the needed antibiotics, take him home to tuck him in, and baby him as he recuperates.
Oh, the power of a son's look to transform a mother's fit of pique into guilty restitution.
Grier Gadsden Brown