Do Your Eyes Light Up?

Oprah nodded in grave agreement as Toni Morrison said a true test of maternal love is whether ‘your eyes light up’ each time your child enters the room. I was so stunned I nearly spit my bon-bons. Every time, seriously? I am the Worst Mother in the World because there are times when my children enter the room that I wish they would walk right back out. Panicked at the thought of Oprah’s disapproval I raced to my computer and searched “worst mother.” I was relieved, downright euphoric to see 50 gazillion search results. I am not alone.

Hi! I’m Heija the Worst Mother in the World. It’s printed on my business card and I now have the website and the blog to prove it! Before you let envy set in, know this, I share this wretched title with every other mother ever; you, your mom, Angelina Jolie. We’re all in this together so let’s lighten up, stop taking crayons so seriously and start sharing more of those stories we tell when the kids are out of earshot. No one tells you what to suspect when you’re expecting. For example, everyone spouts on about the wonders and earthy goodness of vaginal birth, allow me to suggest otherwise unless you’d really like to know what a “moderate prolapse” means, or witness your clearly insane OB/GYN suggest, with a straight face even, that 200 kegels a day is a “good goal.” No one freely discusses the amount of crying, faking, vomit, udder (as in breast) humiliation and lice (that’s right I said it) that awaits you on the dark side of motherhood until it’s too late. By then you are happy to be stuck because you’re in love with a drooling lump of flesh that will spend the next 18 years finding new and creative ways to take direct hits at your dwindling self esteem. No matter what kind of mother you are there is no escaping the fact that at some point we all feel like the Worst Mother in the World.

Because of my affiliation with a highly fertile congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses I felt pretty confident about becoming a mother. After all, I was a tiny super-nanny by the time I was 10, taking care of any child in the vicinity that wasn’t already being wet nursed by my own mom. Despite a rough labor and delivery, I remained confident even on the day we brought our first child home. Unfortunately, that confidence was shot about ten minutes after my mother left us alone, after smothering my child’s tiny little bottom with a cement-like mixture of baby powder and diaper ointment. Little did I know that mixture would soon mix with thick, black, meconium poop, to create an impenetrable barrier. It might still be there today.

Twelve years later, I have a deep respect for the beautiful insanity of motherhood. I have an even deeper respect for the cunning ploys, reliable distractions, mommy magic, and network of save my bum fairies that help me survive until bedtime. On my darkest days I do what every good, loving, worst mother does, and toss around loud empty threats while invoking a higher power like Santa, The Tooth Fairy, or Oprah. I am not ashamed. This is survival at its funniest. Despite my best efforts, I am the Worst Mother in the World, and so are you. Let’s compare notes!

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