I told the lady who answered the phone that I hoped someday to actually make money with my writing. When she asked me what I wrote and I told her about my humor column in the Covington Reporter, she was excited because she reads it.
We then got to talking about the basis for my columns and blogs, which is to tell of all the "parenting crimes" I have committed over the years. My intention in outing myself is to help other parents not feel so alone. Because the one thing I finally learned was that I wasn't a bad mom, I was the only one willing to out myself.
The lady at the bank had been a single parent raising three or four children, working two or three jobs. She committed what she felt was a parenting crime: being exhausted and feeding her kids ice cream and popcorn in front of a movie while she took a nap.
She was so embarrassed over the "crime" she didn't tell anyone for years; now she laughs about it. I am here to tell her, I have committed many parenting crimes under less stressful circumstances.
I remember once I was so tired after my youngest was born.. I was sleeping on the couch with the baby and my oldest was actually sitting on top of me watching TV and snacking on fish crackers. If that isn't the lowest of the low, I don't know what is.
I have lied my way out of taking my kids to activities just because I would have to expend too much energy to get them there. I turned them against team sports with subliminal messages early on so I wouldn't have to stand out in the cold and rain and watch them play whatever sport kids play in the cold and rain. I often urged them to watch TV because I was so exhausted I needed a nap. We have had cereal for dinner many a night or I let my husband "cook," which means fast food, the cheaper the better.
Anyway, we've all done things we're not proud of when it comes to our children. I'm not even sure why we have them; sometimes it seems we have produced little versions of ourselves where all our bad habits are reflected right back at us.
But talking to the lady at the bank yesterday gave me a lot of hope. One because I think my message is still valid: "we are not in this alone." But two because her kids turned out well even if she did feed them ice cream and popcorn for dinner once. It's probably one of their favorite childhood memories.