I thank sweet baby Jesus every day of the week that there aren’t hidden cameras and microphones in the places I parent, because I swear to you, you would think my mothering skills questionable at best if you saw me and my crazy kids in action. It. Is. Not. Pretty. There are times when I’m out in the street with my Mari and Lila, and I’m literally pulling my hat down over my eyes so that nobody can tell it’s Denene Millner author and alleged mom “expert” for a national parenting magazine yelling at/threatening/begging/ignoring/thisclose to swatting her daughters like they stole something. And that’s out in public. Catch me standing over the girls in the morning, when they’re sitting down for breakfast exactly 30 seconds before they’re supposed to be at the bus stop, or clapping and hollering behind them when they’re still in the bathtub/undressed for bed/stalling their goodnights well past bedtime, and you’d think I was a downright lunatic that maybe a visit from a government agency might be helpful for all involved. For sure, my house is what looks like crazy on an ordinary day.
This is all to say that I’m not a perfect mom.
I’m really clear on this.
And because I know how tough it is to be a mom, the last thing I want to do is judge another mom for how she does it in her house, particularly when no one is looking. We all say ugly words we wish we could take back do things that, later, we wish we would have done better. We question whether we’re doing right by our kids practically every second of the day. It’s a mom thing. And the international Mom Code is to avoid at all costs pointing fingers at other moms for how they’re raising their kids. Because dammit, if I’m pointing my finger at you, three more are pointing back at me.
Which is what I was screaming at the TV earlier this week when The Today Show invited Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, author of “Sippy Cups Are Not For Chardonnay,” and purveyor of the popular blog Baby on Bored, onto its couch to give her opinion (read: violate The Mom Code) on Nadya Suleman’s “controversial,” frantic 911 call, in which the mom of 14 repeatedly says, “Oh my God, I’m going to kill myself” when she thinks she’s lost her son. I swear, the Sippy Cup chick had more venom than a damn King Cobra—accused Suleman of being overly dramatic, irresponsible, and downright nuts because she panicked during her 911 call.
“I’ve lost my son in a bookstore and I didn’t lay on the floor and start going, ‘I’m going to kill myself,’ until the paramedics arrived,” she snipped in the segment, as seen in the clip above.
Who decided Wilder-Taylor is the friggin’ arbiter of motherhood perfected? Exactly on what day were they handing out “I’m The Best Mom Ever And You Suck” badges, and who’s responsible for giving her one? And why, why, WHY did we have to be assaulted by her whiny, unreasonably accusatory voice so early in the damn morning? Even the mom sitting next to her had a look on her face that read, “Damn dude, be easy pop a Xanax or something.”
I mean, I’m no Octomom fan—you won’t find me pushing the PayPal button on the Nadya Suleman Family Website, adding a Millner/Chiles cash infusion to the tax dollars we already contribute to the government “help” she’s getting for all those damn kids. I know doggone well, too, that Denene wouldn’t have laid up there and had all those babies knowing she had no job, no money, no help, and no plan. But I wouldn’t ever assume it’s my right to get all up in Suleman’s womb and her wallet, or presume to know what she should have said, how she should have acted, or what she should have been feeling when she thought her child had been snatched.
Because that’s breaking The Code.
Sippy Cup: That thing you heard in Suleman’s voice, sweetie? It’s called e-m-o-t-i-o-n. You know, that feeling some of us—particularly those of us with hearts—express when we think something terrible has happened to our kids.
Maybe you ought to have another sip of Chardonnay, baby, and sit on down.