#ThrowbackThursday The Many Mistakes I Made Parenting (according to a magazine)

I wrote this in January 2011, it appeared on my other blog and I was reminded of it when I happened to see a Parenting Magazine in the grocery store today. 


I had several hellish days at the hospital and didn’t bother to look at my mail until Wednesday morning before I drove Beav to school. Imagine my surprise when I found a “Parents’” magazine, “The Early Years” addition. I’m waiting with bated breath for my issue of Modern Maturity and I get a freakin’ parenting magazine! Yes dear readers I laughed and laughed and laughed. And then I laughed again because the date on it was November 2010. Awesome, completely too little too late. Much like my parenting style. Lackadaisical. My only saving grace as a parent when my kids were little I didn’t drink daily. I wanted to drink daily but I didn’t. Prozac was my vodka. Seriously, in hindsight that’s probably why I didn’t drink. That and I remembered what it was like for a couple of my friends who had alcoholic parents. We wouldn’t play or hang out at their houses very often because Mom or Dad always “too busy” or “napping”. I’m actually glad I was completely oblivious to what this adjective and noun really meant when I was a kid.. In hindsight, it breaks my heart I knew girls (whom are my “chosen sisters”) living in those conditions. I have flights of fantasy where adult me swoops in and rescues them as girls–staging an intervention with the offending parent or parents–whisking the girls off to another household where the most horrible thing that happens is getting yelled at for not cleaning your room and that birthday party you were invited to is forgotten until about an hour before it starts so the present is purchased and wrapped on the way to the party.

Well if that weird digression isn’t testimony I have middle-aged hormonal issues…I don’t know what is! So lemme get back on task with the subject at hand.

Parents Magazine.

I didn’t read it when my kids were little. I read “Family Fun” and hippy dippy “Mothering”. In fact, I wrote “Mothering” a letter to the editor in about 1999 taking an ex-professor of mine to task for her shoddy research modalities and her theory that Every. Mother. Should. Breast. Feed. All. The. Time. Um…no was my counter opinion. Crack cocaine is never good for a baby, in utero, via breast milk or secondhand smoke. Neither is alcohol. And some mommies smoke crack and drink excessive amounts of alcohol. Which was my point to this professor–who also hated me and told me the last day of nursing school if she had her way I never be a nurse. I believe she was a little put off by my pink tinged mullet and torn clothing–was her research was completely oblivious to the existence of other people outside of the Mary Cassett vision of “Mommy“. Which also explains why a punked out 22 year old wasn’t “Nursy” enough in her stupid jaundiced narrow eyes.

Guess how long I got hate mail from equally oblivious readers of this magazine. Just guess.

Eight years. Eight. That’s a long time to get hate mail.

At first the letters scared me, a couple of them were threatening: telling me my children should be taken away from me (seriously!) because I believed in “negligent parenting practices“. Real fringe lunacy type stuff. One letter used the word “Satan” to describe me. What cracks me up, is most of these women welding their bossy sticks were probably the progeny of Winston Longs and Gordon’s Gin in utero and then they played on DDT covered grass in front of their doctor’s office waiting for their EVUL vaccines when they weren‘t parked in front of the television with only “The Rifleman“ and “As The World Turns“ for entertainment. After a few months all the frothing at the mouth made me laugh. My biggest regret is I never heard from the good doctor; I even signed the letter with my highly unusual maiden name and my credentials. Perhaps I should have enclosed a college graduation picture so she would remember I looked more like Cindy Lauper than Florence Nightingale.

Ok then. I promise I’m finished with the Grandpa Simpson digressions: Back to the November 2010 Parenting: The Early Years.

Here’s what I could read about in my current dotage:

“I did it myself” Teaching the art of getting dressed”
–they paid someone to write this article? Really? Modern parents need to be taught how to teach a child to put on their pants one leg at a time? Did I teach my kids wrong? ARE THEY DOING IT WRONG ALL THESE YEARS??? What was wrong with: “Honey, your underpants are cute on your head but that’s not where most people wear them.“ “…put the pants legs over your feet and then pull them up over your legs until the band is at your belly button…the big hole is for your head and the two little holes are for your arms…” WHAT HAVE I DONE TO MY CHILDREN???? THIS IS HOW I TAUGHT THEM TO DRESS!!! I guess I’m gonna have to drop another fifty in their therapy accounts.

“10-minute Workout: Finally! A plan that fits with even your schedule”
–I had a ten minute work out that fit nicely into my schedule and sometimes it stretched into the fifteen minute workout: it was called: “Putting Beav in the Car Seat” Sometimes if we had to go somewhere he didn’t want to be bothered with (this was like 99% of the time) I had to carry his massive three year old self to the car, usually tucked under my arm while he was flailing. So there some core and upper body strengthening. I would then hold him under his arms away from my body and sit him the car seat where I would brace myself with one foot in the car, bent over while I had one hand gently but firmly on his chest to keep him from moving forward and therefore out of the car seat while I pulled the restraint thingy down over his head and buckled it between his legs. I’m thinking this fancy maneuver was good for my core, my back and my legs. My psyche not so much. I’m not sure about his because I’m afraid to ask if he remembers Car Seat Wars and if he does that’s probably good for another C note in his therapy account.

Next up and this is in bold on the cover:

I don’t even need to flip open to page 118 because I know these things are listed:
The big television box
Dining room and kitchen chairs and a couple of old quilts
The kitchen cupboard with all the plastic stuff
A dripping garden hose in the backyard
A big silly white dog named Kipper
The laundry chute in Mommy’s room*

Hooray For Turkey Day
Easy make-ahead dishes
–stovetop stuffing made last November and pulled from the freezer this November?
Super sneaky time-savers
–get invited to a friends house! (duh)
–HungryMan TV dinners (is your three year old really gonna care? Really?)
great games and crafts
–One year the kids got to play: “Watch Mommy Cook Strung Out On Benadryl” The craft project that year was making me a decorated drool cup. At least they never played: “Run and go get Mommy another glass of wine!”
Wally played that with me this Christmas. He’s twenty.

All kidding aside, I’m sure this issue of parenting has valuable articles, tips and tricks for parents of young children who are still slapping themselves at times and muttering: “What the Hell did I do to my life?” I just hope their advertisers are the only Bossy Stick elements because apparently if you had not been feeding your NEWBORN “special Enfamil NEWBORN formula”, YOU WERE DOING IT WRONG AND YOUR CHILD IS DOOMED. I kid you not. This is the ad on the back of the magazine and yes, I’ve contacted the Similac people because of the tone:

“I am NOT A BABY I am a newborn”

Apparently, those of us who didn’t feed our children Enfamil PREMIUM newborn formula deprived them of 25% more Vitamin D Is the subtextual guilt really necessary?

My guess is this is this ad is not on the back of Mothering magazine. Just sayin’…and I was deprived of 25% of my much needed Vitamin D when I was a baby newborn…and I can still figure that out. Wow.

*I loved the idea of a laundry chute until I had one. Thank goodness my kids were too big to push each other down it because everything else was tossed to the basement via the shoot. And if you happen to have small children and a laundry chute, the broom is the best weapon for dislodging things wedged in the silly thing. Just a little parenting advice because I‘m helpful like that.


About Laura

When my nest emptied I moved from the big city to a little big town to tend to a ramshackle yellow house on the edge of town. These are my Yellow House Days.
This entry was posted in Just me, life away from the yellow house, memories. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to #ThrowbackThursday The Many Mistakes I Made Parenting (according to a magazine)

  1. pagemanuel says:

    Laura, that’s hilarious! Truth be told, I did subscribe to Parents mag. after giving birth to my one and only. It’s a decision I live to regret. I became more paranoid, which I didn’t think was even possible! I also loathed myself sometimes for feeling inadequate. That was before I had enough prozac and real mother wisdom to decide that parenting is very relative, very personal. To hell with the La Leche League, Amer. Acad of Pedia endless and forever changing recommendations on certain things and other advice from ‘experts’. (There are WAY too many experts these days, don’t you agree?). Anyway, to each his own. As long as we don’t kill our children and they don’t end up being serial killers or sociopaths, then we’re fine! 😉


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