Motherhood has slapped a bunch of labels on me; mommy, cook, teacher, chauffeur, maid, kisser of boo-boos, cage fight referee…but I wasn’t expecting hypocrite to be one of them. I have become a master of the double standard, a mocker of my own principles, perpetuator of the Mom motto “do as I say, not as I do”.
I am the mother of not one, but two teenage children (with yet another closing in on 13 in rapid fashion), and every mother of teens knows that they are the great hypocrisy-spotters in our culture. They aren’t kind about it either with their vicious eye rolls and harsh mumbled criticism. Yes, my darling offspring have made me well aware of my general duplicity. Here are just some of the ways I’m the biggest hypocrite ever…
1. I expect my children to keep up with their own things. I mean they aren’t babies any more; they should take a little personal responsibility. But at least ten times a day one of them will ask me, “Have you seen my shoes?” or “Do you know where I can find some clean socks?” or “What happened to the book I was just reading? I left it right here!” or “Did anyone ever take my karate uniform out of the dryer?” And I always respond with “It is not my responsibility to keep up with your crap!” (Just hold my Mom of the Year Award for me.)
And yet, I can’t keep up with my own stuff to save my life. Especially my car keys. I never know where they are. EVER. In a recent rush to get out of the house because we were all inevitably late for something or other, I desperately asked the kids if they had seen the car keys…I mean I’ve looked EVERYWHERE. I’m pretty sure I heard my teenage son mumble, “It is not my responsibility to keep up with your crap.” …So I rolled my eyes at him. He understands that.
2. I preach portion control. If the back of the Oreo’s package says a serving size is only three cookies, then they can only have three cookies. I realize this might make me the meanest mom in the universe, but if I didn’t institute this rule we would never have any cookies (or cereal or crackers or yogurt or popcorn or pretty much any food of any kind) because there would be a mad eating binge of kids cramming food into their mouths with reckless abandon…and I would spend a fortune on snack foods.
Oh, and I’m trying to foster healthy eating habits…yeah, that’s what I meant. Everything in moderation!
And then I catch myself polishing off my third glass of wine late at night after the kids have gone to bed. It doesn’t count as hypocrisy if I’m not caught…right?
3. I tell my children how essential it is to be polite to everyone. Manners are important, and we should try to be civil and courteous even when it’s hard. It’s one of the things that separates us from the animals. You don’t hear dogs and bears and coyotes saying “Thank you” or holding doors for the person behind them.
And then I shout obscenities at the driver of the BMW that just pulled out in front of me.
4. I stress to the children how important it is to put away their things. In a family of six, if everyone just left their stuff lying around, what kind of condition would this house be in? It would be horrible. No one wants to live with that kind of disorder. So make sure you pick up your dirty laundry off the floor and put away your toys and books and craft supplies when you’re done with them.
Meanwhile, my dirty socks are laying on the floor next to the computer desk…from two days ago. Oh, and the clean laundry is unfolded…laying in piles…all over the house.
5. I don’t want the children spending long hours in front of the television. “There are much better things to do with your time,” I tell them. “Go outside. Get some fresh air. Read a book.” I try to convince them that they don’t need to waste time in such a mindless form of entertainment. Seriously, have you seen some of the kids’ programming? It’s just a bunch of silly people making stupid jokes.
But I’ve checked Facebook at least 6 times today…and it’s only 2:30. I sure do love a good Grumpy Cat meme.
6. And speaking of Facebook, I’ve lectured to my teens about the importance of being super careful of everything they post on social media. That stuff stays out there forever. Once you send it out, you can’t get it back. In fact you should keep most things to yourself. You don’t want too much personal information out there. It’s just not safe.
And I write a mom blog.