To The Moms Who Are Better Than Me

by Rita Templeton
parenting better

Dear Better Moms Than Me,

I’m writing this letter to thank you from the bottom of my woefully inexperienced little heart. I mean, you saved my children from my ineptitude, which means you probably saved their actual lives. If I had continued down the terrible parenting path I was traveling down… Well, I shudder to think of the outcome. But thanks to your help, I don’t have to worry about that any more.

You see, before you offered me your expert advice, I was clueless as to how much wrong I was doing when it came to parenting my kids — but you really opened my eyes. Like that time when you saw me offering my baby a bottle and gently reminded me that “breast is best.” I had no idea! My baby looked fine, on the outside. He seemed well-fed and healthy and content. Thanks for letting me know that I was probably pumping him full of poison and that he was likely seething with chemicals inside. Wow.

Without you thoughtfully tagging me in that Facebook post about the wretched mom who sat on the park bench on her phone while her kids played, I may never have realized how horrible I was for doing the exact same thing. I may never have known that I should put my phone away and watch their every little movement! It doesn’t matter how boring sitting at the park is to me. What if they fell? What if I missed some kind of beautiful moment? I can’t believe I ever had the audacity to check my email or text a friend while my kids were occupied. What kind of mother was I? Selfish, that’s what. Ugh.

If you hadn’t pursed your lips at my offering of Goldfish crackers during our kids’ playdate, and schooled me in the benefits of an organic raw vegan diet, I probably would have just allowed my kids to have candy and Mountain Dew for every meal, with some pizza rolls thrown in here and there for calcium. I clearly had very little understanding of real nutrition until you came along and enlightened me.

Or screen time. Sheesh. I didn’t even realize until you pointed it out that my children should never ever be allowed to watch two episodes of Paw Patrol in a row or spend more than 15 minutes messing around with the iPad. I honestly didn’t know that it would rot their brains, and I probably would have continued down the slippery slope of screen time overload until they were literally just mindless and staring at the TV all day, unemployed and living in my basement at age 35. So, thank goodness.

I’m really, really glad you told me how your kids were potty trained at 16 months, reading Dostoyevsky novels, and speaking fluent Mandarin by age 2. If you hadn’t, I would have thought my “slow” children were normal. Now I can spend my time addressing their inadequacies and getting them the professional help they need.

In short, without your firm parenting guidance, I may never have known that everything I was doing was harming my kids for life. I may not have asked for your help or your input, but you gave it to me anyway — because that’s what perfect moms like you do. Know better, do better, am I right?

Thanks a million for clueing me in to what a terrible mother I was. Who knows what kind of Cheetos-eating monsters my kids would have turned into otherwise.