Introducing (gasp!) the World's Worst Mother

For The Baltimore Sun

Hi, we haven't met. I'm the World's Worst Mother. You can just call me WWM, for short.

And you are? Never mind. Don't tell me. I won't remember anyway. I can't remember anything these days, despite a paper calendar, a kitchen wall calendar, a Google calendar, Outlook reminders and many, many Post-it notes scribbled with to-dos and cryptic phrases such as "soccer prac," "Make Me Chic" and "password = ??"

My lack of memory has something to do with my WWM distinction. I forgot it was Pajama Day at school until the last minute and sent my son in cleanish PJs with mystery smudge on the shirt. I also forgot there was an Easter party at my daughter's pre-school class and "everyone else's parents were there except for mine and [some other obviously unloved child's parents] and it's no fair!"

But there are plenty of other reasons that prove my incompetence. Allow me to vent.

There were tears at the dining room table because I made my boys write their spelling words three times each on the first really warm afternoon of the spring.

The pediatrician's office messed up the schedule and sent us to a different doctor in the practice for my daughter's fifth-birthday check-up. Not knowing me and my penchant for worry, he proceeded to run down the list of my failings:

We put our children to bed at 8 p.m. and wake them up for school at 6 a.m. This is not enough sleep, he sighed at me. Perhaps this is why they have so many colds. Post-visit Googling also tells me this is not good for their developing brains. Do they still sell dunce caps? I may need three.

Our daughter is growing weight-wise faster than she is height-wise. This is surely because we give her too many unhealthy snacks.

"But what about the fruit snacks?" my sweetie offered helpfully, to convince the new doc that her parents are not, in fact, fattening her with corn syrup, livestock-style. "Those are healthy! They have fruit in them." Doctor Judgment, reproachfully, looked square at me: "No. Actually they don't."

Also, her brothers (who weren't even THERE at the appointment!) are apparently in the wrong booster seats, he slipped in to the conversation — and so are *this close* to imminent death. (I might have added that last part.)

"And," the 5-year-old piped up, in case the doctor wasn't 100 percent certain yet if he should call CPS on us, "no one brushes my teeth at night! I keep reminding them and they STILL don't do it!"

I know we just met, whatever your name is, but would you like to come to my pathetic parent pity party? I'm serving the Costco box of fruit snacks and Rice Krispie treats we just bought, and champagne glasses filled with my tears. Never has there been a worse mother. I should just turn myself in.

Over-reacting? Perhaps you haven't heard enough. Allow me to explain to you how we're raising model citizens — models of how not to behave, that is.

This month, the babysitter called me at work to tell me that my sons were throwing a ball in the living room, ignoring her pleas to stop. "And you know what they told me?" she asked me, indignantly. "They said they could do what they wanted to do because this was THEIR house." [Head. Desk.]

And just last week, when my daughter told her brothers that she didn't want to have any babies because it was painful for the mother (natural childbirth conversation courtesy of April the giraffe), one son said, "Good thing I'm not a woman. I don't have to have any of the pain or do any of the work!"

When I challenged the junior chauvinist a bit — "Well, what will you be doing while your wife does all the work?" — he said, without missing a beat, "Watching football." [Feminist card revoked.]

We got a piano but can't afford lessons. The laundry is overflowing. The children have seen every episode of "Teen Titans Go!" — twice. (Ask them to sing "The Booty Scooty." They proudly know all the words.) The Legos have taken over the house.

Will you hold on a sec? My phone keeps beeping at me.

"Pick kids up from soccer practice. 15 minutes ago."

Tanika Davis is a former Baltimore Sun reporter who works as vice president at a communications firm. She and her husband have twin 6-year-old sons, a 5-year-old daughter, a perpetually messy house and rapidly appearing gray hairs. She also needs a nap. She can be reached at tanika@thehatchergroup.com. Her column appears monthly.

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