An Open Letter to the Mother of the Year Selection Committee
Thank you again for your kind consideration. Despite the fact that I was nominated largely as both a joke and a dare, the fact that you have actually considered me a viable candidate is somewhat flattering. I’d like to take the opportunity to address some of the “concerns” that you have mentioned, as your harsh judgment seems to invite a response.
It is a fact that I once locked my daughter in the car, along with my keys and cell phone, at a local Wal-Mart. Allow me to explain the circumstances by which I managed this rather foolish act: I got out of my car, opened her door, locked the car, put my keys and cell phone in my jacket pocket, and then decided to carry her in a sling. Since it’s too hot to carry her in a sling while wearing a jacket, I took the jacket off, tossed it in the backseat, closed the door, and walked around to the other side of the car to retrieve the sling from the other side, at which point I discovered that I had locked myself out of the car. Whoops. Yes, this did require some rather inventive problem-solving skills – I had to flag down a complete stranger and ask him to call 911. And then firepeople broke into my car.
One of your members expressed concern over the lingering psychological effects my daughter may suffer because of my “abandonment.” Let me assure you that I did not abandon her – I was visible to her the entire time. Or I would have been, had she been awake. She fell asleep shortly after I locked her in my car, and the gentle rocking of the vehicle while the emergency personnel worked to open it managed to keep her asleep until they were finished. She seemed to find the entire episode quite relaxing.
It is a fact that during your last visit to my home I was feeding my daughter lunch. It is also a fact that I was feeding her a brownie for lunch. Despite the report given by your “spy” I did not feed her the entire brownie for lunch. I picked the peanut butter chips out and ate those myself, because she won’t eat peanut butter.
Most toddlers are extremely picky. Mine is pretty picky, too – and seems to be on a diet that consists solely of milk, saltines, and Wendy’s chili. As we were out of Wendy’s chili and saltines, I was trying to get her to eat something different, as evidenced by the food on the kitchen floor: peas, string cheese, blueberries, whole-wheat crackers, chicken nuggets, banana slices, toast, and pizza. Because her new anti-epileptic drug manages to make her appetite almost nonexistent and also makes most food taste really bad to her (with the exception of saltine crackers, milk, chili, and, as it turns out, brownies) I took the lesser of two evils.
Thank you also for pointing out the bruise on her forehead. As it turns out, I did know it was there; and even if I had managed to miss it, every single person we have encountered in public (at the park, the grocery store, the library, and the pediatrician’s office) has pointed it out to me, as though I might miss a bruise on my child’s face. She slipped and fell head-first into her toybox. I know – you are aghast. She was pretty unhappy herself. But she was reaching for a toy just out of reach, and I figured if she put a little more gas behind it, she might figure out how to solve that problem. I am teaching independence and problem-solving – which is why my daughter already knows that when she wants more milk, she has to pick up her cup and walk it over to the refrigerator for a refill. I see many kids unable to figure out how to solve simple problems. Heck, I teach some adults who are unable to solve simple problems, so I’m certainly not going to raise one.
Nowadays, every stranger with good intentions is involved in every kid’s life. And I’m all over the “it takes a village” philosophy, but I think we ought to get on a first-name basis before you offer up your advice and judgment on how I’m raising my kid. I know her better than you do. In fact, I know her better than she knows herself, because she’s a toddler who needs limits. Right now she’s tired, and she needs to nap. And she is screaming two feet away from me, safely esconced in her crib, fighting sleep. She’s doing that because she’s a fighter, and because she’s stubborn. Those are good qualities that she needs. She also needs her sleep, which is why she’ll stay in her crib until she takes her nap. I’m not interested in crushing her best traits – simply in guiding her in the best way to use them. I’ve not read anywhere that my method of hanging out with my kid until she falls asleep is the best way to handle this. But leaving her to scream was traumatic for her. And holding her to sleep was making her too insecurely attached. So I’ll do it my way, thank you – and this is really my last defense of my methods. If you see something you don’t understand, you can rest assured that I gave it a great deal of thought and consideration before I tried it. I probably tried it your way, and it didn’t work for us. So we’ll do what does.
As I said at the opening of this letter, I am grateful for your consideration; however, I think I ought to withdraw my name from consideration. You see, I’m not your cookie-cutter, ideal mom. I’m just Lucy’s mom. I’m probably not the best person to represent your organization as Everymom.
But, hey, at least I’m not raising the next Honey Boo Boo.