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5 Things I Do to Look Like a Good Person in Front of My Kids

Photograph by Twenty20

There are a million things about myself that I need to be shifting, adjusting and, well, hiding from my kids at all times to create the appearance that I am a semi-normal person in the world. I fail at this 99 percent of the time because no amount of faking it can hide the fact that I'm not your average mom.

I feel this internal challenge even with a request as simple as, "I need you to find my blue shirt!" It's not the craziest thing to ask for. But there's still that impulse to lose my shit, especially when I'm knee-deep in the morning routine of getting two kids dressed, making breakfast, serving it, making kids' lunches, making my lunch, getting myself dressed, making beds, cleaning up breakfast, walking dog, doing Aria’s hair—and all before 7:45 a.m. so that no one is late for school or work.

In this moment, the instinct to stop myself is also very real. Whether I am capable of doing so or not is a totally different story. But the healthy thought is there: “Keep it together. Don’t lose it. Stay calm. Breathe.” And to be truthful, slowly, this masterful technique (I’ll call it “letting go” or “not letting it make you murderous”) really works!

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However there are a few other areas where things are a bit more gray and that instinct to check myself before I wreck my kids doesn't kick in right away. There are times in life when I am going along, being me, and minding my own business, not realizing I need to shift out of "bad me" and pretend to be "good me," so as not to affect my kids (and perhaps prevent them from turning into serial killers).

Here are my weaknesses.

1. Throwing Trash Out My Car Window

I am guilty of tossing chewed gum out the car window like it was 1979. I remember last year while driving with my son and boyfriend, my son said, "I need to throw my gum out," and Manboy X said, "Just throw it out the window." I went bat shit on him. I attacked him for being totally reckless, irresponsible and being a horrible role model, even though the next time I was driving alone and wanted to spit my gum out, I chucked it out without a thought. That's what WE do, but we can't let our kids know! And yes, I still roll my window down and slyly throw it out, every time. Recently I got caught. And I copped to it. I said, "Oh wow, I didn't even realize I did that!" Which was essentially true. Now that I've been outed, maybe it's time I grow up and stop littering.

2. Not Tying the Bag of Dog Shit

This has been an ongoing family fight and one that I eventually lost when I decided to poll everyone I know about tying the dog shit bag. But apparently, you're a total jerk if you just toss it in the trash without tying. Even though I lost the fight, I continue not to tie it, probably as a "fuck you" to my accusers. Anyway, I am pretty sure I'm setting an example for my kids on how to be a total douche bag. I think I need to tie the bag.

3. Being Gross (Burping, Farting and Crap Jokes)

I have burped at the dinner table and laughed my head off for a few seconds before realizing I'm a mom and I can't do that. Not to mention I turn around and get upset if a kid does it. Not cool. I have taken part in toilet humor and anything having to do with poop. I have no problem with it for around a solid five minutes before it starts to get out of control, and then I try to stop it but it's too late. I know, I give out mixed messages about this stuff and it has to stop, or the kids may turn out to be a perpetual teenage boy like myself.

4. Telling Customer Service Off When I've Been on Hold for an Hour

I have a bad attitude and I can get really FUCKING ANGRY when I'm in the customer care loop of hell. I should probably hide my rage from my kids because I remember my mom being a total bitch to strangers when I was a kid and thinking she was an awful person. I'm scared my kids think this about me when I'm in these trying situations.

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5. Keeping My Window Rolled Up When a Homeless Person Comes Over Asking for Money

"Mom, that guy just asked if you had a dollar and you kept your window closed." This is a tough one, as I also make my kids take leftovers from birthdays and events to the park to dole out to homeless people. I am not comfortable rolling down my window to give out money. I get freaked out, and you never know what can happen. I give money when it feels right. But what do I tell my kids? I say, "That guy seemed creepy and not safe and I give money to help people in different ways." I have a feeling I might need a better line because I just come off being cold.

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