Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bad Parent?

First, just a couple of events. Wednesday night at 6:30 I will be doing readings and signings at the Spingville, UT library with two great authors and really funny people: Jessica Day George and Janette Rallison. Drop by if you are in the area.

Also, the Strymakers Writers Conference is this Friday and Saturday. Tons of awesome authors will be there. Can't wait to see everyone who is coming. Now to the tough stuff.

Does writing automatically make you a bad parent?



As a writer, you tend to hang around with a lot of other writers. Go figure, huh? But one of the interesting things about this is the gender ratio. Not sure what I mean? Imagine taking Home Ec. in high school as a guy. If you did, you did it for one reason. Because the rest of the students were girls. Well, okay, maybe you didn’t want to get beat up by the things in wood shop. Anyway, my point is that there seem to be many more female writers than male writers. And nearly every female writer I know beats herself up about not being a good enough mom. “I feed my kids cold cereal.” “I haven’t vacuumed my house since every movie starred the brat pack.” “I once sent my son to school with nothing but a slice of cheese and a Twinkie for lunch.”

First let me just say that your kids aren’t going to remember what they had for lunch at school. Okay, maybe they will but you can just tell them that they are remembering an episode from Fairly Odd Parents. Second, your male counterparts would be 1000 worse as moms. We would feed our kids Coco Puffs with no milk because it went bad. (And we would have taken the prize out first.) We wouldn’t ever have vacuumed because we wouldn’t have thought to buy a vacuum. (That’s what shag carpet is for.) And while we would probably send our kids to school with cheese and a Twinkie, we would be proud of actually remembering to pack a lunch.

So I guess it’s time for me to confess too. I am a bad parent. No really, a bad, bad parent. I paid my nineteen year-old five bucks last week to drive out and buy fried rice at the local Chinese food place wearing a Fruit Loop box on his head. I teach them the wrong words to Church hymns. “All creatures of our God and King. Stick out your tongues and try to sing. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Oh praise Him.” The last part is sung with your tongue out of course.

When my kids scream for help because they got their head stuck in the banister or have the net basketball game collapse on them, my first thought is, “Where is the camera?” Of course none of them was permanently injured, and I got lots of great pictures.
I also lie to my kids—a lot! All of my children know that in the (fairly likely) event of a rollercoaster flying off the tracks, your only hope is to jump out and aim for the hot dog stand. I get them to bite unsweetened chocolate bars. I told my son that when he turns twelve he will get a secret decoder ring and learn a secret handshake that will get him free video games at Block Buster. I once told a ghost story at my daughters sleepover that was so scary, the guest of honor had to go home.

It’s my fault that in any large gathering (be it church or a movie) my kids start whispering, “See if you can find the woman who used a rolling pin to curl her hair.” Or, “Where’s the boy who wanted to be Pinocchio when he grows up?” Getting a laugh is the highest compliment in our house. Which is probably why my son nearly needed stitches after falling from a friend’s desk while pulling his shirt over his knees to look like a midget, and recently walked around his room with his lunchbox zipped over his head. Also, my kids have never been to the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, or Mt Rushmore, but they have been to Disney Parks more than a dozen times.

So yeah. Bad parent. But somehow when I come do a presentation at their school, or get them ARCs from their favorite authors, or tell really cool bedtime stories (that are still kind of scary) they forgive me. No next time you worry about writing making you a bad parent, remember that your kids probably won’t remember what lunch you sent them to school with. And if they do, just just blame it on false memory syndrome. Kids are really gullible that way.


14 Comments:

At 4/21/2009 1:29 AM, Blogger LexiconLuvr said...

BWA HA HA HA!!! This post was FANTASTIC!!!! I loved the remade hymn. I totally sang that with my tongue out. =]

 
At 4/21/2009 8:45 AM, Blogger Traci Hunter Abramson said...

I admit I'm a writer that relies heavily on cold cereal...and my kids love me for it! Even better is when they catch me in the middle of something and get me to agree to ordering out Chinese food when I'm not paying attention.

Balancing writing and family life can be tough, but as long as we can laugh about our adventures I think the kids will survive whatever we throw at them. (I doubt mine would ever think of aiming for a hot dog stand though during a roller coaster mishap though.) If nothing else, our kids are going to be extremely resourceful. :)

 
At 4/21/2009 11:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't you mean to write:

So next time you worry about writing making you a bad parent, remember that your kids could have it a lot worse. They could have me.

 
At 4/21/2009 11:55 AM, Blogger J Scott Savage said...

Anon,

I think that's implied!

 
At 4/21/2009 11:56 AM, Blogger Carolyn V. said...

When I told my parents I wanted to be a writer, they glanced at each other with disappointment and then said, "Oh honey, do you need us to pay for some parenting classes?"

j/k Hee hee hee.

Loved your post!

 
At 4/21/2009 1:02 PM, Blogger Janice said...

I once accidently switched my kids lunch boxes. My nine year old son got my daughter's Tinkerbell lunchbox. (His teacher let him go to his sister's class and switch.) Now he hovers over me when I stuff their lunchboxes in their backpacks. It does help them get ready on time in the morning though...

 
At 4/21/2009 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My oldest lost one of her teeth at night and swallowed it. She was devastated until my wife explained that she could put a *picture* of her lost tooth under her pillow.

We didn't have any cash the next night, so I exchanged the tooth picture for a picture of a dollar bill.

 
At 4/21/2009 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's great - if your writing gene gets passed on to your children, think of all the material they'll have to work with! Ha ha...
Pat

 
At 4/21/2009 6:48 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

So, can you get that button as flair on Facebook? ;)

I'm sure your kids will be well-adjusted (such as is possible) Laughing is good. =)

 
At 4/21/2009 10:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laughing is not only healthy for you and can help you live longer, but it can induce labor ... for those of you who are pregnant ... not me ... honestly.

Deb

 
At 4/21/2009 11:27 PM, Blogger Michele Holmes said...

I needed this---thanks. Feeling marginally better about my bad parenting . . .

 
At 4/22/2009 3:07 PM, Blogger Alison Palmer said...

Cold cereal rules! It's vitamin fortified and everything. I just tell my kids that some day I'll be rich and famous. Then, I'll help them pay for the psychiatrist that they can tell how much I messed up their lives. In the mean time, I don't want to hear it. Oh, and if there's no milk to go with that cereal my kids are totally convinced water is a perfectly acceptable substitute.

 
At 4/22/2009 6:57 PM, Blogger Traci Hunter Abramson said...

Am I supposed to have milk in the house when I feed my kids cereal for every meal of the day? Okay, maybe I am a bad parent! :)

 
At 4/23/2009 11:14 AM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

Funny!

I tell my kids to "pick a can".

Also, my 4-year old thinks that Trafalga is Disneyland (Orem), and Liberty Land is Mt Rushmore (Lehi). Got it all covered.

 

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