Three-minute secrets to make your pants look younger.

I don't love rules.  OK - I don't love rules as they apply to me.  Ironically, at least two out of three of my children show a clear aptitude for "conduct policy enforcement", also known as "head hall monitor".  Each day they debrief, giving a detailed report of all of the goings on at T. Elementary School, including recess, lunch, and the always adventurous, educational, and slightly disturbing bus ride home (this, my friends is another post all together).  They remember how many stickers D. got on his "cooperation chart" during calendar time, and which girl B. was talking to when she got a warning during the spelling test. But when pressed with the question "what did you learn today?" they stare at me like Timothy Geitner trying to explain the AIG bonus thing.  

I think mostly I just don't like other people trying to be the boss of me.  I relent slightly on this where my mother is concerned (anyone that lets you live inside their body for almost a year earns some bossiness currency with that), and also to my sisters as it relates to giving my children things that I would normally say "no" to.  They say things like "come here to your Auntie" and then they somehow totally undermine me without being disrespectful or rude.  It is a true blessing for the children of the crazy sister to have access to the far more stable sisters to plead their case.  It's child advocacy at it's most effective, really.

I, however, am not now, nor will I ever be, ok with getting lifestyle/parenting advice from magazines, Oprah Winfrey or (let's face it) most of the time, my pediatrician.  They try to tell me lots of stuff that has nothing to do with medicine that I pretty much roll my eyes at because I know that by my next child, their recommendations will have changed based on the "latest research".  I especially do not like it when a magazine to which I have subscribed  (presumably because it was part of a magazine and wrapping-paper school-fundraising sale) shows up at my house covered in an airbrushed and professionally lit photo of some supermodel/celebrity/mom trying to resurrect her career by sharing with me and other common folk her three minute beauty tricks and radically new mothering philosophies.   

The latest of these allegedly real-mom advice givers is Helena Christensen on the cover of my "Cookie" magazine.  If you don't know who she is... remember when they used to have music videos on MTV?  Remember the Chris Isaak music video "Wicked Game"?  Remember the pretty-much-nudie girl frolicking on the beach in the Chris Isaac music video "Wicked Game"?  Meet Helena.  (Mom, I always covered my eyes - promise.)  In case you're clinging to the edge of your seat like you're watching an episode of Lost, her "three 3-minute beauty tricks" are: 
1.a warm, nude face, 2.red lipstick, 3.metallic eyeshadow.  Gee, thanks Helena.  My guess at your "three 3-minute beauty tricks" was : 1.  Look like Helena Christensen.  Oh, did I say three tricks?  I meant one.

In addition to salvaging her otherwise hopeless appearance with her magic red lipstick, apparently Helena is also a "hands on" kind of mom (she probably chooses the nanny herself), and is qualified to dole out parenting advice as well.  She says of her 9 year old son, "He's all that matters.  He's my best friend."  To that, I say:  Crazy Talk.   I am not my 9 year old's best friend.  I never hope to be.  I am not my child's peer.  I never will be.  I am her mother, I will always be her mother, and being her mother means that I love her more than any of her BFFs ever will.  Being her mother means that I love her so much that I do what is best for her, not what is fun for her - even when that means I'm not super popular with her.  I am an adult woman, and my mother?  Still my mother.  What I've seen in my life is that women that had a friend instead of a mother, spend their whole lives searching for someone to help them feel secure by being their bossy, stable, female authority figure and they latch onto anything that comes close.  Thanks Helena, but I'm the bossy one around here and since in the end everything is the mom's fault anyway... I'm going to earn my kid's therapy hours the old fashioned way. 

ps - Your "He's all that matters" theory = selfish, self centered children who think that their needs supersede every one's around them.  Sometimes, children need to understand that they are not all that matters because, let's be honest  - they just aren't.  It doesn't mean that we don't love them, but it does mean that they need to learn to wait their turn... for siblings, or life, or for mom to go to the bathroom... by herself... without anyone watching her... or telling her random facts about how sharks, or worms or dinosaurs poop too.

I am hoping that one day I will see featured on the cover a magazine the beauty secrets of a real life woman addressing things like; "When you just can't get around to showering - best scents for masking the smell of throw-up", "Bras that make your boobs look like they did before you nursed three children" and "Acne and wrinkles-who knew they could go together?"  The parenting section would have advice like "Don't worry - you're doing fine and it's not your fault.  Lots of kids pick their noses in public.  Just speak really loudly and say "Your mom told you not to do that anymore.  Hey, where did she go anyway?", then roll your eyes and walk far enough away to feign a convincing search for the mystery mom." 

Now tell me women all over the country would not line up to buy that.  I, for one, will be looking for that publication to purchase in the next school fundraiser, and if I know anything... so will Helena Christensen.  Or at least her nanny will.
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The Laundry Queen said...

I loved your, "Oh. Did I say 3 tricks? I meant one." So funny. Write the magazine and I'll buy it.

grammy said...

What? Didn't your kids come from the womb with their own instruction manual? Mine did....that's why they turned out so great!!

Rachael said...

I love the honest tricks. Seriously, I showered once already today, I'm not showering again. Oh and...my hair smells like spit up. Sick---but I'm living this way.

Alyson Broberg said...

This is so funny and true! Even I, who have a mostly *love* love-hate relationship with parent advice books and magazine, have recently become completely fed up! Probably because I've read them for long enough that now I can see that yes, the advice can shift 180 degrees in a few years (or less) because of the "most recent evidence." I'm in favor of evidence, but honestly, so many times it's apparent that interpretation is going completely against common-sense intuition. (I'm still looking forward to your book, What to Expect When Reading What to Expect When You're Expecting.) So much parenting advice is doled out by people who have severely limited kid experience. And then they say a few years later, not very apologetically, either, "Current thinking/research actually suggests..." whereas thoughtful thinking had always suggested the same.

Someday I'll write a _short_ comment on your blog.

Alyson Broberg said...

I re-read your entry here for emotional backup after a couple of days where my husband was out of town and my kids started prefacing all their responses to my orders with "as long as..." (our 3-year-old started beginning _all_ his sentences that way, just from hearing it so much) and the (same)youngest had a day where he began ripping open the shower curtain, screaming and crying, to protest the rank injustice of my actually spending five minutes without him. After one child tried to begin a conversation last night with the words, "Mom, you owe us," I proceeded to give a lecture on what exactly I owed them, and what I'd decided they owed me. The latter included genuflecting each evening in thanks, and referring to me at all times as "Babydoll sweetcakes Mom." There was laughter and then the inevitable serious follow-up, "Mom, do we really owe you?" and my sweet reply, "YEs."

Endre said...

good for you Alyson - next time: go into disguise.

golferbri said...

Okay Endre, This is my first time reading your blog and I absolutely love you! I sat and laughed and laughed. I will continue to laugh everytime I think about it. Check us out @ bbcbcarter.blogspot.com
I'm glad you liked Twilight, kind of.