This blog is not for the light-hearted or easily offended. If either one of those descriptions applies to you, i would suggest you start drinking before you read this blog. A sense of humor is suggested. If you don't have one that sucks for you … find one and get a life!

In which i discuss my mothering methods

I love my kids. I just want to go on record with that statement because I think since I make a lot of sarcastic posts about them, some people aren’t aware of how much I really love them. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that I don’t think that my girls aren’t bitches sometimes. They are. One of the things I miss about having a living parent is the ability to discuss my own personal history. When I think back on my childhood and especially my teenage years, I’m left with lots of unanswered questions. What was I like? How did my parents put up with me? What did they do when I was so obviously miserable and in pain? After all, watching your kid hurting is one of the most difficult things I have ever experienced. These are questions I have that I will never be able to properly answer. I can only surmise what they were thinking and therefore, try to adjust my parenting methods accordingly.

For example, when I was 19 I was miserable, angry and overweight. I had just finished my freshman year at Johns Hopkins University and had an apartment so I decided to live in Baltimore for the summer. The plan was to lifeguard with my best friend, who was also my roommate, and live in our brand new apartment. When I use the words “brand new,” I mean that it was brand new to us but it was actually one step removed from a slum. So we had planned on an amazing summer. I was really looking forward to it. Freshman year had been rough for me because I did terrible in school and my lifelong dream of being a doctor was looking bleak.

As summers went, this one was terrible. I lifeguarded at the club and the other lifeguards were okay but my manager was an incompetent asshole. I didn’t enjoy the job at all and my best friend somehow managed to work completely opposite hours than I did and we never saw each other. I was, in a word, miserable. So, I ate … and ate…and sulked…and ate some more. Of course, I gained a lot of weight and became even more miserable and eventually managed to get fired from my job for insulting the manager. (this is a common theme throughout my life but this was actually the FIRST time I got fired, but not the last). By the end of July, I was back home in North Carolina since I had no job in Baltimore anymore.

I was home for six weeks. I was horrible to be around and no doubt, terrible to my parents. In fact, my mother got such bad headaches that they did a CT Scan to see if she had a brain tumor. She didn’t. It was just the stress of having me around. I was such a pain in the ass that they thought my mom had a BRAIN TUMOR! My parents even took the entire family on a trip out West and I complained the entire way. Talk about being an ungrateful bitch! That was me.

So that’s the set up. When Keely was in first grade her teacher told me the following during a parent-teacher conference: “When kids are in school, they are on their best behavior so it’s not unusual for them to go home and act out. After all, if they can’t let their hair down there, where can they fall apart?” This statement has stuck with me for my entire life and I have found it incredibly useful as a parenting tool.

Kevin and I like to joke around about “public persona Keely.” This is the Keely MacDonald that’s the most incredible person I’ve ever met. She’s caring, funny, supportive and bright. She gives her friends pep talks. She compliments people. She is the glue that holds humanity together. We always say “do you think we’ll ever meet ‘public-persona Keely’ because she sounds delightful!” We felt, especially in her teenage years, that we got the sarcastic Keely, the stressed-out Keely, the mean and angry Keely. Kevin used to say to me, “I don’t know how you put up with her caustic remarks and mannerisms and the way she treats you.” I would respond by telling him my main parenting credo which was “IF my head isn’t killing me and I’m not going to get a CT Scan, then my girls couldn’t be as bad as I was. I gave my mom a ‘brain tumor’ so obviously, I’m better off than she was and I can put up with it”.

That’s how I always stayed calm. No matter what my kids were saying or doing. That rule has stood me in good stead. Now Keely, age 21, has worked through most of her teenage angst and while we still have our moments, she has emerged as one of the most delightful people I know. Andie reminds me of me. She can be moody, stubborn and mean but I know that she doesn’t mean it and that she both loves and needs me. After all, the flip side is that she is creative, funny, sarcastic and bright. We have some great times and Andie and I can really butt heads but I try not to take any of it personally. Having driven my own mom to a “brain tumor,” I just let their criticisms roll off my back.

Why am I writing about all this now? Since I’ve been “online” here in the blogging world I have started reading other blog posts. One such post was about an argument between two girls who were 9 and 11. The dialogue sounded so much like my girls that I was both mortified and amused. After all, my girls are 15 months apart and have such a love/hate symbiotic relationship that it’s created plenty of fireworks. At any rate, I commented to the “blogger” on Twitter that she was screwed and that those two girls were going to be major headaches and I used the hashtag on Twitter of #motheroftwobitches. This mother wasn’t pleased with the way I referred to my girls so I wanted to address that.

First of all, as someone with a bumper sticker that says “you say I’m a bitch like it’s a bad thing,” I don’t necessarily think being a “bitch” is so awful. Second of all, my girls can be both bitchy and bitches. That’s both a positive and a negative thing. Third of all, although I’ve only been on Twitter a few months, I have had a tendency to get in little Twitter wars with people. Sarcasm doesn’t come across very well in 140 characters. Sometimes, what I meant to allude to and what actually came out weren’t the same and the recipient of my Tweet has gotten offended. It’s a strange medium because there’s no place for subtlety or nuance in Twitter.

What’s my point? I think I lost it way back at the beginning of this entry. I suppose that my first point in that sometimes, you need to read between the lines to discover what a person really means. I also think that you can criticize and even make fun of your loved ones and still actually love them. There have been many times when I have “loved” my kids but not actually “liked” my kids. Fortunately, my kids have taken turns being the one I didn’t like so there was only one at a time. But back to my kids. Their hopes are my hopes. Their pain is my pain. Their successes are my successes. I suppose that my second point is that what you read on paper is only part of the story. My kids aren’t fully formed yet but I will say that honesty is the best parenting method out there. If my girls are bitches then hell yes I’m going to call them out on that. That doesn’t mean I don’t love them or even like them. I’m all for calling a spade a spade.

My kids are still works in progress and I won’t fully know for a long time, if ever, how I did as a parent. I will say that I wasn’t a perfect parent just as I’m not a perfect person. If my kids function in the world, can stand on their own and contribute to society in some small positive way, then I’ve done my job. And as to being the #motheroftwobitches, I love them and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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10 Comments

  1. Karla Telega
    December 7, 2010

    I have a friend whose 2 daughters are perfect. We haven't seen each other in years, but every Christmas I got to hear about the kids winning cheerleading competitions. They're now married to 2 perfect men and each have 2 perfect children. There were years when I just couldn't bring myself to send a Christmas letter. Let's see…M only got arrested once this year, and B is learning all kinds of new things at the asylum.

  2. McApril
    December 7, 2010

    Folks kept asking me why I wanted to have a little boy.

    "Because females are bitches." Simple enough response, right?

    Wrong. Then I'd get, "But little girls are so sweet and pretty and well behaved. . ."

    I wish I had some of what those people are smoking. Don't get me wrong, my little girl is astoundingly awesome –

    but she's still a girl. She can't help it.

  3. Ragemichelle
    December 7, 2010

    I freaking LOVE this post. I feel so bad when I feel bad about my kids.

    I had horrible and sometimes cruel parents and I work very hard to be their opposite.

    With that being said, sometimes, my kids are COMPLETE asses. OMG..it feels good to say that.

    I don't mean just them. Everyone is as ass from time to time, right?

    Keep up the good work here. You have an honest and you are very genuine which makes it very easy to connect with your work.

  4. Renee
    December 7, 2010

    Who says 'bitch' is a bad thing? Pansy asses thats who. Sounds like you're raising strong, smart and independent young ladies. I love them already!

  5. Wendy
    December 16, 2010

    Love your blog..i’m expecting my first in June. I’m 28 and I can honestly say I didn’t think of my mom as a real person until about 24. Then you will see your delightful Keely.

    • Lynn
      December 16, 2010

      Thanks so much. That’s exactly what my mom said about me. I think i was 23 and we became friends…finally. I know it was me, not her. I was a huge pain in the ass! THanks for commenting and i hope to see you around!

  6. rachat de credit
    December 16, 2010

    Looks like you are an expert in this field, you really got some great points there, thanks.

    – Robson

    • Lynn
      December 16, 2010

      Never claimed to be an expert…just a loudmouth…but thanks for the comment

  7. Kimberly
    January 22, 2011

    Oh, I know all about that public persona thing…my older child, the one who will challenge me every single day until I die (or he kills me, whichever comes first), is the most delightful, mannerly, helpful kid IN PUBLIC. And he has his helpful moments around here, but he’s also moody, spiteful, and has a flash fire temper.

    We’re 2/3 of the way to 21. Hope he makes it in one piece. I love him like crazy, but sometimes I don’t like him very much.

    • Lynn
      January 22, 2011

      Yeah…sometimes I wonder what the Hell I was thinking…but I do love them.

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