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The Guilty Pleasures of Cranky Parenting

Mom raises a glass to the author of the infamous peopleiwanttopunchinthethroat blog, for making thousands of moms across the land laugh and feel less guilty at the same time. Cheers, elf haters!

If you haven't had the opportunity to read peopleiwanttopunchinthethroat.blogspot.com, run, do not walk, to your nearest Internet connection. Upon reading, you will either be laughing uproarously or appalled.

If you've read it already and you are appalled, just stop reading now. Or continue reading and then you can spend the rest of the day feeling superior! Your choice.

A Facebook friend posted a recent blog from Jen, piwtpitt's author, titled "Over Achieving Elf on the Shelf Mommies." Since I always have time to mock the sanctimonious and smug, I clicked on the link based on the strength of the blog's title alone.

I wasn't disappointed.

According to Jen, a recent holiday trend involves blaming mom-induced household mayhem on the ubiquitous "Elf on the Shelf," the little apple-cheeked fellow who purportedly keeps an eyeball on the kiddies on Santa's behalf.

It turns out that some mommies are quite the mischief-makers. For example, a mom might decide to remove all the ornaments from the family Christmas tree and blame it on the Elf. Or, the mom might make cookies late at night and leave a huge mess for the kids to find in the morning, blaming Elf all the while. 

As Jen pointed out -- quite rightly -- the moms who perform these actions are "insane," and not just because it's the moms who have to clean up the mess.

My good friend Elle and I regularly snort with laughter at unbelievably stupid parental antics, which we are convinced are not truly for the child's benefit but for increased parental perfection status. When we discussed this blog, her comment was -- "these moms need to get a job."

Gainful employment notwithstanding, our virtual friend Jen has tapped into an anti-(s)mothering zeitgeist. Everyone knows a mom who does such a thorough job (s)mothering her children that there is no possible way that one, she is pharmaceuticals-free or two, her kids could ever live up to the impossibly high expectations set by such actions.

As a example, I heard a story from a mother a few years back who was struggling to get her kids to eat dinner. 

Me: That happens at our house every night. I just make the kids sit there until they eat it. 

She: Oh, I don't do that. Instead, I hide each bite in an aluminum foil "present" and give the foil to them to open one at a time. Sometimes it's a Brussels sprout, sometimes it's a marshmallow. But when they open the foil, they have to eat it no matter what it is. It works like a charm.

Me: Don't you have three kids? You wrap each bite individually? Every night, for each kid?

She: Oh, yes. They love it!

News flash: kids are supposed to eat dinner. Have we really reduced ourselves to wrapping everyday dinners as presents? 

Here is a partial list of actions that the (s)motherers among us should consider:

1. Tying their shoes. I bet you learned in kindergarten. I don't want to hear from a fifth grader that they can't tie their own shoes "tight enough." This actually happens.

2. Doing their laundry. If they can reach the buttons on the machine, they're capable. They can fold, too.

3. They can eat the same dinners you eat. Are you playing short order cook? Do your kids eat at 5:00 and then you make a separate dinner for yourself at 7:00? If so, please know that life doesn't have to be that complicated. Mothers of babies and small toddlers, don't get your panties in a bunch. Obviously this does not apply to you. Common sense lives, people! Use it!

4. They don't need to eat a snack during sporting events. Your kids can go for an hour without eating. Nothing makes coaches crazier than kids who sit and eat when they should be running. If they're hungry, tell them no. It's just that simple. They won't starve. Eating while working out reduces performance. Don't believe me? Eat some yogurt or a sandwich and then take a brisk walk or jog. You can tell me I'm wrong after you're no longer doubled over in pain.

5. Kids shouldn't be getting $5 per lost tooth. Maybe $5 for the first one. One buck, tops, thereafter. One dollar is a lot of money to a little kid. 

6. Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny are fun while they last. When the inevitable happens, accept it. I trust you understand what I'm saying.

The point is, the greatest gift you can give your child is the gift of independence. Stop indulging. Say no. Think back to your own childhood. Do you remember your mom tying your shoes when you were 10 years old? 

If you do, please visit Jen. She has something she needs to do to you. 

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