April 13, 2009

The Mean Mom Award Goes To...

Every summer, our family vacations with another family. We’ve done this for nearly 10 summers now. It’s perfect for everyone. The moms have someone to cook and shop with, the dads have someone to play golf with and the kids don’t kill their siblings. One of the highlights of our annual vacation is comparing Mean Mom notes. My girlfriend and I have an ongoing competition, but we always wind up in a dead heat to be the reigning Mean Mom. We try to outdo each other during the week by making the kids brush their teeth, pick up their Popsicle wrappers and clear the table after they eat. All in all, we’re quite mean, and rather proud of it.

Spring break is upon us and I thought I would get an early edge on the competition so I’m in prime shape when summer arrives. I’m tired of this “tie” nonsense. I want to win.

Our break began Thursday afternoon. My oldest was on her way back from Washington DC for a class trip and the youngest one had Little League practice. I thought that it would be best to go out for pizza to celebrate the triumphant and safe return of the oldest. Plus, I didn’t want to cook.

Our road weary traveler rolled in, and like any effective Mean Mom, I was one of the last to pick her up, by almost a whole 5 minutes. I was trying to time the end of practice and the picking up time, which were at the same time. After my oldest was safely buckled in the seat, I said, “We’re going to go for pizza.”

She wailed. “Mom, don’t make me eat another bite of junk food! That’s all I had! I’m want something healthy!”

I consider her rant testimony to my effectiveness as a Mean Mom. I have actually convinced my child that going for pizza is a bad thing, not a good one. Even worse, the cupboard was suspiciously bare, save the thawing Easter ham, since we had a lot of visiting and time away from home planned over the next few days. I was excited at my possible coup in the Mean Mom category.

Then I lost my competitive edge as I suggested that we could order pizza in for everyone else, but that I would make her sautéed spinach with garlic. In other Mean Mom competitions, that would be points, but since I’m such an effective torture administrator, my child thinks I was doing something nice with the spinach.

We made it through the night, but I didn’t score any Mean points. I tucked her in and kissed her and told her I was glad she was home. She slept 11 hours and I didn’t wake her up. I’m losing ground quickly.

Every Good Friday, we have a traditional family fish fry. The past few years, we’ve missed it because we would go to Florida to visit family. This year, we were able to make it, so that was exciting. There are a number of younger cousins, so I planned an Easter egg hunt for the lil' ones. My children who are old enough to have their own cell phones and to stop wearing clothing from Carter's also felt they were NOT too old for the hunt. I had to divide the number of eggs by two more people. I suggested they search for Chocolate Dog Yard Bombs and I would give them money. Major Mean Mom points.

Alas, they were, "not too old for the egg, but too wise for the dog poop" hunt. Curses. Foiled, again. I couldn't give up! I could see my plans to dominate the competition dwindling.

On Saturday we colored eggs. First, I made them empty the dishwasher before we could do the eggs. I had picked up one of the fancy "glittery tie dye you're so creative” egg kits. "Why can't we just do the food coloring eggs, Mom?" I made them do chores before they made fancy eggs. I think I scored a few more Mean Mom points. I may be gaining ground again.

The clincher came Easter morning. We wanted to go to early church services and they wanted to have their Easter baskets before church so they had to hurry up and get ready then they could look for them. They know there is no Easter Bunny, my oldest figured it out when she was about five and saw one wearing sneakers. She proceeded to explain to me that it while Santa and the Tooth Fairy made sense, a giant bunny did not. But I play along. I tend to be a kid at heart, too. After a dogged (no pun, I swear!) search, I told them they were hidden somewhere they see everyday, but never think about on their own. Guess where I hid the baskets?

The dishwasher.

See, there was a method to my madness the previous day.

I intend to win this Mean Mom thing yet. Hope springs eternal.

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