Recently, I met a woman at a kid-friendly event. We instantly started chatting about all sorts of topics, from music venues to our favorite pizza joints. I liked her. She is smart, witty and good at listening (as opposed to those who pretend to listen while conjuring up what they’re going to say next.) Then, we started talking about parenting.
The conversation started out well enough. She asked me where I shop for groceries, and I lamented to her about having three constantly hungry boys (including the 37-year-old “boy” with whom I live) and she laughed. However, she then started talking about her food regimens: her commitment to organic food, the problem with artificial food coloring, her aversion to fluoride, etc.
After a few minutes, my son said he had to go to the bathroom and I felt a flood of relief to get away from this woman who, just moments ago, I found completely friend-able. While waiting for my son to finish his 25-minute poop (I’m not kidding; it’s a new phase that’s really annoying), I thought about why I was going to try to avoid this person when I went back to the event.
The thing is, I am committed to my sons’ health, and often I do fall on the granola side of the line, but I am officially "talked out" when it comes to discussing every food or environmental hazard that could hurt my kids. I find myself constantly in conversations about the horrors of cows’ milk or the evils of drinking from plastic water bottles, and such conversations make me feel fearful and negligent. If I want those feelings, I’ll read mainstream parenting magazines.
Plus, information changes all the time. Many of us thought soy milk was the ideal alternative to cows' milk, and years later learned that too much soy might cause reproductive issues and cancer. Shall I beat my head against a wall right now?
Parenting is scary enough, and I do my best to stay informed, but since I can’t control every aspect of my kids’ world, I need more lightheartedness and humor to get me through. I think the recent string of shootings on campuses and in malls has made me even more vigilant about keeping a sense of humor. It's either that or dig a bomb shelter in my backyard and move into it with the kids forever.
I have a bevy of awesome friends who inspire me to be a better mom and have educated me on health-related subjects and practices that I find very valuable, but these days, I most admire the moms who can let some crap slide.
Actually, I think I’m secretly hunting for “bad mom” friends. You know, a mom who might turn the other cheek if her kid occasionally doesn’t wash his hands after going to the bathroom or isn't concerned that M&M’s are going to lower IQ scores.
Where is my Punk rock Mama Friend who lets her kid listen to her iPod too loudly, or Drive-through Mama Friend who finds nothing wrong with the occasional Happy Meal, or Teletubby Mama who lets her kids sit in front of the boob tube so she can clean the kitchen and gab on the phone with her best friend?
Seriously, where are these ladies?
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.