My day started at 4 a.m., after about as many hours of sleep, and greeted me an extra two pounds of water weight from drinking diet soda on my double date the previous night. If I had known I was going to gain two pounds just from soda I would have added rum into the mix like all the other normal adults enjoying their cocktails and not training for a bodybuilding competition.
I got in a back workout with my trainer, Robin, from 5 a.m. until 6 a.m. and then came home to get my son, Henry, ready for the big day: the Math Pentathlon.
Truth be told, I was dreading going to it. I have an intense fear/hatred of math and the only reason why I signed up my kindergartener for it was because he likes it. Math Pentathlon isn’t like a drop off thing either, the parents are volunforced to monitor the strategy games and keep score for five hours straight.
Anyway, we were late. It didn’t help that when I said the address into Google Maps it only heard half the address, so we ended up at a posh building downtown instead of a high school in the suburbs of South Austin. We finally got there and sprinted through the parking lot (all my endurance training is paying off) and got in the door at 8:25 a.m. (the games started at 8:30 a.m.)
“I’m supposed to monitor a game. Where do I go to sign in?” I asked catching my breath.
“Oh, they already announced the names of all the bad parents. You can’t go in. But your son can.”
I’m a bad parent? Did this random woman with a clipboard and superiority complex just bash me in front of everyone after I busted my ass to get my five-year-old to a math competition on a Saturday morning?
My son got to compete but as punishment I was not allowed to monitor any games, which, honestly I saw as a win because, as stated previously, I hate math.
But that just stuck with me all day. Am I a bad parent? A late parent – for sure. A navigationally challenged parent – absolutely. But if I’m going to be called a bad parent, it should be for things that I think really qualify. For example:
- When there is only one chocolate chip cookie left, I will sneak it into the bathroom and lock the door so I won’t have to share it with my kids.
- My first born child has hundreds of photo albums, scrap books and notes about her developmental progress. If you were to try to piece out my second born son’s life by viewing pictures you would note that: (1) he was born,
(2) celebrated Christmas and Halloween once or twice
and (3) is at the Math Pentathlon today. (Since I’m not monitoring any games I can take pictures of him through the window of the cafeteria, which I am banned from entering.)
- I’ve read several parenting books, but the only one that really made me feel good about myself was “Go the F*** to Sleep.” OK, it’s not a parenting book at all, but it’s still really funny. Here is a dramatic reading by Samuel L. Jackson (note: the F bomb is dropped a lot.)
All these things make me less than stellar in the parenting world. At least I am an equality opportunity bad parent. I also forgot about my daughter’s pajama day at school. Twice.
After the competition my son said, “Can we go to McDonald’s?”
“Sure,” I said. As long as I’m already labeled a bad parent let’s piss off the Eat Clean/No Excuses crowd. He had his ice cream and I had another Diet Coke, making me a bad Catholic, since I had given up soda for Lent, and three chocolate chip cookies, making me a bad bikini competitor for obvious reasons.
When we got home I checked on my mom and then the kids, my husband and I drove to Lake Pflugerville. We ran a little bit of the trail (to burn off the cookies) and then my kids splashed around and buried my feet in the rocky sand.
My son kissed my cheek. “You’re the best mom, ever.”
I may never be judged a good enough parent by some woman holding a clipboard, but as long as my son thinks I am, that’s all that really matters.
Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two.
Are you curious about what it’s like to strength train and potty train at the same time? Check out what the Statesman Social calls “The Best New Year/New You Motivational Book!” “She’s Losing It!” which is available at Amazon.com.
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