It has been suggested that many publications trend toward a singularity of thought. That is, they only showcase voices that reinforce shared beliefs, lifestyles and ideology. Up until this month, even Chicago Parent seemed guilty of this. The publication consistently favored one very specific kind of parent.
The other parents, bad parents, were left scratching their heads wondering if their cause would ever be championed.
Bad parents, such as me, throw away the school fundraising packets without hesitation. We give our kids Cheerios for dinner. We have a hard time keeping our carpools straight and we can’t make heads or tails of our third-grader’s math homework.
Most telling of all, we are the parents who ignite the accusing whispers of “I’ve never seen her volunteer for Market Day” and “Why is she still wearing maternity clothes-her youngest child is 5!?”
So I applaud Chicago Parent for finally giving voice to the failing parents of Chicago. I gave up on perfection years ago, right around the time I noticed my post-baby stomach wasn’t bouncing back like I’d hoped. In fact, it had taken on a whole new shape that resembled a forward-facing tush. When a woman realizes she now has two butts, the quest for perfection is clearly over.
The best thing about being a bad mother is expectations are very low. It doesn’t take much to dazzle. When I finally brought something in for the school bake sale (a box of Jewel cookies), you would have thought I was Julia Child herself with individually wrapped crème brulees. The response from other mothers was so overwhelming that I actually considered transitioning into the Good Mother Club.
Then they all started talking about Market Day, and I ran like hell.
Sometimes I rationalize my “bad mother” status by citing my family’s ridiculous schedule and my very real memory issues. But then I forget what I was worrying about, and I Google “Nutella Coupons” instead.
Yes, the ne’er-do-well parents of the world will at last have a champion. Whenever a mom loses the notice for Picture Day and sends her son to school in a promotional Budweiser T-shirt, I will stand by her. Whenever a dad drops off his daughter with misaligned pigtails and no lunch, I have his back. After all, if we don’t stick together, you know how this story ends.
It’s called Market Day, and it ain’t pretty.