This week’s guest blogger is Stacey. She is the mastermind behind the humor blog, OneFunnyMotha.com. Stacey is also a freelance writer whose award-winningwork has appeared on such parenting sites as The Huffington Post, Mamalode, Mamapedia, and Today’s Mama. Predicated on the belief that parenting is not nor ever should be an extreme sport, her blog provides incisive cultural commentary on modern motherhood. Otherwise known as common sense. Find her running her mouth over on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, too.
I’m Only Trying to Help
Parenting is a strange endeavor. Without any instruction or testing we are thrust into a foreign role and expected to take on the most challenging and consequential work of our lives. As a young mother, I was prepared for many of the job requirements and lessons that lay ahead, but there are a few things for which no amount of training or experience can prepare you. There are things that just never enter the realm of consciousness because they are so far beyond all logical sense and reason. And, as I raised my daughter this is where I found myself most of the time.
For months, years, a lifetime? The Kid—who is now almost a full-fledged teenager—and I have engaged in battle over what constitutes proper hygiene, and I’ve grown weary from the fight. When she was a toddler, I found the only means of encouraging regular bathing while avoiding hysterics was by proclaiming certain days “Bath Days.” As The Kid grew older the arguments evolved into the proper number of times per week one needs to change one’s underwear. Seven. The answer would be seven. When she entered fifth grade I bought her deodorant, and after a string of sweltering days told her, in no uncertain terms, she must use said deodorant. And when her feet began to stink like no kid’s feet should ever stink, I instituted a Daily Fresh Socks mandate. This policy was violated often, but I was being attacked from all sides, and although I called for reinforcements, they never came.
I suspected these issues would eventually resolve themselves as I figured no one, no matter how lazy, actually wanted to smell. But things came to a unavoidable head when The Kid started wearing the same outfit multiple times a week. That I just couldn’t have. That was an outward and obvious sign of filth and moral decay. The other transgressions had been somewhat hidden and, I’d hoped, unnoticed. But this, this, was blatant. This was asking for trouble.
“Didn’t you just wear that?” I probed one morning before school.
“No,” she lied.
“Yes, you did. You wore it on Monday. You have to change.” After protesting, she stormed off and begrudgingly slipped into a nearly identical outfit.
The Kid had always been partial to the hobo chic look, which really was more hobo than chic, but now things were getting out of hand, and when the limited few “chosen” outfits continued to reappear with alarming frequency, I tried various tactics to get her to see why this might not be such a good idea. Sadly, nothing got through, and her opposition left me wondering what exactly she had against cleanliness. Or a good reputation. I was just trying to help because by this point, 7th grade, things like appearances, reputations and fear of mortification by peers should’ve been kicking in.
They weren’t. So when she again came down to breakfast dressed in the same outfit from the day before, I did the only thing left to do. I said:
There, I said it. I didn’t want to. I never thought I’d have to. But she made me.
Where do your kids (or where did you as a kid) fit
on the sliding scale of hygiene?