Sometimes when I think about raising my children in this messy, chaotic world we have created, all I can think is, "Oh, Fuck. Fuck, Fuck, Fuck." Parenting is hard and frustrating and full of so many gray areas that most of the time you have no idea if what you're doing is good or bad for your child or yourself, in the short term or the long run or hell, whenever. In a word, parenting is a Clusterfuck. A straight up, hardcore Clusterfuck. But then something happens to make you think, "Damn. I'm the BEST PARENT EVER, yo." Sometimes this little epiphany comes via your child-- something particularly cute or brilliant or phenomenal that he or she says or does. But sometimes, SOMETIMES this comes via someone else.
Like a large black woman dressed in leopard print leggings and a hot pink tank top at Wal-Mart.
A couple of weeks ago, this is exactly the form that my guilt-release took, as I waited in the check-out line at the 'Mart. Shopping cart laden with groceries, I stood exhausted, reading the headlines on the trashy celebrity gossip magazines and ever-so-vaguely listening to my children beg me to buy them gum. It was a Friday afternoon, and the place was fucking packed as all hell, overrun with both the old and the obese, meaning that every damn aisle was blocked with a fucking motorized scooter and someone asking me to help them reach the Hamburger Helper. I was lucky to have made it to the check-out line alive (or rather, everyone else was lucky I made it to the check-out line without killing them).
As I was standing there, deep in a Mommy Brain Mini-Vacation (a useful way to pass the time in check-out lines-- you block out the noise, halfway read the headlines, and pretend you are somewhere warm and tropical, drinking beer and having your sunscreen applied by Johnny Depp) I spied a woman clearly vying for WORST MOMMY OF THE DAY. (Side note: WORST MOMMY OF THE DAY is a little award I like to mentally hand out on occasion to parents I see doing a particularly stellar job raising their wayward offspring. It's also a great confidence booster for myself, as, in order to win WORST MOMMY OF THE DAY, you have to have done something worse than anything I personally have done that day. -- Side note to the side note: I, do, occasionally win my own WORST MOMMY OF THE DAY AWARD. Like, when Belly was nine months old, and I accidentally taught her to say, "Fuck," which ended up being one of her first words.)
Anyway, what I saw was this: A very *healthy* black woman with a super elaborate upswept hairstyle, leopard print leggings, a hot pink tank with her (black) bra straps showing, and black high-heeled gladiator sandals strut up to the Wal-Mart nail salon, park her cart in front, and go inside to sit and and start getting a pedicure WHILE LEAVING HER INFANT (and her purchases) PARKED OUTSIDE THE STORE IN HER CART. That's right. Her orange juice, her maxi pads, and her (approximately 3 months old) infant (in his car seat) were parked in the front lobby of Wal-Mart, out of physical (and clearly mental) proximity of Big Mama or any other responsible, guardian-type adult. Because her nails were that fucking important.
Now, I realize a girl has to look her best, but REALLY? REALLY, BITCH? Your toes (in late February, at that) are so fucking important that you have to abandon your child in the Chesapeake Wal-mart in order to touch up your paint job? I could have snatched your kid (though we all know that hell would freeze over before I saddled myself with another minion) and been out of town before you even noticed he was gone. At the very least, I could have stolen your damn orange juice. He wasn't even old enough to yell "Get back! Stranger danger!" Or to even be awake for his entire kidnapping, for that matter. Seriously. GET YOUR PRIORITIES IN LINE, SISTER. I don't like my kids most of the time either, but I still realize they come WAY before my fucking beauty treatments (if I had any).
Therefore, BIG BLACK LEOPARD PRINT LEGGINGS LADY gets my Worst Mommy of the Day Award. But I get something too. I get the satisfaction of not one drop of guilt from refusing to buy gum for my minions, and the chance to use the line, "Stop your damn whining or Mommy is going to abandon your ass and go get her fucking nails done." And know that someone, somewhere, could say that and mean it. I'm the BEST PARENT EVER, yo.