Inside Read is our sampler of new Canadian books we think merit your attention. In Bad Mommy, Vancouver author Willow Yamauchi satirically assesses all the ways women can (and will) mess-up child-rearing, while also featuring tales from “22 admitted bad mommies . . . Instead of hiding mommy guilt and shame with brave smiles, matching mother-daughter outfits, and three-o’clock martinis, we celebrate our neuroses, shortcomings, and nasty little habits. Only Bad Mommy dares to tell the truth.”
Published by kind permission of Insomniac Press.
Bad Mommy and Her Boobies
Even if you have nicely established breastfeeding, guilt about being a bad mommy is still only a thought away. A nursing mother’s nutritional intake is fertile grounds for misgivings and fear. If the baby is gassy, Mommy had too much cabbage/chocolate/dairy/wheat/beans/whatever before nursing. The more you like something, the more likely it is that it be the very substance that will forever curse your child through repeated breast-milk exposures. Never fear! If the baby is sleepy, it was that beer you drank! If the baby is rashy, Bad Mommy ate strawberries! God forbid you eat anything during nursing that might cause an allergy in baby later on in life. Bad Mommies eat peanuts, shellfish, and soy and curse their poor nurslings to a lifetime of misery and allergies via toxic booby-milk exposure.
Then we come to the issue of weaning. In North America, most mommies wean before the age of one. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests age two as a minimum for weaning; hence, all mommies who wean before the age of two are, by definition, “bad.” Isn’t it easy! Isn’t it easy to be bad?
Children need to form at least one attachment to at least one caregiver in their earliest days. Attachments are formed by reacting to a baby’s cues, for example, crying. If you as a parent do not react to your baby’s cry on demand, you will be teaching baby early on that no one cares for them and that no one can be trusted. As your child grows, this lesson will translate into anti-social personality disorder, and your child will become either a lawyer or mass murderer. Or both.
Many parents will let their babies “cry it out” so that the parents themselves can have peace at night. This is short-sighted, like drinking aspartame in your coffee; yes, there are no calories, but you will get cancer in the end. Children who are not “attached” to their parents, although excellent sleepers, do not really care what kind of havoc they are wreaking in their family home and later on in society.
Bad Mommy and Toys
Aside from video games, which will ruin our children’s ability to develop social skills and give them early myopia, there are many other ways to mommy poorly with toys. For example, you can easily manipulate and destroy your child’s burgeonning sense of sexual identity through toy choice. Buy little Annie a dolly and you are embracing the patriarchal hegemonic ideology that females must nurture small creatures. Don’t buy her a dolly and you will be missing the critical sensitization period of her life where she learns to love and nurture, leading her to likely not have children (and robbing your mitochondrial DNA its opportunity to continue to replicate and manifest itself in future generations). The lack of dolly exposure as a child might even lead her to mommy poorly — one might even say badly — as an adult! This is true particularly if you have selfishly denied her the joy of a younger sibling. How else will she learn this significant task?
This dilemma is also found with boys and weapon toys. Buy Christopher a dolly and you might as well tape a “kick me” sign to his back, since you’ll be dooming him to a childhood of ridicule and bullying. Buy him a toy gun and seal your fate in Bad Mommy Hell as he menaces the neighbourhood with his weapon, proudly telling the other local lads that his “Mommy lets him have it.” Bad mommies who actually allow gun-type toys in their homes know in the pit of their stomachs that someday this choice will come back to haunt them, hopefully not literally!
Many first-time mommies swear to the Gods that they will not allow weapon toys in their home. They are short-sighted and wasting their important prayer points; they will quickly learn this is an impossible battle to win. With some children, anything is a potential weapon. Toast can be chewed into the shape of a gun! The letter L and 7 fridge magnets — seemingly innocuous — when turned on their sides are also guns! Take away these and the trusty forefinger and thumb will come in handy for a little weapon-play at the kitchen table! Aside from amputation, there is very little you can do to stop a weapon-obsessed child from finding a weaponesque item to play with.
Should Mommy fight to curtail this instinct, it will go underground and manifest itself later in the teen years as her child joins some gang of misfits and and mentally ill youth to foment designs to blow up a high school (most likely wearing trench coats or all-black Goth ensembles).