Perfect Mothers Against Chemicals, Other Mothers, and Humor
May 9, 2006
I. Scene One:
We are at a playground in the woods. The woods, which by their very nature are shady. The shady woods with lots of bugs and very little direct sunlight. The mosquitoes are already out and last week I found our first tick of the season. Hurray for summer.
I pull out the insect repellent.
Perfect Mother, who is slathering her offspring in sunscreen, : I can’t believe that you are putting that on your kids. Do you know what is in it?
Me: Uh… well, hopefully something that will prevent them from getting eaten alive by bugs here.
Perfect mother: It’s filled with all sorts of chemicals.
I ignore her.
Perfect Mother: Do you want to borrow some of my sunscreen? I noticed you didn’t put any on your kids?
Me: No, I’m not sure how I’d give it back when I was done.
Perfect Mother, who has no sense of humor : What?
Me: No thanks.
Perfect Mother: You aren’t going to put sunscreen on your children?
Me: No. I’m not.
Perfect mother: Wow, that is just unbelievable to me that you wouldn’t put sunscreen on your kids, but you’ll put bug spray on them.
Me: No, what’s unbelievable is that you care.
Perfect Mother: Aren’t you worried about skin cancer?
Me: First of all, it isn’t even sunny here in the woods. Secondly, my children have their fathers olive complexion, therefore they don’t burn or even tan easily, so those small patches of sunlight that are coming through the trees really aren’t a threat to them.
Perfect mother, shaking her head: Well, all those chemicals…
Me: Sunscreen has chemicals in it too. Mosquito and tick borne illnesses are a very real threat around here. And after having one child get very ill with Lyme Disease, to the point where he was beginning to have neurological issues, I am vigilant about using insect repellent.
Perfect Mother: Well, I would never…
Me: I never say never. Oh look a patch of sunshine, I had better go instruct my children to stay away from the dangerous sun.
II Scene two:
A different day, a different mother, a different reminder of how imperfect I am
Perfect Mother: I can’t believe you let your children chew gum.
Me: I don’t think a piece of gum once in awhile is going to hurt anyone.
Perfect Mother: Gum is bad for you. You really should keep it away from your children.
Me:Was there some sort of memo I missed that good mothers are against gum now?
Perfect Mother: I don’t allow it in my house. I just say no.
Me: I think I am confused, Nancy. Are we talking about guns?
Perfect Mother: No gum, with an m. My name isn’t Nancy…
me: G-U-M? as in chewing?
perfect Mother: Yes chewing gum.
Me: Wow,I am so out of the perfect mother loop. I thought we were against things like drunk driving, guns with an n, and internet pedophiles. Is there some sort of newsletter I can sign up to receive so I can be in the know. I want to be properly incensed at the choices other mothers make too!
Perfect mother: Well, it’s just common sense. All those chemicals…
Me: And that Gogurt your kid is sucking down is completely natural?
Perfect Mother: ::blink blink::
Me: It isn’t even called yo-gurt. And it is sucked out of a plastic tube … but yet somehow that has perfect mother stamp of approval?
Perfect Mother: Well, it’s better than lunchables.
Me: Ah, so there is some sort of kid snack food hierarchy of which I am unaware. Would this be in the monthly newsletter?
III. Scene Three:
Yet another motherfucking day
Perfect Mother: Your playscape at home… is it made out of cedar?
Me: Well, we have two. One is cedar and one is pressure treated wood.
Perfect Mother, gasps loudly shaking her head furiously: I can’t believe that you would allow pressure treated wood in your yard?
Me, laughing: Wow. Yet another thing. Was this in the newsletter?
Perfect Mother: I don’t know about the newsletter. Pressure treated wood is wood treated with arsenic. Arsenic! It seeps into the ground. It’s poison!
Me: Good Lord, how will I ever keep it all straight.
Perfect Mother: You should get rid of it. I would never allow my children anywhere near it.
Me: Well, for that fact alone, I think I’ll keep it.
That’s it. I am done with people. Should anyone need me, my inferior self will be outside in my own private toxic waste dump, with my gum chewing, chemically coated children, rejoicing in the apparant miracle that I have manage to keep my children alive for over eleven years.
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