Red Ribbons on the Bad Mommy Hanger

April 26, 2011

I’ve had a long day.  A long day, after a long week, after a long winter, and I am bone-shatteringly tired.  I barely survived the half mile drive to buy Ibuprofen at Wegman’s, and once I arrived, I plunked the kiddo down at WKids and hid myself away in the upstairs cafe section until I could handle the idea of traversing the aisles.  By the time we finally pulled up in front of our house, the thought of cooking dinner was more than I could bear, and then I remembered these:

Mmm..mmm... good?

Purchased in a fit of nostalgia (my mom used to keep a stack of these in the freezer) with a bit of prescience mixed in, I tossed these frozen dinners into my shopping cart ages ago for just this very kind of evening.  After 8 minutes of microwaving, my children sat happily on the couch, in front of the television, eating preservative-laden food on a stick.  Definitely not my finest parenting moment.

My mom always calls events like this red ribbons on the bad mommy hanger.  I have no idea where it came from, though I’m sure Bubbe Margie will be happy to tell us all in the comments.  (Ever the supportive mama, she’s an avid reader of this blog.)  Whatever the origin, I like the image.  Perfect parenting is unattainable, and we’re all bound to make mildly shameful moves from time to time.  The bad mommy hanger gives us a place to put all of these little bits of shame.  Fed your kids crap for dinner?  There’s one red ribbon.  Lost your temper when they were arguing in the car?  Another neat little bow.  Sent your preschooler off to school wearing mismatched socks for the fourth day in a row?  Tie one more on.  Then you get to put the hanger away, in the back of the closet, give yourself a break, and move on with your day.

Anyone else out there starting a nice red ribbon collection?  Tell me all about it in the comments.

-Meryl at the Goose


5 Responses to “Red Ribbons on the Bad Mommy Hanger”

  1. Margie Says:

    This is a direct quote from Kate Pazdan’s mom and one that I felt she coined just for me. As you know, I have overgrown more than a single closet with all of my red ribbons. This blog is, however, one of my proudest moments and I plan to go into the closet to remove at least one of those red ribbons.

  2. Diana Says:

    Today was definitely a red ribbon day for me.

  3. Frankie Miller Says:

    I am glad when I look at my lovely daughters, their wonderful spouses and the way they are raising the six precious grandchildren. My hanger was full of red ribbons and I went on to many other hangers, but I do not have to remember them now! Hopefully the girls do not remind me of them-too often! There is hope, down the tunnel and around the bend, and up a hill!!
    love the expression~

  4. Raya Says:

    I think I have a enough red ribbon to make a lovely red ribbon mommy straight jacket!

    Today’s moment happened bright and early after yet another night of very little sleep. Which is the norm for a mother of two little ones who are 15 months apart and who is in the process of opening my own retail business. Time is always against me. Specially in the morning and if I can just get out the door, then everything seems to fall into a peaceful fun pace. Just seems impossible to get out the door sometimes.

    So today I refused to let all my planning and running around go to waist. After getting animals walked and fed, myself dressed, lunches packed, bags in the car, butts changed, one year old dressed and fed, two year old dressed and fed (and even pulled off a cute hairdo that didn’t involve any screaming or tears from either of us), and as I have keys in hand and I’m running up the stairs to grab the babes and go….I see a very soaked two year old who thought it was a good idea to try to drink from the dog’s freshly filled to the top water bowl. Now this is not the first time this has happened, but it was the first time I refused to change her clothes and made her waddle out to the car, wet clothes sticking to her front. Of course I only left her this way because it was already 80 degrees out, but I felt terrible afterwards even though now it kind of makes me chuckle. She dried quickly, we got to the store on time and had a fun productive day.

    So I guess we all have these moments and i enjoy this blog and enjoy knowing I’m not the “only” one.

  5. Asha Says:

    Baby, I could make a ball gown weaving all my red ribbons together. With a ten foot train.

    Interestingly, however, I was thinking about the unintentional outcome of all my insanity (which usually involves impatience, a tendency to yell and curse when angry, and the occasional smack on the hand which is immediately followed by tears and apologies. It’s all very dramatic.). For good or ill, my kids have learned there are limits past which you DO NOT CROSS or you will be dealing with crazy mommy. And you do not want to deal with crazy mommy. So, they’re remarkably well behaved. Polite, helpful, and (mostly) willing to do what they are asked to do when they are asked to do it.

    I would like think it is possible to raise polite, helpful children who submit to authority when appropriate without just a touch of fear, but that’s not how I learned it. I was afraid of pissing off my mom. All she had to do was look at me. Needless to say, she’s got her own ball gown she’s gonna get buried in. But I love her even so.

    Our red ribbon moments, if nothing else, perhaps help us retroactively appreciate our own parents, just like our children will someday appreciate us. Perhaps what we can offer that certainly my mother did not, is acknowledgement that we are imperfect. Which then gives our kids the permission to be imperfect, too.

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