In the spirit of "Go The F*uck To Sleep," four mothers have written "Sh*tty Mom: The Parenting Guide For The Rest Of Us." In it, authors Laurie Kilmartin, Karen Moline, Alicia Ybarbo and Mary Ann Zoellner offer a tongue in cheek philosophy about "shortcuts and parenting with 40 percent effort." Their book, they say in the introduction, is "about doing a half-assed job, but doing it well enough so that no one but you notices."
The chapters include "How to Drop Off Your Sick Kid At Daycare Before the Teacher Figures It Out," and "How Not To Hear the Baby In The Middle of the Night," and readers will either think it is the best, or the most appalling, thing that has ever happened to parenting.
Here's an excerpt. You decide.
How To Miss Work Without Saying It's Because Of Your Sick Kid
Your kid is sick, too sick to fool a teacher. He has to stay home. And you don’t live in Sweden or Denmark, where they’re cool with that. You live in America, where your employer can easily replace you with someone who has no kids. Or someone who has kids who don’t get the flu. Or someone who has kids with the flu and has no problem sending them to school.
You have two options, depending on your marital or co-parenting situation.
1. Make his dad do it.
The odds are pretty high that staying home to care for a sick kid will hurt his career less than it will hurt yours. Sadly, the women at work love it when men are good fathers:
Female coworker (Donna): “Oh, isn’t he wonderful! Stepping up and taking care of his children.”
Female coworker (Kate): “Those poor kids, saddled with a mother who doesn’t care.”
Donna: “What a shame. Maybe he’ll leave her one day, for the children’s sake.”
Kate: “Well, if he does, he can bring that fine ass of his over to my house.”
Donna: “I hear that.”
Which is the exact opposite of what happens when you are a good mother:
Donna: “Oh, she claims her kid is sick. Please. Didn’t her kid get sick last year?”
Kate: “Yes. I wonder if she’s making him sick. Do you think she has Munchausen syndrome?”
Donna: “I don’t know, but if that kid of hers is gonna get the flu every winter, she should stay at home until he’s in college.”
Kate: “Exactly. And maybe she can get that fat ass of hers back in shape.”
Donna: “I hear that.”
2. You stay home, but tell no one why.
Actually, a good thing to do would be to travel back in time and tell no one that you even have a child. Especially if you are a single mom. No one wants to hear how hard it is, or how tired you are. That’s your problem, honey. To married moms and the single Noms (non-moms), you are their worst-case scenario. They look at you and say, “There but for the grace of God go I.”
NO ONE IS YOUR ALLY.
- Men without kids don’t want to be reminded that children exist. In fact, most of them don’t want to be reminded that women can bear children. They are in the “whore” phase of their Madonna/Whore complex.
- Men with kids don’t want to hear their own children whine for juice, much less yours.
- Older women with kids are annoyed that you’re getting away with this. Back in the ’90s, they got mommy-tracked if they stayed home with a sick child. You have it so goddamn easy.
- Your excuse needs to be anything but the truth. On the chart comparing the things that people secretly hate about women, staying home with a sick kid is one notch above being childless and happy. You will be penalized, even if it’s in a subtle or small way. You must lie. And please, no fake deaths. This is not elementary school, and you’re too old to have a dying grandmother.
- Jury duty. This is bulletproof, as long as your boss doesn’t ask for paperwork.
- Anything financial: closing on a house, meeting with your accountant. An audit works particularly well here— most people believe that only winners or men attract the attention of the IRS.
- If you are under forty or pretending to be, consider acting as if you are hungover from a wild night. It makes you seem young and . . . not like someone’s mother. Which we can agree is 100 percent less sexy than being a father.
If you’re lucky:
- Befriend a stay-at-home mom and see if you can do a trade-out. Or pay her. Those ladies get no compensation and not enough respect.
- A last-minute babysitting service. They are expensive, but that frees you up to save the lies for when you really are hungover or being audited.
Remember: No matter how supportive your coworkers pretend to be, it’s a lie. And there’s only one way to offset a lie, and that’s to tell another lie.