I might have multiple personalities. I say this because it is the only logical explanation for what could be called “inconsistencies” in my parenting. Some of the time I am fueled by anxiety, completely obsessed with shielding my children from every possible action, food, disease, location, toy, person, animal, chemical, mineral, element, intention, or idea that may harm them. This personality shall be known as Mrs. Pennynickels.
And then there’s Marge. Marge says things like, “Michael, stop that and go play on the ladder instead.”
Yes, the very same woman who channeled Mrs. Pennynickels to write “An Instagram Diary of Anxiety” also let Marge take over her body and encourage her son to goof around on a ladder. When those words sloppily slid from my lips, my husband (whose unofficial motto since becoming a father is “don’t tell mom about this”) clearly recognized that something was amiss.
“Did YOU just tell Michael to play on a ladder?” he asked, mouth agape.
“Yeah. But it was only because he was wrapping an extension cord around his neck, so I needed a quick distraction.” Totally logical, right? Marge is a genius.
I think my husband likes Marge better than Mrs. Pennynickels, because he seemed to agree with her course of action. “I guess safety is relative,” he quipped.
Indeed. Sometimes safety is relative. In the above case, it was comparatively safer for Michael to play on the ladder and risk falling (from a rather low height, mind you) than continue playing with the extension cord and risk strangulation AND electrocution. You have to give your kids something now and again…like letting your son shove a glow stick up his nose because you’re just glad that this time it isn’t a Fuse Bead which gets stuck and results in a trip to urgent care.
Or risking the possibility that your child might get inadvertently purchased for $7.50 if it means he is not stacking towers of 2×4’s at Home Depot.
Thankfully, Marge and Mrs. Pennynickels both know not to overstay their welcome, and they each usually spend just the right amount of time influencing my parenting: Mrs. Pennynickels enough to keep child protective services away; Marge enough to keep the bottle away. My kids stay relatively safe; I stay relatively sane.
But I guess sanity is also relative.
P.S. Just to say I have done my public service announcement today, DON’T FORGET TO VOTE! For the love of everything holy, please vote…so we can get this over with and go back to recognizing most of the numbers on our caller ids. Also, Mrs. Pennynickels likes Romney while Marge likes Obama, and I am getting tired of all the mudslinging they subject me to.