It’s Not All Mary Poppins

The Competition is Over: We Have THE Winner

Move over, Hausfrau and So Not Martha! Misfit, you’re not even in the running for this one. All you wonderful mommies who feel you’ve fallen down on the job at one time or another (Lory, Susan, Heather, Mrs. A), you may now breathe a sigh of relief and know that Mary P has beat you all cold on this one. Yes, Mary, that parenting paragon, who can take five toddlers to a coffeeshop with nary a sign of a tantrum, and to the Art Gallery without setting off alarms or knocking over statuary, who talks sex to her teens without a ruffle, is officially the Bad Mother of the Year. Possibly the decade.
It’s about these shoes. They belong to my 16 year old son, Adam. They are in rough shape, this is clear. Grubby, pretty battered. This, however, does not make me a Bad Mother. All kids’ shoes, especially teenage boys’, get battered at the end of the summer. It’s just time for a trip to the shoe store before school, that’s all. Everybody does that!

These shoes, however, do have issues, as Adam displayed for me yesterday. Yes, that’s pretty bad. These shoes are definitely in the “critical” stage. I’ve now moved down to “Mediocre Mother”, but in my defense I point out that this boy has the male aversion to shopping – even his mother’s very focussed “get-in-there-get-it-and-get-out” type shopping – and a busy social life. So I’m not a Bad Mother even for this. It has not been easy pinning him down.

However, it has surely not been impossible, which would be the only possible excuse for this, which happened last night.

That’s right. We have a sole-less shoe. And, what really makes me a Bad Mother is that these are his ONLY shoes! The boy will have to “wear” these, however we’re going to manage that, to the shoe store! And it’s raining today. Raining, raining, raining. Oh, I’m a Bad Mother…

August 31, 2005 - Posted by | my kids


  1. Oh my word! Too bad he isn’t younger. I would have made sure you won the Preschoolians contest.

    I bet they smell as good as they look.

    Comment by ieatcrayonz | August 31, 2005 | Reply

  2. You certainly win the “Mother with the son who has the most yucky shoes award.”

    Comment by M&Co. | August 31, 2005 | Reply

  3. Oh my!

    I still argue that making my daughter miss school pictures (albeit completely unintentionally)–the entire CLASS picture–so I could sleep because the time change was kicking my ass makes ME the Bad Mother.

    Comment by misfit | August 31, 2005 | Reply

  4. I’m with Crayonz–I am oddly curious as to how they might be smelling about now!

    You could also think of it THIS way–you are probably the Triftiest Mother of the Year if you figure the “Cost Per Wear” with those shoes!

    You’re still not the worst mother–no way!!!

    Comment by Misfit Hausfrau | August 31, 2005 | Reply

  5. And I, too, was wondering about the smell, but only because I fear what poor Charlie’s feet will smell like when he is Adam’s age (as they STINK now, and he’s only three).

    Thank god for the Internet–can you imagine if all the bad mommies had only the good mommies to hang with all the time?

    Hooray for Mary P and her shoeless son!

    Comment by Susan | August 31, 2005 | Reply

  6. Duct tape.

    A little duct tape and those shoes could go many more miles. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Comment by Homestead | August 31, 2005 | Reply

  7. He cut them out, right? Tell me he cut the soles out.

    Comment by Haley | August 31, 2005 | Reply

  8. Ahh, you need to turn this around. At 16 years old Adam is quite grown up enough to inform you that his footwaer is less than perfect. Indeed, as a good mother, it is vital that you allow him to learn about taking the initiative, talking to others, and learning to take care of himself. He has failed in these tasks, and therefore disappointed you, and put himself at risk (only of wet feet admitedly, but the principle stands). He obviously needs more mollycoddling!

    Comment by Mrs.Aginoth | August 31, 2005 | Reply

  9. Just dress him in hippy gear then he can walk barefoot to the shoe shop with his head held high ๐Ÿ™‚

    Comment by Aginoth | August 31, 2005 | Reply

  10. Your kid is totally cool. He doesn’t give a … about his shoes. Does he wear ripped jeans? God help him if he ends up in a three piece suit!

    Comment by hotboy | August 31, 2005 | Reply

  11. Crayonz: he’d look really sweet in the little brown ones with the teddy bears on the toes…
    Strangely, they didn’t stink at all. Perhaps there was too much air circulation for bacteria growth??

    m&co: thanks. I’ll put it on my mantlepiece. I’ll have to move my Certificate of Negligence first, but we can make room!

    Misfit: I’m not so sure. Class pictures have great sentimental value, no doubt. But clothing? Forget a picture, you’re still okay; forget to feed or clothe your kid? I dunno.. Tell you what – I’ll arm-wrestle you for it!!

    Hausfrau: As I commented to crayonz, I think there was too much light and air in those shoes to allow any stinky bacteria growth, cuz they had no stench at all, appearances to the contrary. Thanks for the vote of confidence!

    Susan: His do, too. We buy good old Dr. Scholl’s odor-eaters for his shoes, replaced with great regularity. They work very well. Plus this stuff that comes in a spray can called “Sneaker Treater” that works moderately well. Can you get teeny-tiny “Odor Eaters”??

    Homestead: in fact, that’s how he got to the shoe store!! Well, we couldn’t find the honkin’ big roll we bought not long ago, so he went with his foot wrapped in packing tape. It got him into the store dry – but duct tape would’ve been way better!

    Haley: Nope. It fell off in bits on the way home last night. Really.

    Mrs. A: I agree entirely, of course. This post was tongue-in-cheek, as I hope most of my readers understood. The shoes got into such bad shape because, not really caring about such things, my son let his shoes fall apart before resigning himself to the inevitability of having to try things on, an activity far, far worse to him than going about in dissolving footware! And I, as his loving mother, let him make that choice. Wet feet are natural consequences, after all.

    Aginoth: good plan!! Actually, he walked with his right shoe wrapped in clear shiney packing tape – and was highly delighted with the whole thing. Good sense of humour on the boy.

    Hotboy: Yes, he is totally cool. No, he just doesn’t much worry about this stuff. In fact, he thought it was outrageously funny. He was showing his tape-wrapped foot to anyone who was interested, and has brought it home. Says he wants to figure out a way to hang it in his room!

    Comment by Mary P. | August 31, 2005 | Reply

  12. I’ve got my cell phone and I am gonna call YOU KNOW WHO on you!! Ack! Gasp!

    It would be worse if they were his winterboots, and it would be worse if he were naked too.

    Now how do you get 5 children to a coffee shop without ensuing chaos? Are these secrets I must pay for? I have the cash. Since I am already a bad mom in training -I ‘ll use the proceeds from my basement meth lab to pay…really!!


    Comment by Heather | September 1, 2005 | Reply

  13. I used to be a 16 year old boy. I skate boarded everywhere. Approximately 2.4 days after my mother would buy me new shoes, there would be one hole in the sole (hey, that rhymes!) and at least one in the toe of each shoe.

    I didn’t really care much about how my shoes looked – but my mother sure did. I think she was really happy when I finally gave up skateboarding.

    You rock Mary P. for letting your son be a 16 year old kid!

    Comment by Matthew | September 1, 2005 | Reply

  14. Heather: Too late, nyah, nyah. Put the cell phone away, and no, I’m not answering yer damned questions…

    The boy now has a pair of slippers (his request), TWO pairs of runners (one in his current size and the identical style in the next size up, because I just don’t see the growth stopping any time soon) AND a new pair of winter boots. Two hundred dollars later…. Yeah, I’m a good mother!

    As for the coffee shop thing, well, that’s probably a book unto itself. Which I haven’t written yet. Until then there’s that book I liked so well. It might best be summarized by saying that I’m a kind hardass with attainably high expectations.

    Matthew: THANK YOU!! Oh, this is why I like dads so very well!

    The more of this parenting this I do, the more “dad-like” I get in some areas.
    Areas such as:
    Wear and tear of clothing, dirt smudges here and there just don’t matter all that much!
    A certain amount of risk-taking is good for a child.
    And the old “dust-yerself-off -and-get-on-with-it-you’re- fine” attitude goes a long way to producing an independent, happy child.

    (Not that there aren’t things that dads can’t learn from mom’s style. It’s just that I started off with the mom style, being one, and have learned stuff from the other way of being. That’s why kids optimally get two parents!)

    Comment by Mary P. | September 1, 2005 | Reply

  15. “but in my defense I point out that this boy has the male aversion to shopping”

    I’m pretty sure that when his feet start hurting all over or when he painfully steps on a jagged stone in his soulless shoes then his attitude towards shopping will change.

    As they say, You can lead a horse to water….

    Alternatively threaten to buy him an “untrendy” pair of trainers if he doesn’t get some new ones ๐Ÿ™‚

    Comment by Si | September 5, 2005 | Reply

  16. Si: To be honest? It doesn’t bother me (they’re his feet, after all), and I was greatly amused by just how long he left it before succumbing! Think of the entertainment I’d have denied myself, and my readers, if I’d “pulled a mom” and dragged him prematurely to the store! As you say – when his feet start to hurt, he’ll resign to the inevitable.

    Comment by Mary P. | September 5, 2005 | Reply

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