Rednecking Out on The Band Wagon

I have been blogging for what seems like forever in the world of online blogging. Four years. My blog, she is an old and crippled thing already. I can no longer consider myself a newbie at this online writing gig.

But for as long as I've been blogging, I've been parenting longer. For almost thirteen years now. I've got four kids and a schwack of parenting experience under my belt.

Because of this, I rarely jump on any of the band wagon issues that continually make the rounds in the mommy blogosphere. It all seems  old hat to me and I never feel like I have anything new or fresh or interesting to add to the conversation. Let the other's speak for me because there is always someone out there who can say it better than I can.

But this latest mommy blog fever about how declaring oneself a bad mother is nothing but a trend, a social media ploy to sell books or get traffic has quite frankly incited my ire and fury, similar to when a 14 year old boy bullies my 12 year old daughter and bloodies her nose.

It pisses me off enough to make me want to jump on my soap box and break out my bullhorn.

So I am adding my voice to the discussion and breaking my own blog ethics by chiming in.

Where's Black Hockey Jesus to compose a musical for bad mothering when you need him?

It's time for a little redneck edumacation if you will.

Oh ya, I'm about to get all sanctimommy-ish and up in yer grill. Now would be the time to click the big red X if you're not up for a little cussing.

You see, I have had a unique experience that most parents never have had the pleasure of enduring.  For the last three plus years I have had my parenting and every parental decision I have ever made, put under a microscope to be dissected and analyzed by a plethora of 'child raising experts.'

I know first hand just how damaging the social media construct of what a GOOD mother is and the consequences of bucking that trend by being an atypical mother, someone who is unabashedly 'BAD'.

And I was being bad on my blog and real life before it became the hottest media trend. I was country when country wasn't cool. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

It started the night Shalebug died and having to spending the next three months facing the firing squad with various Albertan coroners over why my son mysteriously and suddenly died and what did I do to cause it? Those f*ckers were determined to find neglectful or inept parenting as cause of death. In yer face you over-educated schmucks! (Ahem. I'm not bitter. Really. Okay, fack yes I am bitter still. It was a nightmare. Almost worse than having your kid drop dead on you in the first place.)

There is nothing quite like the rigorous investigation of an untimely death by authorities who have the power not only to take away your remaining children but to sentence you to be somebody's bitch at the local prison while fighting over a bar of soap to strip down your parental beliefs and self-examine your definition of what 'good' parenting really is.

Having survived that festive period of time with more scars on me than a man sentenced to 20 lashes for stealing a loaf of bread, I figured I would publicly document my 'bad parenting' for the world to see and hence the birth of this blog.

Cuz what's more fun than writing from the heart to document my experiences with my children and then to be indirectly criticized for "endlessly tapping the vein of faux self deprecation for shock value or cheap laughs or sympathy."

For the record, there is nothing faux about my self deprecation. Ask my therapist.

Then, as if having my community, my family and myself examine and doubt my parenting skills wasn't enough fun, my husband and I decided to jump through hoops of fire in a bid to adopt. Not only was my parenting and very inner core examined through this process but again last summer  when I was falsely accused of being a baby beater.

For more years than I care to admit, I have had to do nothing but jump through hoops to prove I am not a 'bad' mother.

My kids have been questioned, analyzed and dissected and I've answered more personality diagnosis multiple choice questions than a crazy person tossed in the loony bin.

A child psychologist invaded my home and sat on my furniture to observe the effect of my parenting on my children's precious psyches.

I've sat at a table of six judgmental professionals and defended my parenting style and choices over and over again.

They didn't want to, (especially after they discovered my blog) but they HAD to stamp me a 'good mom' because according to them, and I quote, "despite Tanis's unique parenting style, her children are well-adjusted, emotionally happy and highly functional children."

DESPITE. Not 'because of', but despite my parenting. God I love parenting professionals.

What I have learned through all of this and ultimately, my point to this long winded diatribe, is that nothing matters as long as your children turn out to be happy, thriving, functional and well-adjusted adults. ('Cept Jumby. He may not be functional in the tradional sense of the world but he'll steal your heart with his smile and his amazingly well-adjusted personality.)

I choose to embrace 'bad' mothering. It's the only mothering I really know how to do. I am not archetypal mother who dons an apron and helicopters her children. My children happily roam free range, pee in pools and pick their noses.

I am the mother who rejects the dominant cultural narrative of what defines a 'good' mother. I am the mother who calls herself a bad mom with her tongue in cheek, not because I am employing a transparent, unimaginative marketing ploy but because I am okay with my imperfections as a parent which goes against the societal imperative for perfection.

It's not that I'm reveling in 'bad' parenting, I'm simply acknowledging that society's rigid dictates of what a 'good' mother is, is not for me. I am not calling myself  bad in order to bait people into saying what a good mother I am, I am calling myself bad to share my insecurities and doubts with other mothers (and fathers) who have felt the same pressure to be the perfect parent and wonder why it's not enough just to love and protect one's child without having to live up to a definition of parenting that fits as well as a strait jacket.

I am not conforming to media labels, nor trying to influence the next generation of mothers to embrace neglectful parenting. I am neither trying to glamorize the definition of bad parenting nor bastardize the definition of good parenting. I am simply putting one foot forward each day, doing the best I can while maintaining what is suppose to be a humour blog.

If I offend your sensibilities by embracing my inner badness and the irony that accompanies that term, I won't apologize. I am what I am as Popeye says and it works for my children and for me. I'm not trying to be defeatist nor passive aggressive by labeling myself 'bad'. This blog isn't about me being trendy or joining in to be one of the cool kids, it is simply about being me. In all my redneckkin' bad glory.

It doesn't matter one hair on a cat's ass what other people label my parenting or my reflection of it on my blog. Call it good, call it bad, call it redneck-tastic, but it's all semantics no matter which side you flip this pancake. In the end the only thing that matters is my son is not rattling the bars of a prison cell with a tin can and my daughter isn't spending her free time trying to self-medicate with sex in the back seat of some doofus's car.

So, through my blog, if I encourage more parents to imitate my special brand of BAD PARENTING or feel less isolated because of their own parenting techniques, then I say HELL YA.

Cuz if my two children who are happy and well adjusted after the hell they went through when their brother died BECAUSE (not DESPITE) my parenting helped them, then more children could benefit. Plus the child welfare authorities gave me papers saying that I make bad parenting look good so I figure I'm not the worst role model out there.

*Jumps off her sanctimommy soap box and goes to pour a cup of coffee laced with Bailey's Irish Cream. Cuz I drink first thing in the morning too. I iz da BAD mutha.*