10 Ways My Mom Ruined Me


I haven’t mentioned my mom much in this blog. There is a reason.

She’s still alive.

She could read what I write about her and, well….it would go straight to her head.

But there are a few things one should know to better understand me and why I am the way the way I am. The title above sounds rather harsh, I know, but it’s all tongue in cheek so get your panties out of a wad and relax. Soon you will see exactly where I get this twisted sense of hilarity.

My mom wasn’t a conventional mom.  She didn’t stay home and have warm cookies waiting for us when we got home from school. She worked at a grocery store where we happily hung out in the afternoons.  Every day we got to pick out all kinds of junk for our afternoon snack. I was particularly fond of Flaky Flix cookies.  My mom didn’t cook made-from-scratch meals either.  Her specialty was Carl’s Jr. Once, when we were in the drive thru she was ordering our dinner. My little sister and I had been shouting out what we wanted.  After I told her my order  I added “Get it to go! Get it to go!”.  So she leaned over to the speaker and said “To go!”.  Duh! Mo—-m!  We are in the drive thru!! Sucker.  We thought it was hilarious.

Out of all of my friends’ moms, mine was the youngest…my friends all thought she was rad because she was so untraditional and goofy.  My sister and I found her embarrassing. Her favorite line to torture us with was, “I’m going to tell them I am Janelle and Michelle’s mom!”  Stop it MOM.

This woman who gave birth to me has spent the last twenty nine years teasing me. I think that’s the reason why she wanted children. Her younger siblings had grown up and she needed new victims to harass.  I know, I sound terrible. But let me give you a few examples of the suffering she caused during my early years…..

Let’s go way back to my second year of life where my fascination with celebrities began.   I had this major crush on the coolest guy in the world. That’s right; you got it….The Fonz.  To the tiny blonde-haired-piggy-tail-wearing version of me, this man hung the moon.  I had the bath towel & wash cloth set with his face on it and a t-shirt with him giving his signature thumbs up sign.  My prized Fonzie item was the poster I had hanging on the back of my bedroom door.  Hung low so that I could kiss him! {Yes, two year old me requested this.} He was my imaginary friend.  I told my mom stories all afternoon about how  Fonzie & I were going to hop on his motorcycle to go look for apartments.  My mom thought it was adorable.  She couldn’t resist getting in on it and taking full advantage of an innocent toddler.  So every day for lunch my mom would make an extra sandwich and a glass of milk for my pretend companion.  Somehow she would sneak bites and gulps of when I wasn’t looking.  I was completely confused. I was fully aware that the Fonz was not real…that he was a t.v. character I pretended to kiss and make stories up about. But how in the hell was he eating the lunch set out for him????  This was just the beginning.

Not too much longer after the Fonzie/Sandwich shenanigan, she struck again.  I must have been around three years old. {I have an incredible memory. I honestly remember this and still have nightmares.} One sunny afternoon the little girl from across the street and I were playing with our baby dolls on the side of the house in the back yard.  My mother snuck up behind the fence wearing a wolf mask jumping out at us growling and pretending to scratch! We screamed our pretty little heads off! Needless to say, all those months of potty training went straight out the window….

Just before my third birthday a baby sister was welcomed into our family.  That poor innocent baby girl. Little did she know that many years of embarrassment were ahead of her.  But for me, the birth of Michelle meant I had an ally! We would grow up side by side with only each other as witnesses to this agony of harassment from our dear mommy.  It wasn’t long before Michelle was initiated in.  I believe her first experience of our mom’s antics was when mommy dearest named each of our nipples.  Yes. I said nipples. She called them “The Pointer Sisters”. Mine were Petunia and Penelope Pointer. Michelle’s were Patricia and Priscilla Pointer.  Nice.  She spoke of them at bath time as if they were family members. We dreaded cold days as teenagers.

Something my mom reserved just for my sister {and an activity I activity participated in} was the It’s-The-End-Of-The-World Game.  My sister, being the youngest of the family, tended to get a little teary…sensitive…whiney.  There were times she would be having an absolute fit, like many small females tend to do, and my mom would begin the game. This is how it’s played:

*Step 1-Wait for tiny female to melt down.

*Step 2-Make sure she is in full tantrum mode.

*Step 3-Loudly and sarcastically state to the child, “ITS THE END OF THE WORLD!!!”

*Step 4-Laugh triumphantly as the little tortured soul goes into complete hysterics.

I enjoyed this immensely. I’m sure this is where my crass personality began to form.

The summer we turned seven &  ten our mom gave us a double slumber party.  We each had about five girlfriends over to camp out in tents in the back yard and play all kinds of girlie games. Mom took full advantage of the situation. She was very calculating. She was flat out cold blooded.  The guests were to arrive around six that evening. Mom made sure to tell Michelle and I earlier in the day that the news had reported a peeping tom in our neighborhood.  Apparently he would hop over fences and look through windows and watch people in their houses. She tried to act casual about it, as not to scare her precious daughters.   She assured us it would still be fine for us to have our outdoor slumber party.  And, well, she was our mommy…we believed her.

Soon the guests arrived and we had pizza, ate a bunch of junk, and played games. Lots of giggles, hair braiding, and kid-styled gossip had ensued.  My group of older and much cooler friends and I had spent hours teasing & mocking the younger girls.  They were quite pissed by ten o’clock. So was our mom. She separated the groups and sent us to our tents to settle down.  My friends and I were getting all cozy and finally getting quiet. We noticed that the younger ladies were extremely hushed. Ha! Those dorks all fell asleep! This only made us feel cooler.  It also meant we could finally go to sleep and not worry about looking like losers because we crashed first.  Just as we started to relax, someone heard a noise behind the tent.  We stopped whispering and held still so that we could all hear what was going on.  We could hear leaves crunching as if someone was slowly walking across the grass.  Through the side of the tent we could see a shadow in the shape of a person….we all started to look at each other and squirm. Fright began to fill our ten year old souls as the silhouette slowly got closer and closer…..aaaaaahhhhhh!!!!!!!  Plowing through all of my friends I was the first one to reach the house…sobbing.  Followed by my mom who was wickedly laughing.  Damn her.

I do have to admit, my childhood wasn’t all torture.  My mom could be pretty cool.  The naughtiest jokes I think I have ever heard were told to me by her.  She introduced my sister and I to a plethora of swear words. We agree that “shitdamnhell” was, hands down, our favorite.  When I was learning to drive I sideswiped a wall with her sitting in the passenger seat.  She just laughed and said it was a good thing we didn’t have a nice car.  Mom even made sure we learned how to properly play hooky from school.  This included lots of television and junk food.  My favorite hooky activity ever was when she used her black eyeliner to draw a mustache on me. I wore it all day.

I suppose to a traditional uptight Stepford–like parent my mom came across quite eccentric & shocking.  I’m sure it was whispered behind her back that she was going to ruin us girls. But she didn’t.  In her own unique way she taught us many life lessons…

  1.  Nurture imagination…as she did with The Fonz hoax.
  2. Don’t be afraid of the big bad wolf…Overcoming fear; underneath it all it’s probably not as bad as you first thought.
  3. A sister is the best teammate, collaborator, and friend.
  4. Be at ease with the body you have…even if you have to give special names to its parts to make it less proper and more comfortable.
  5. It’s not the end of the world. Really.
  6. During a scary time in your life its best to run with your friends.
  7. When you hit a wall realize that things happen and it’s going to always be ok…especially if you have the right person next to you steering you in the right direction.
  8. The correct use of swear words always comes in handy.  This helps clearly convey levels of emotion….how damn angry you are….what f*!#n’ annoys the hell out of you….and last but certainly not least, it adds spice to a generally boring sentence.  Ex. I’m running late. VS. Shitdamnhell I’m running late!
  9. Sometimes it’s necessary to take a break…like from school…especially from school.

And finally…

10. Eat dessert first! Learn to laugh at yourself! Refuse at all costs to grow old! And have fun….always.

{Because 10 things sounds smoother than 11 for a title….}


11.Stand up for ourselves when we are offended, put down, or judged…Do you know what I have to say to those wet blankets? Those  out there who think that being a different kind of mom is unacceptable??  The same thing my mom would say……

Up yours.

Kiss it where the sun don’t shine.

Sit on it and twirl.

I love you, Mom.  Thanks for helping me develop so many of my own parenting skills. My boys too will thank me……Someday.


One response »

  1. Sit on it and twirl. Reminds of my Sit “n” Spin a favorite toy growing up. I love your Mom’s reaction to you side swiping a wall in her car… that I sums up the reason why I am eternally connected to your family.

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