‘Bad Mom’ Can Only Guess Where She Left Her Kid

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Roz Chast’s collection of “Bad Mom” cards.

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By Susan Dromey Heeter, Joyful Musings

So, in a foray to an area thrift shop, I came across the New Yorker’s Book of Kids* Cartoons *- and the People Who Live with them. When I spotted Roz Chast’s collection of “Bad Mom” cards, I laughed out loud – particularly at Card #89 entitled “Becky O. who, “while on the phone, told child to ‘SHUT THE HELL UP’ or she would brain her.”

And this week, I muse joyfully on not only basking on being a “Bad Mom” on occasion but basking in the glory of being human, alive and entirely less than stellar in the matronly aspect of my life.

I’ve invited my fourteen year old to depart my vehicle more than once and to utilize aerobic activity in order to arrive to our homestead. Bad Mom Card #90 would read, “Told child to ‘GET OUT’ of the car and did not turn back.”

Is that Sir Luc with Susan Dromey Heeter?

I love that a colleague of mine did the same thing – “Oh, yeah,” she remarked, “I told my daughter to get out of the car after a particularly upsetting conversation and then forgot which exit she’d been dropped off at. Eventually we did reconnect. We were both a bit calmer and the rest of the trip went much more smoothly.”

As we enter the season of “give me more” and “look what my friends are getting,” I muse joyfully knowing all moms are doing the best they can, truly – no mother I’ve ever met has announced, “Yes, today I really do hope to fail my children miserably.”

Last week I worked at the Dover Library book sale with a student whose mom works away from home four days a week as a food server to the students of Dartmouth. She drives two hours and is away from her children five days and four nights a week. Her son told me he’d helped her get the job as her English is not entirely fluent. “She must worry about you,” I said, “Oh, yes,” he remarked. And I could only imagine how they do it.

I muse joyfully that the phrase, “I’m mother of the year” goes the way of phrases like, “Narly” and “Groady.” It tends to be such an admission of guilt, of “I’ve forgotten to pack a lunch – I’m the WORST!” All mothers are mothers of the year – we work hard, we do our very best. We may be able to afford to give our children more than they need or deserve – or we simply may be doing our very best simply to see they have a roof over their head as we serve pasta to Ivy Leaguers.

And I muse joyfully on those Bad Mom cards – that even at the best of times – externally, it may not looks as if we are doing so great. Card #23 shows Lucy L on the phone as she “told friend ‘funny’ story about kid and had a laugh at kid’s expense.”

Dear God, I think I do this on a daily basis – I still giggle at the haircuts I performed on nights before school picture day – bangs are a little off, a little angled – but, hey, I did my best.

So, may you muse joyfully on either your own motherhood or the mother who did her very best to make you what you are. As for me? I’m going to start collecting those Bad Mom cards; and laugh my head off knowing while I can relate to all, I am still mother of the year.


Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, writes “Joyful Musings” for InDepthNH.org. Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Dover High School and the mother of two teenage daughters.  Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal  in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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