In my ongoing commitment to make you feel as though, really, you’re just not the worst mother/housekeeper/wife/pet owner out there, I offer this list of my deep dark secrets. (Okay, fine. At least the ones I’d actually post on a blog that could be read by absolutely anyone on the planet, potentially including nuns, therapists, serial killers or my son’s first-grade teacher.)
It’s my hope that this is the first step of some totally rogue and unknown 12-step program...in admitting my bizarre idiosyncrasies, maybe I’ll edge a little closer to being normal (which I think I’ll find highly overrated once I get there). So here we go...
1. I wish I was the kind of person who could have tried drugs in college. I wasn't; I’ve always been way too health-conscious, brain-cell-conscious, control-conscious and law-conscious, but I think they sound like a lot of fun. A LOT of fun. (Whit says this is the weirdest thing I’ve ever written. You’d think I wouldn’t be able to surprise him after all these years, but sometimes I still leave him shaking his head.)
2. I let the dog lick dishes before they go in the dishwasher. He’s so thorough that I don’t even necessarily have to follow up with the dishwasher, but my whole OCD/germ thing kicks in and I am sure to press the “antibacterial rinse” button. Twice.
3. Kids with really severe allergies make me nervous. I so do not want an inadvertent whiff of peanut butter in my kitchen to be someone’s undoing. And Epi-pens scare me. I’m not good with needles. I’d panic and stick it in the one place it’s NOT supposed to go, like the butt.
4. I clean like a maniac before the cleaning lady comes. I swipe crap off counters, reorganize the linen closets and order my cookbooks by size. That’s when I get nutty and start counting puzzle pieces. I also only put away clean laundry when she comes, because really, I don’t want her to think I’m a slob. The rest of the time, we get all our clean clothes out of piles by the washing machine.
5. I really only care about warm-blooded pets. To that point, sometimes I take Caroline’s guinea pig out of her cage and play with her while Caroline is at school. I know that’s immature but I think she’s cute. And sometimes I come very close to flushing the fish and the frogs down the toilet while the kids are at school, because I think they’re smelly and pointless. But then Catholic guilt kicks in and I let them live.
6. It’s not unheard of for me to start thinking about wine at noon. I don’t drink it then, Betty-Ford police, but I think about it.
7. Kids who are afraid of my dog bug me. So do the parents who ask me to lock him up when their kids visit. I KNOW he’s big and loud and kind of attacks (albeit in an aggressively friendly way) when you walk in the door, but really, if I want to lock any party behind closed doors, chances are it’s the kids.
8. I’m a diagnoser. I diagnose all the time. And I have no authority or knowledge to diagnose anything. But allergies, neurological disorders, viruses, mental abnormalities...I confidently diagnose these all the time without a hint of validity. I diagnose myself, usually with cancer or a brain tumor, and my poor children have been everything from asthmatic to diabetic to autistic to dehydrated to just plain weird.
9. I am very possessive of my desk. I don’t like anyone sitting at it or using my computer. It’s got all my stuff and all my piles make sense and all the open windows on my computer need to stay open. If the kids walk in here to play computer games with their friends, I break out in hives.
10. I can get irrationally irritated at little things. For example, I can seriously almost hate someone for a transgression as minor (some would say, but I wouldn’t) as living on a corner lot and repeatedly refusing to shovel the snow from their sidewalks. I will get very bent out of shape if I'm calling and someone isn't answering either their home phone OR their cell phone. Or at someone who is driving really, really s-l-o-w-l-y when I’m in a hurry. Or at someone who smells funky. Or at someone who doesn't shower regularly, which I’ve found goes hand-in-hand with smelling funky.
Okay, so there you go. Most of my good friends won’t be surprised by these admissions, but you can see why I often google "personality disorders" to see if anything fits.
Now I hope you feel better about your own weird and weak parenting moments. And don’t any of you have deep dark secrets? I’d feel much better if you said yes. And it would be kind of juicy if you told them to me.