People often ask me what I used to do before I started my new job as Full-Time Mom. Well, let me just tell you what I used to do. I used to buy make-up and shampoo not sold at grocery stores. I used to eat at fabulous restaurants with other actual talking human beings, and never once measured my self worth by the amount of food I could convince someone else at the table to eat. I never smelled someone’s butt, evaluated the consistency of someone’s poop or performed highly scientific experiments complete with a hypothesis and control group to determine what foods made it that way.
I used to actually leave the house to watch Cardinals games, a few times in the luxury box with OzzieSmith, and go on regular business trips to Las Vegas, never once considering how many boxes of diapersthe money I just lost at the poker table would buy. I used to work at an advertising agency and it was glorious.
Part of my job involved selling in advertising campaigns to clients, and there were several techniques weemployed to do this. One of these techniques was commonly known as “Good Cop/Bad Cop.”
It went something like this: We knew the budget was $300,000 to shoot a commercial, but we came up with a really great idea that would cost $400,000 to produce. In the middle of the presentation ourcopywriter would scream something like, “There’s no way we’ll be able to do this for under $500,00! Ican’t work under these conditions!” Then he would shake his fists in the air, light the table on fire and runout of the room. After the meeting I would lean over to the client and whisper that I thought I could cut some corners and negotiate with the director and get it down to $400,000. And they were happy. Which made me happy.
I always got to play the part of the Good Cop. Everyone likes the Good Cop. And I will work until I am lying cold and headless and dead in the middle of a freeway to make someone like me. But that all changed when our daughter Ellie was born last year. The minute we brought her home I sprouted a thick black mustache and patrolled the perimeter of the house twirling my billy club while my husband fed her pieces of his jelly donut behind my back.
For the first time in my life, I had to play the part of The Bad Cop. I have to brush the tooth, clip the fingernails, feed the vegetables, force the sleep, chisel the food off theface, apply the sunblock, practice the alphabet, remove the fingers from the outlets, make sure the toysare educationally sufficient, and routinely take away the favorite toy – the key chain pepper spray.
Nick, on the other hand, swoops in with armfuls of jaw breakers and Vietnamese fire crackers and with the most violent and naked shows HBO has to offer blaring in the background gets to be the Good Cop. Ellie knows the minute he walks in the door at 6:00 that all bets are off. She looks at me like, “Now that the fun one is here I’m going to hang out with him because you SUCK! Also, you should know that he will cuta b*tch if you ever try to feed me that green sh*t again!”
Then she makes a beeline across the room and establishes a 12-hour death grip on his pant leg. God help my children if I ever die – their growth will be stunted at 4’11 because they’ll start pooping outpieces of their own spines from surviving on a diet of nothing but Cheezits and pancake syrup.
Don’t get me wrong – I totally understand and respect the role of the Good Cop. Parenting is an extremely delicate balance of power. Let that power slide too far in either direction and before you know it your daughter is using the money she earned from showing her boobs to the neighborhood boys to buy a rifle which she will use to snipe dogs from her bedroom window.
All I’m saying is that it sucks to always be the Bad Cop. Which is why yesterday Ellie and I blew off hernafternoon nap and drove to Ted Drewes where we shared an extra large apple pie concrete for lunch. Hey, even Bad Cops go off duty every once in a while.
Hannah Mayer is a 12-year St. Louis resident and Mom to 13-month-old Ellie. She’s new to the Full-Time Mom; retiring from her 10-year career at an advertising agency in January. Her personal blog can be found at www.sKIDmarking.com. Follow her on Twitter @ The_sKIDmark
Photo from Shine.yahoo.com