I recently heard a fully-grown adult talking about burning their mouth on a Hot Pocket because they just couldn’t wait for it to cool. They knew it was going to burn off a layer of skin from the roof of their mouth, but the anticipated goodness of that microwaved meat pastry was just too tempting to resist.
Been there. Done that.
It wasn’t a Hot Pocket for me, but a molten lava cake that I’m certain caused my esophagus to melt together for a solid three minutes. It was painful and scalding and absolutely delicious.
I knew better, but I chose to listen to my inner grade-school self and jam that boiling hot cake down my gullet because yummy. I tell my toddler all the time that she has to wait for her food to cool before she can eat it or she’ll get an ouchie. Did I take my own advice on this? Er, nope. I knowingly wolfed down fudge-on-fire.
My ability to ignore my own advice is a well-honed gift, and it's one I suspect I share with other moms. We dole out the warning statements, but sometimes fail to heed our own words. For example:
- "Drive carefully and pay attention." I give this typical driving advice to my teen children every time they get behind the wheel. I’ve said those words to my kids for years, but those years have also seen me hit two mailboxes, a bus, multiple curbs and the side of my garage. (Please note: I’m an excellent driver and none of those were actually my fault.) Another one: "Don’t speed because the cops are always watching." I say this and I mean it wholeheartedly. That being said, I’ve personally attended traffic school multiple times in multiple counties over multiple decades as the result of my propensity for speeding.
- "Don't be sneaky." I have to say this to the 4-year-old a lot, as she’s just figured out the whole if-a-cookie-gets-eaten-and-no-one-is-around-to-see-it-did-it-really-happen phenomenon. I, of course, want my children to become honest and forthright people, so I categorically discourage this behavior. However, if I’m eating the last Hostess cupcake and I hear Little Miss "Can I Have Some" coming down the stairs, I will not think twice about quietly moving to the laundry room and closing the door, where I can finish my preservative-laden treat in peace (and total darkness). Go ahead and call me selfish, but when it comes to snacks at my house, it’s survival of the fittest. I will eat an ice cream sandwich in the bathroom if I have to. After all, desperate times often do call for desperate measures.
- "We don't touch." When we go grocery shopping, my youngest seems to grow Velcro fingers. Even when she’s in the cart, her arms are extended and grasping at any object I steer too close to, which is why we avoid the glassware aisle. I utter those three silly words — encouraging her to see with her eyes and not with her hands — while at the same time touching everything in the vicinity with mine. I fondle the produce. I squeeze the bread. I nuzzle the chocolate, whisper to the ice cream and sometimes sniff the pages of the new release paperback books. In plain sight, I brazenly break my own rule.
I have a feeling that if I really wrack my brain, I can come up with at least 100 other hypocritical things I do in my mom life. But I think it was a wise mom who said, “Do as I say, not as I do.”
And if a wise mom said it, I think I’m okay, right?
Lynn Kirkle is a writer and lives in Omaha with her husband and five children. She writes twice a month for momaha.com, and can be found on Twitter @LAPainter.