The worst mom in the world isn’t helping her kid with their homework. Or reading her a bedtime story. Or making sure she brushes her teeth. The worst mother in the world is letting her kid go to the park by themselves. She is feeding her kid cookies instead of dinner. The worst mother in the world is paying her kid’s private school tuition late in order to get her own hair highlighted and then posting an update about it on Twitter. It’s a new breed of mom: the worst mother in the world. Women with children who dub themselves the “worst mom” in order to distance themselves from what they feel is an old-fashioned, boring, limiting descriptor, that of “good mom” or even just mom. Call it extreme detachment parenting.
The worst mom is usually a woman who hasn’t quite made peace with the idea of motherhood and what society has depicted as the image of motherhood: the soft laps and endless hugs scented with homemade cookies and the kisses placed upon skinned elbows. It’s like these women feel they have to parent from a distance; by feeding their kids shitty food and letting them stay out late on school nights and not brushing their hair they are separating themselves from the earnest, responsible boring moms who follow all the usual mom rules.
When you feel the need to proclaim that you are a “bad” mom or the “worst mother in the world” you are looking for validation that you haven’t been sucked into some sensible mom vortex of a caricature of a housewife or worse, your own mother. You are cooler, more interesting, hipper, sexier than other moms. Other moms are putting their kids to bed on time and folding laundry. Fuck that. You are way too cool for that. Most moms, we aren’t high-five-ing each other over how badass it is that we didn’t feel like making dinner so we gave our kids a bowl of Lucky Charms and an apple. We aren’t posting Twitter or Facebook status updates about it. We just realize we were tired and do it differently tomorrow. There’s nothing revolutionary or edgy about this. It’s just being a parent.
You worst mothers in the world, you aren’t that different from any other mom, except it makes you feel better about your identity to label yourself in a negative way so you can enjoy motherhood with a wink and a smirk. It’s almost dangerous to call yourself the “good” mother, because that means you have fallen into the trap of being something you feel clashes with your notion of feminism or identity as a woman, because a “good” mom isn’t the cool mom.
Trying to distance yourself from the other moms at the playground by dubbing yourself the “worst mom” is just a way of reassuring yourself that you haven’t lost yourself, that you are separate from your child and the image of motherhood that society has forced down our throats via advertising and family-friendly sitcoms. You may love being a mom. You probably love your kid more than anything. But by using this moniker, you are expressing victimization by what you feel you are expected to be.