largeWelcome to my weekly Bad Mom Advice column where I attempt to answer all of your parenting questions as only I know how — with zero degree in early childhood development, but with the experience of raising four kids and not having any of them in prison – yet! Plus, I back all my advice on numerous scientific research, which may or may not include me making fun of your dumb kid behind your back and drinking a bunch of wine! Welcome to Bad Mom Advice!

I have two teenaged step-daughters. Their father and I disagree on something pretty big – what we buy for them vs. what they should have to buy for themselves.We don’t make a lot of money. Right now, the girls have fancier make-up, clothes, bras, panties, socks… everything! than I do. I don’t buy myself hair product because it’s expensive, yet the girls expect me to shell out for their spray gel so they can scrunch their hair sometimes. They don’t want cheap shampoo, and I’m tired of them saying, “I lost my eyeliner, so I’ll need some more please.”When I was growing up, I got the essentials. Every year, Mom would buy me school clothes with socks (plain white ones), panties (usually the 10-pack Fruit of the Loom), two bras (one white, one black – although the black one was a huge deal), and one pair of shoes. If I wanted something beyond that, I paid for it myself.If I wanted different shampoo than what my mother used, I had to buy it. If I wanted special hair product, I bought it. My mother would have laughed so hard if I had asked her to buy me makeup.So… who’s right here? I’m feeling awfully resentful, because frankly, I’m tired of sacrificing. Does that make me a horrible mom? (For the record, I would feel the same way with my own kids – they just aren’t old enough yet. )

 

(Please keep me anonymous! I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.)

Awwww, we will keep you Anonymous but we all want your husband’s Email address so we can give him the word on this! You are so NOT a terrible mom and I would be resentful too. It isn’t fair that the stepdaughters get the fancy stuff and you don’t. Why do you think Cinderella‘s stepmom is such a raging bitchface?
Target or drugstore gift cards so they can buy “fancier” stuff. The main difference in store brand versus high end toiletries is fragrance. And packaging. When my kids were little my husband took one of them to get their hair done at a salon. Like a 60 dollar haircut. FOR A CHILD. I lost my damn mind. Places that offer 12 haircuts see a LOT of customers, so they stylists get a ton of experience. A huge amount of their clientele is children. They are used to working with kids so they know how to cut kid’s hair. I would never bring my kid to an actual non-strip-mall salon to get their hair done. it’s stupid.I am an adult so I go to the nice salon where they give me a neck massage and Mimosas. Because I’m a grownass woman who works hard. I have some products I am weird about just because I really like they way they work on me, certain lipstick brands I like and foundation and all of that, but when I ran out of my typical Clinique face wash and my Philosophy moisturizer I bought good old Cetaphil at my local Walgreens and I LOVE it. I don’t think I will ever use anything else. It works like magic in removing my skanky old makeup and it costs something like seven bucks for a giant bottle. I keep hearing amazing things about E.L.F. cosmetics so I need to try those. They sell eyeshadow pallets for like three bucks a pop. Regardless, they should spend their own money on the bling. It’s that simple. It doesn’t make you a mean mom especially when money is tight.

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Toddlers are so stupid! It is so so easy to trick them. What you need to do is the muffin tin trick where you give them a wide array of finger foods all placed in cute little muffin pan liners so they think it’s some sort of buffet party. Will he eat a grilled cheese? All kids eat grilled cheese. Also, string cheese. If I kept parmesan in my house when my daughter was little she would eat the entire brick if I let her. Using teensy tiny cookie cutters to cut the slices into fancy shapes may help too. All kids at that age go through weird picky phases. As long as his doctor says he is thriving I wouldn’t worry too much. Offer a wide variety of foods and one day all he will eat are grapes and then you will have that to worry about! I also think giving kids choices and letting them help prepare their meals, even at a super young age, goes a long way towards helping them add more variety to their diets. Tell him he has to have at least three colors of things. Slice up some apples, sprinkle them with lemon juice, and stick them in a fridge container. Let him choose apples or carrots or sliced bananas in addition to his yogurt and bread. Never underestimate the power of dips. Most salad dressing can be cut with plain yogurt to make them less sodium-heavy and most toddlers love to dip veggies into things. Also, I notice with my kids that they will eat almost any vegetable if I roast it in the oven. They all hate Brussels sprouts but as soon as I roast them at 400 degrees with some balsamic and black pepper it’s like a giant tray of drugs. Same with cauliflower. I also never met a kid who didn’t LOVE caesar salad, I am not sure what it is but kids usually will eat that no problem. Especially when they add croutons themselves. I’m not taking about a traditional caesar with a coddled egg and anchovies, but just a simple one with lemon juice and garlic and store purchased dressing.   You could even buy one of those cheapy bag kits and let him add everything himself. He will be fiiiiine and one day be demanding you spend every minute baking him sea salt roasted kale like my monsters do.

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