The other day, in the heat of an argument, my teenaged daughter called me a hypocrite. Firstly… I was thrilled with her use of the word “hypocrite” and had a moment when I wanted to pause the debate and challenge her to spell it! Secondly… I had to stifle a grin because it was clear that she felt this accusation would both surprise and offend me. Silly teenager.
Mothers are hypocrites. It’s in the job description.
The dictionary tells us that a hypocrite is “a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that they do not actually possess.” Yep… that is me. And I will proudly wear an “I am a hypocrite” t-shirt, should one turn up among my birthday gifts.
In fact, when it comes to my daughters, allow me to count the ways:
- I insist that they eat breakfast (because breakfast is the most important meal of the day) while I stand in the kitchen clutching my second cup of coffee and eating… nothing.
- I make them lather SPF 45 on every piece of sun-exposed flesh while my sunscreen-free legs “get a little colour”.
- I have a firm policy about how much TV time is “too much” but I take my laptop to bed and binge watch Netflix.
- I complain about every minute they spend on their iphones while I take mine to the bathroom and rest it on my nightstand while I am sleeping.
- I have a fridge full of cut up fruit and hummus that I push at them constantly, but my #1 snack is full-fat ice cream and my #2 snack is nachos with salsa (eaten in bed while binge watching Netflix and checking Instagram photos – simultaneously).
- I passionately promote lifestyle choices that I did not make at their age (and thank the Sky Gods that there were no iphones in the “olden days” so there is limited evidence of how I behaved in my youth).
- I passionately promote lifestyle choices that I am not making at my age (Yes… I have chastised my adult daughters for drinking… while I am drinking. Don’t judge me!)
- I scream at them for being too loud in the house. And the irony of this does not escape me… nor does it keep me from doing it repeatedly.
- I preach self-acceptance while the bottom drawer of my dresser is full of Spanx, the bathroom cabinet is full of anti-wrinkle creams, and the calendar marks my monthly appointment to have a hairdresser “touch up” my roots.
“Do as I say, not as I do” is one of the most basic mother-mantras.
I have smoked, drank to excess, jay walked, played hooky from school, quit good jobs, stayed too long at bad jobs, made poor dating choices, and generally screwed up in more ways than I can count. My job, as a mother, is to make sure my children screw up less than I did… or at least come up with new, creative ways to screw up!