The Ninth Reason I’m A Terrible Mommy…


If you’ve been reading for more than a week, you’ll know I hate rats.

In fact, after one particularly heated debate, I’m sure the only reason I stayed married was because then I would have a husband.

Who would deal with the rats.

Rats cause me to behave in ways very different from my normal methods of operating.

I once parked my car in our garage. My kids were about four. Immediately I heard a ratcheting noise that scared me. I looked up and looking down at me was a beady-eyed rat.

Its’ pale-pink, ribbed tail loping down towards me.

My heart started racing, my breath panting. I tried telling myself it was more scared of me than the other way around. But we both knew that wasn’t true.

We just stared at one another. Neither moving.

For what seemed an inordinately long time.

The only way to escape was to go underneath and my irrational brain just knew, just knew, it would jump on my head (hey, I read the first chapter of The Rats by James Herbert, I know what they’re capable of.)

In the end, I leant in my car, never taking my eyes off the beastie, unstrapped my four year-old, made a lot of noise and dashed for the house.

Thereafter I added a ninth reason to my post 8 Reasons I’m A Terrible Mommy.

I sent my kids into the garage first.

I figured their innocent, oblivious banging and crashing as they made their way to the car and climbed into their car seats would be enough to send the biggest and bravest rat into the furthest corner of the rafters.

There they’d go, chattering away, Dora The Explorer backpacks on their back, excitedly readying themselves for preschool, the library or park, whatever was on their four-year-old menu for the day.

Unknowing that lurking in their murky midst was a terror too dreadful for their mother to behold.

They were protecting me.

I only entered the garage when both kids were in their seats, thereby not doing my job.

I wasn’t putting myself between them and danger. I was consciously, shamelessly, putting.

My. Needs. First.

I wasn’t proud of myself.

Today I was due to walk with a friend. We normally have breakfast but she wants to lose some weight, so a walk it was.

Then she had to cancel because she had a sick child. My advice to her was in the form of one my favorite mantras:

‘Drink tea, eat chocolate.’ It’s a sure thing.

It won’t help with the weight loss but it will help her feel better.

It will soothe and calm and nurture her frazzled mommy mind when the going gets tough.

And you, too. Be kind to yourself today. Don’t fight on too many fronts at the same time.

And if you feel guilty for (shock, horror, oh my!)

Putting. Your. Needs. First.

Remember how I sent my preschoolers into an evil rat den.

That’ll make you feel better. 😉

Are you a terrible mommy? Or am I on my own? 😉 What do you do to be especially kind to yourself when the going gets rough? Let me know in the comments!

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary E. Ulrich
February 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Where are all these rats coming from? Do you live by a river or something?

Alison, you did give me several good laughs. Though I wouldn’t show this to your husband!
Now repeat after me: “I am a good mother!”
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Alison Golden February 11, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Our house backs on to open space, Mary. Once a year they come and cut down all the vegetation and trim the trees. That year it seemed to send a rat (I think it was the same one) scurrying towards the house. This was five years ago and I haven’t seen one since. Thank God.

Oh, my husband takes it all in good humor. Just as well.

I am a good mother…I am a good mother…I am a good mother…;-)


Mary E. Ulrich
February 12, 2011 at 4:54 am

How about a post on the 10 reasons you are a GOOD or EXCELLENT Mommy.
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Alison Golden February 12, 2011 at 9:34 am

Ten!? Gosh no, it would take me too long. Maybe two….;-)


Galit Breen
February 11, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Excellent read, Alison! You are so not a terrible Mama. And the rats? Eeeewww the rats! I think you should let your kids read the post and get their reactions to being sent to brave the unknown. They might like the idea of having taken care of YOU! 🙂


Alison Golden February 11, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Thanks, Galit. I showed it to Sebastian. His response was to demand an edit on the Dora backpack. It’s embarrassing now they’re nearly 11. Apparently. 🙂


Margaret Almon February 11, 2011 at 8:35 pm

I have never seen a rat in person or in my personal space, and it sounds primally scary!
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Alison Golden February 11, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Oooh, you’re lucky. It is primally scary. They should be primally outside! 🙂


February 11, 2011 at 9:12 pm

I don’t know what I’d do if I saw a rat. We had mice a few years back and I thought they were adorable…but a rat, not as cute.
I have an irrational fear of snakes (like I won’t even look at a picture of one or watch one on tv), but I’m fairly certain if one was anywhere near my daughter I’d find a way to get her away from it. Hopefully before I passed out. If there was ever one anywhere inside our house…I would move. Far far away. Really far.
So, yeah, you probably are a really bad mom 😉
(But I’d personally take the rat over a snake anytime!)
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Alison Golden February 11, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Tell you what, Jenn? If I see a rat, I’ll call you and if you see a snake, you call me, OK? 😉


February 11, 2011 at 9:25 pm

That works for me! So here’s the code. If you get a call and all you hear is blood curdling screaming on the other end…you know to come running with your best snake catching equipment! Or is that too cryptic? 😉
And if I get a call that sounds like toddlers making clanking sounds while attempting to bludgeon a rat with a Dora The Explorer back pack, I’ll come running with a decorative box, some darling little rat outfits, and a book of “Names for your new pet rat”, and carry the creature away whilst singing Zipideedodah!
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Alison Golden February 11, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Not too cryptic. The bloodcurdling scream will give it away. Oh, and you don’t need a book of ‘Names for your new pet rat,’ it’s already got a name: Pesky.

It’s a deal! 😉 We’re set.


Green Bean
February 11, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Oh that was worth a good laugh! We mommies do need to take care of ourselves – don’t we? Whether it is having our boys unknowingly scare off rats or dragging their sick selves through an estate sale after the doctor’s appointment because, heck, mom wants to have some fun too! (And yes, that is what I did.)
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Alison Golden February 12, 2011 at 9:29 am

Good for you, I hope you had a cup of tea and some chocolate when you got home, though. If you’re short, I could always help you out. I have a drawer full of both for just these kinds of situations. Just say the word! 🙂


February 12, 2011 at 7:33 am


You’re a good mom with a serious rodent problem. Yikes!

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Alison Golden February 12, 2011 at 9:26 am

Hi Beth: Both these two instances took place a year apart and the last was 5 years ago, I haven’t seen one since. That’s a good thing. A very, very good thing. 🙂


SuzRocks February 12, 2011 at 12:18 pm

I just got the heebie-jeebies. Kids would think that the rats were cute furry animals. So you were really just introducing them to cute little furry creatures. Sort of like the petting zoo.

Where you get the bubonic plague.

My husband is deathly afraid of spiders and I’m sure he’ll use your technique of spider/rat riddance when we have kids.
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Alison Golden February 12, 2011 at 5:18 pm

You know you’re probably right, they would have thought it was cute. Just as well they never saw it then because they think you feed animals at the petting zoo…


homschlr4ever February 12, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Alison, You are so not a terrible mommy. I’ve lost E. four times before she was five. One day, I’ll tell the stories and then you will thank your lucky stars that your boys have you for a mommy and not me. Fortunately, the girls have survived until teenagehood, although now I would really like to lose them sometimes.
As for rats, one time I hid behind a baby gate with my son (he was 3 months old at the time) because there was a lizard in the house and called a friend to bring her son to come get the lizard, as if lizards don’t climb. Everyone laughed for months over that. I’m not fond of lizards either. Maybe it’s their eyes or their scratchy little feet. I don’t know Godzilla, Ben take your pick.
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Alison Golden February 12, 2011 at 5:12 pm

LOL about the losing! I lost my kids all the time. I’m the mommy whose kid wanders off in the store and I don’t even blink. Although I was mortified one day when the lady who gives out the free cookies wandered the shop with my son looking for me. They found me blithely standing in the pharmacy line. I was *not* going to give up my place in that line. As soon as she disappeared, he ran off again.

Hey, we could have a competition – who has the worst mommy stories – the winner could drink those pudding shots you were talking about on your blog!


Dawn February 12, 2011 at 12:42 pm

The only mothers I know who haven’t at one time or another thought they were terrible moms are the ones I worry about. : )

It’s just like they tell you on the airlines… In an emergency, put your oxygen mask on before putting your child’s on or you both might die.

Sometimes it’s absolutely necessary to put your needs ahead of your child’s. I suffer from hypoglycemia and sometimes, by the time lunch or dinner have arrived, if I haven’t eaten right earlier in the day or if I’ve overexerted myself I feel woozy. My sons have asked me why I get to eat before they do or snack when they can’t as I’m preparing dinner and I just have to explain that I get to have a snack because I need it whereas they’re just too impatient to wait for dinner.

I like your blog a lot. I found you via the SITSGirls 3DBBB.
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Alison Golden February 12, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Hi Dawn!

I always eat before my kids. I don’t like cooking and it’s a huge effort for me at the end of a long day to turn around to do that. Doing it on an empty stomach is murder for me so I eat earlier to give me the fuel to do this difficult task, then I just sit at the table with them when they and my husband eat. I know it’s not perfect but it’s the way that works for me.

Thanks for stopping by!


Marcia Francois February 14, 2011 at 4:22 am

Funny you should ask because just yesterday, my hubby told me I’m TERRIBLE!


I happened to say (while we were having a coffee after a movie), “I can’t WAIT for the children to go to sleep tonight” —–> my 19-month-old twins

What I meant to say was… “I can’t wait for the time to sort out my jewellery” as I’d just bought a jewellery organiser 🙂


Alison Golden February 14, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Well, really, looking forward to your kids going to bed. How terrible! What were you thinking? 😉 I’d be pretty excited about a jewelry organizer too although my pillow would come a close second. 🙂


misty February 15, 2011 at 5:48 am

You are so funny!

Honestly, and this is horrible, I have a dog who gets sick at her tummy a lot. It’s been since birth. i also have a SEVERELY bad gag reflex… For years, my husband would clean up the dog’s vomit, unless he wasn’t home. Then I would. i would also, as a result, be cleaning up my own. It was a mess… She was five (FIVE!!!) when he taught her how to clean it up well so I wouldn’t have to. she’s 11 now and everytime she cleans up dog vomit, I still feel insanely guilt ridden.
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Alison Golden February 26, 2011 at 9:22 pm

That is pretty bad, Misty…;-)


Glynis Jolly
February 16, 2011 at 12:16 pm

I got a better story for you.

My first date with the man who is now Hubby, I CONNED my son (14 at the time) into going with me because I was afraid to go alone. Try to beat that one.


Alison Golden February 16, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Glynis, I can’t. 🙂 OK, I have to ask. HOW did you con him…? 🙂


February 17, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Oh, you will not be eligible for the “Crack Mom Hall of Fame” for some time, Alison.

Hmmm…rats. If not for their creepy tails, they would be cute:).

I was immediately reminded of an incident a couple summers ago. Our house was being painted around the same time I fed feral kittens. Well, one morning, I went outside to fetch the paper, and you guessed it, a cold “present” in the front yard.

Now, I have a knack for handling unsavory situations—freakish really, but dead rodents just unnerves me…

Would I have sent my unwitting twins in first (highly likely)…I mean, I’m no expert in child development, but I’d bank they are more adept to handle the rat glare, than me;).
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Alison Golden February 19, 2011 at 11:27 am

What do you mean I won’t get in the ‘”Crack Mom Hall of Fame?” Waahhh, I was banking on it. And, I have to ask, what did you do with the dead rat?


Windmill Tales February 21, 2011 at 8:45 am

Hi found you on BMB .

Think you may like my latest post about super hero mummies!


carol thomas March 12, 2011 at 5:21 am

following your page on twitter,great to read about less than perfect mums.not much experience of rats used to have lots of mice though,they were very brazen!


Alison Golden March 18, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Hi Carol:

I can’t say I’m too keen on mice either although I’d take a mouse over a rat any day and yes, they are brazen. I had one run under my bed once, many, many years ago. Have a great day! 🙂


Nigel Tanner March 18, 2011 at 3:49 am

“It’s” is an abbreviation of “it is”.


Alison Golden March 18, 2011 at 8:16 am

Thanks for pointing that out, Nigel. I’ve corrected it. Have a great day!


Renee September 10, 2011 at 9:22 pm

OK wild rats are way different then the wonderful domesticated ones! I always say I can’t wait for my kids to be adults so they can tell me all the awful things I did while they were growing up. It always helps to have siblings, so when your telling your parents all the horrible things they did, you have someone to back you up. Your parents never remember the really horrible stuff!


Alison Golden September 13, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Is that so, Renee? I guess not. I still can remember some cringeworthy moments but it’s true, a lot I have forgotten. 🙂


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