"I need help with my children. They are driving me up the fucking wall."
Don't feel like a terrible mother when you scream at the top of your lungs because you just can’t take it anymore.
To give myself much more credit than I have earned: My grandmother has been successfully educating small children in preschool and kindergarten levels for more than 40 years, and I have (probably) accidentally picked up a few things along the way.
Many people who will not be named and one who will (because she doesn’t mind) call and text and Skype and whatever else for parenting advice.
They want help raising their children.
I am not a mother. I don’t have children. Well, I was married once, but failed miserably at being a wife.
I was pregnant once, but I had an abortion. Pro-/anti-choice arguments aside, I don’t have — and have never, technically, had — children.
But they still call. They write. They still ask me.
Sarah — CEO of Stigma Fighters, my business partner, and my best friend — calls.
Allie, I need help with my children. They are driving me up the fucking wall.
This is real life. Between being trolled on her brilliant book Three-Year-Olds are A**holes and the comments on her parenting articles, people give her way too much shit. She’s a good person and an amazing mother. She's successfully fighting mental illness.
But founding an international non-profit organization, working, and raising two children is not an easy feat, and everyone needs help sometimes.
Or maybe she just needs someone to listen.
She’s not the only one. Mothers of all walks of life — regardless of mental health status — reach out to me.
Why? I am a schizophrenic person living in a studio apartment in Los Angeles with two cats. Cats. What do I know? I have literally zero experience raising children.
I mean, I can tell you how to raise your children. I can make something up. Like: Stick to a good schedule! Kids need structure!
Do you think it would be effective? Could I raise my own children with the same ideals? Could I do it as easily as I make it sound?
No. Parenting is not easy. It’s really hard — even more so for single parents. I can only guess that parents are frustrated with being parents. I imagine it’s frustrating to watch people like me take a 2-hour nap whenever they want, when all you want is five minutes to go to the bathroom alone.
I'm guessing parents need empathy and validation, wherever they can get it. They need to know that everything isn’t falling apart because of them. They need someone to tell them they are not losing their minds and they are not bad parents.
That I can do. Anyone can.
I was at a feminist event recently where a speaker noted how women are expected to do it all — and how they are expected to want to do it all. Women want to raise their children and be a CEO of a company and have a five course meal ready by 6 PM, and they want to have a garden. But they can’t do everything.
So what do they do? They try anyway.
They call the people who don’t have children. Maybe it’s to get advice, maybe it’s just to live vicariously through the people who have the cats without the children, maybe they just need to hear they can do it.
I have given various pieces of advice to these mothers about parenting: Stick To The Schedule! (The Schedule is important to children so they don’t get in the habit of thinking they can get away with anything they want.) Speak To Them Like An Adult! (If that doesn't work, just take away stuff they love, that they need. Like food, if it comes to it. My mother did it to me, and I turned out all right... mostly.)
Obviously, I don’t have any qualifications to provide parenting advice. I’m not a parent. I’m not a therapist. I’m not a teacher. I won't even babysit my friends’ kids.
I’m just a human being. I read a lot. I’ve studied humanity, but by observation only. I’ve worked in customer service for 12 years.
But I usually know what people want to hear (my mother taught me that too). I usually know how to calm people down. I usually know what you want. It doesn’t even really matter what I say — I know it only matters how I say it.
Call me for parenting advice. Go ahead. You don’t have to necessarily do or transform anything I say into anything actionable. If your main purpose for calling me is simply to rant about how your children are driving you up the fucking wall, please do — even if it doesn’t make any sense.
Don’t feel like a terrible mother when you think, I wish I never had any of these damn kids.
Don't feel like a terrible mother when you scream at the top of your lungs because you just can’t take anymore.
You are not a bad mother. My mother was a bad mother.
Don't compare yourself to the PTA moms. Don't compare yourself to the Pinterest moms. (In fact, get off Pinterest entirely. Who does that? Nobody does that. I can’t even paint my nails one freaking color, much less two.)
Don't compare yourself to any mom.
It’s not you. You are a human being, and you’re doing a great job, because kids are annoying — and yet, you still got up this morning.
I don’t even do that sometimes, and I don’t even have kids.
And if you need to complain, just give me a call.