Q. I can’t stand playing Barbies with my daughter; she begs me and I tell her anything but Barbies. Am I a bad mother?
A. Oh please…. Let me explain one of the glorious benefits about motherhood: We mothers get to mold and fashion these little people into just about anything we want (for a few years at least, until they find their own will, and then the fun is all over.) But until that time comes, you, as they say, are the man. You wear the pants, you have the say. And there are plenty of better ways to say, “I’m not playing Barbies!” without actually saying “I’m not playing Barbies.”
For instance, she says, “Mommy, will you come play Barbies?” You say, “Sure honey, just let me go into the front yard and see if I can’t spot those sweet baby kittens I saw earlier.” Now you know she’ll be there with you looking all over for those kittens (while Barbie will probably be out back catching a Marlboro). Remember to throw in some details, kinda off-handed, to keep her on the scent, like, “One of them was all white and looked like a fuzzy little snowball.” This can then be segued into running your errands, by exclaiming that the dry cleaners called and they too had seen some little lost kittens and maybe you should go and ask them about it, just in case they were the same ones.
Now this tactic will not last forever and eventually you will run out of reasons to look for the wee kittens at the grocery, the bank and Jiffy Lube, which is when you will have to fallback to Plan B. Start by comparing Barbie to things that are disgusting to your child or revolting in general. Like when you smell the outdated milk, “Ew! This smells like Barbie!” Or when she tells you about someone at school who was not nice to her, tell her that reminds you of when Barbie wouldn’t share, and so on. Bring Barbie along to witness any unpleasant experiences like booster shots and dentist appointments.
And if after all that, your precious angel still wants to play with Barbie, then go out and spend a ton of money on all things Barbie. A camper-trailer, discothèque, moped with matching convertible sports car, hot tub, Malibu Beach House, full flight attendant gear and accessories, I’m talking the works! And once you have blown through your entire 401(k) on all of that shiny, pimped-out plastic Barbie paraphernalia, she will no longer want to play with them.
This is where the whiskey comes in…
Jeanne Martin is a freelance writer, graphic designer and mother of two kids and an onery chihauhua.