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Carolyn Castiglia I'm a 'Bad Mom' — but there aren't really any 'good' ones

If mothers oversell our horribleness, it’s because of the idea that we are selfless, sexless beings who live to clean
Image: A woman stocks the fridge
Was June Cleaver really ever June Cleaver?Bettmann Archive via Getty Images
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A lot of people tell me I’m a great mom, and I get where they’re coming from. I spend a lot of time with my kid doing stuff other than homework. Plus, I’m fun: I let my daughter dye her hair rainbow colors and now I call her My Little Pony.

Also, I’m cool — so cool that I know kids don’t say “cool” anymore. They say “niiice”. Oh, also, I’m nice! As in kind. Niiiiiice.

But most importantly, I’m a Bad Mom™. I swear – in front of my kid, I laugh loudly in the company of other adults about ribald things. Sometimes I even leave my house at night!

I’m so bad, when “Bad” by Michael Jackson plays, and he asks, “Who’s bad?” I know he’s talking about me. So bad.

Of course, I’m not alone in my badness. The Bad Mom™ movement that has been building for the last decade shows no signs of slowing any time soon. From the hit film franchise “Bad Moms,” to the scores of mommy blogs that glorify rebelling by — gasp — drinking wine, to popular parenting podcasts like One Bad Mother, being a Bad Mom™ is the new good.

Bad Moms everywhere compete to see which of us is the naughtiest by comparing notes, like, One time, I just didn’t make lunch. Can you believe it? I actually let my teenage son make his own sandwich. I’m the worst.

Bad Moms are the best.

Image: A woman hangs laundry
Time to take out the laundry.Getty Images

If Bad Moms tend to over brag about how politely horrible we are, it’s because 55 years after “Leave It to Beaver “left the airwaves, we’re still fighting the June Cleaver-esque expectation that mothers exist as completely selfless, sexless beings who live to clean and cook. (Until our partners want to have sex, that is, then we have to be filthy little animals... who are left to clean up that mess at the end, too.)

Websites like Pinterest fuel this throwback lore, with photos of annoyingly creative and pristine homes, their kitchens showcasing jars of homemade jam stacked in an ombré berry pyramid, fading from black to blue to rasp to straw. Every woman understands, implicitly and explicitly, this is the kind of Zen domestic shrine she’s supposed to magically manifest, but a Bad Mom™ doesn’t care. A Bad Mom™ leaves clean dishes on the counter overnight. Wow.

Allowing mess to remain completely unresolved is the ultimate Bad Mom™ move, worse than getting sloshed until you have to liquid-poo at 3 am in the middle of a Walmart parking lot. It’s worse than forgetting that your kid had a half day at school, forcing them to sit in the office for an hour (with nothing but the 30 non-educational games you allowed them to download on their cell phone to keep them occupied) while they wait for you come pick them up. It’s even worse than abortion.

Willfully ignoring clutter is such an anathema to perfect motherhood that an entire industry has been created around organization alone. Did you know that if you leave a pile of clutter in your home for over a year, the cast of “Law & Order: SUV” (Slovenly Unclean Vice) locks you in The Container Store overnight to think about what you haven’t done? And do you know what a Bad Mom™ does in The Container Store? She messes up the padded hangers so they’re not all facing the same way on the rack. Nasty.

I’m such a Bad Mom™, I’ve actually left dirty dishes in the sink for up to three days and allowed laundry to accumulate for two whole weeks... before taking it to the laundromat, washing every piece strictly according to the instructions on each tag, and air drying anything that might shrink before folding it all like sushi the Marie Kondo way. Disgusting, I know.

Sometimes — God, I don’t know if I want to tell you this — sometimes I even let the mail pile up, only looking at the stack of bills once a month... and then I pay them all immediately. But I only ever pay the minimum amount. I owed Lane Bryant $167 last month, but I only paid them $27. Suck on that, good momz. I’m a Bad Mom™ with bad credit, baby! You can’t beat that.

I’m so Bad that I’ve let my kid stay up until 11 on a school night. I told her she could sign my name on a math test (after she asked me if she could). The other night, she told me she was only going to eat half the Brussels sprouts I gave her, and I said fine. Fine?! To a halfsies-only vegetable negotiation?

Do I need rehab? Because being this Bad is exhilarating.

Be careful, though, fellow Bad Moms. Remember, you want to be Bad, but not that bad. There are limits. Yes, you can escape for the weekend and smoke weed with your girlfriends at a music festival, but you can’t serve your kids pizza three days in a row unless you want them taken away from you.

Carolyn Castiglia is a writer and comedian who has appeared on Comedy Central, VH1, MTV2, Lifetime, fyi, HLN and more. She lives with her 12-year-old daughter in Brooklyn, NY. For more from her on being a Bad Mom, check out BADMomLife on Facebook.

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