“Supermoms” and the “Hot Sauce Mom”

You know those women, the “Supermoms”? They’re the ones who work all day, go home and tend to their kids, make home-made brownies for snack at soccer and host those candle parties on the weekend, all with a smile plastered on their face? Yeah… turns out, they’re full of it.

A University of Washington graduate student did a study and found those “Supermoms” are depressed. Wanna know why? Because they can’t do it all! We can’t! None of us can! Today, I worked the old 9-5 and then picked up my kids. Thank the Lord their after school care lady fed them dinner (she fed me too, God love her.) By the time we got home, it was past 7. They go to bed at 8. I did the math: I got 53 minutes with my kids tonight. Swell. And, most of those 53 minutes were spent rushing around, trying to get them to get their homework checked, their lunches made and their pajamas on. It’s friggin hard! I did read them a book, which partially squashed the mom guilt, but still. I don’t even work full-time, and I’m still kind of depressed. You just can’t do it all! By the way, Stay at Home Moms were more depressed than working moms. There’s just more to do… and no work release where you can acceptably swear in front of other adults…. Well, that’s my theory anyway.

The concept that we are not perfect brings me to the second subject I want to discuss: “Hot Sauce Mom.” The jury began deliberations today in the trial of Jessica Beagley, the mom being publicly crucified for disciplining or abusing her child by pouring hot sauce in his mouth and making him take cold showers. Although this case has been going on for some time, I’ve been reluctant to discuss it until now. For one, I’m a journalist and I’m not sure it’s appropriate to toss my opinion out there. However, I do write a mom blog, so, as a journalist, I’m eager to hear what you think.

Here’s my beef with discussing this case. I don’t want to get in to who did what or why. What I do want to say is, we’ve all “been there” with our kids. But, for every parent “there” has a different meaning. I like to call it becoming “Crazy Mom.” It’s when you’ve been pushed to the point of no return. You need a time out, but you just can’t get one. Even the best parents break some time. Now, I’m not saying this to excuse her behavior. Nor am I condoning or condemning what she did. What I am saying is this: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” (John 8:7)

If you have never, ever gotten to the point where you’ve done or said something to or around your kids, good for you. Good for you for being able to lie so well to yourself. I bet every single one of us can think of some traumatic thing our parents did to us when we were young. Some are more severe than others. Abuse is abuse. Yes, I get that. But let me ask you this: Were you ever forced to put soap in your mouth as a kid? Do you think your parents should have been brought up on charges?

My best friend’s son has disciplinary issues. We talk a lot about her struggles with her son. The common theme I hear from her and most of my friends who have frustrations with a child that “just wont listen” is a child who knows how to “push your buttons.” These kids know what to do and often do exactly what will drive you to the “Crazy Mom” tipping point.

No wonder moms are depressed. It’s hard to parent. And when you do parent, there’s always someone there to judge you. If you spank your kids, someone calls the  cops. If you’re too lenient, people complain then too. Once, in Wal-Mart, my middle child was being a total brat. (It’s okay to call your kid that every once in a while, when they deserve it.) I was choosing to ignore his behavior, something that’s recommended in several parenting books. A man in a Cowboy hat walked by and said very loudly “I’d spank that kid if he were mine!” Thank you sir, for your unsolicited advice.

It seems everyone knows how to parent each other’s kids. So, instead of letting each other get depressed or crazy, why don’t we just help each other out more?

Tell me. I’m interested… what is your take on these two stories?

Do you feel depressed at times?


 Do you ever feel like you lose your cool with your kids?


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Amy
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 09:13:11

    You know, I just read on MSNBC that 90% of mothers judge each other…alarming! But I know I’m guilty of it too. 😦 However, I watched at least a snippet of the Jessica Beagly video, and I didn’t bat an eye at what happened. Hot sauce? It’s a FOOD product, right? A cold shower, so what? She was not beating him, AND she was trying to get help from the Dr. Phil show on parenting him. Seriously, until you’ve had a child with behavioral problems, I don’t know if you’d truly understand the complete desperation you feel while trying to nip those behaviors in the bud.

    We have a challenging child. He lies constantly about silly little things, and ocassionally about major stuff. He has stolen money and things from our friends & family members. He’s off-task and in “la la land” all the time. ADD meds have been suggested repeatedly by schoolteachers and administrators, but we’re trying to find an alternative solution. Parenting him feels all consuming at times, and yet, we have other children who want our attention as well. It’s emotionally exhausting. I’d definitely say parenting a difficult child (and probably an easy one too) can be frustrating, humiliating and depressing at times.


    • Alaska Grown Revolution
      Aug 23, 2011 @ 17:10:39

      🙂 Absolutely, fabulous!

      Thank you Amy for being so honest and I completely agree with you. I’ve also been dealing with a son, who has always kept me on my toes, but has recently stepped down the “bumpy road”.

      Be strong sister, this too shall pass! :o)

      Side note: I’ve been doing a lot of reading on the effects of food on ADD kids, it makes a lot of sense, you might check it out.


    • Alaina
      Aug 23, 2011 @ 21:45:11

      Sounds like my son! I tried all the “natural” remedies I could find and when none of it made any significant difference, his counselor suggested Intuniv. It is non-stimulant and has made a huge difference for my son. After several years of being at my wits end and resisting the idea of medication, we havee finally found a happy medium. And, guess what? We discovered that underneath his hyper, too busy to listen, driven to distraction, ADHD fog, there was a sweet, polite, and very likeable little boy desperate to come out! He still has his moments, but they are further and further between! (Sorry for the unsolicited advice!) 🙂


  2. Wendi
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 16:56:31

    I don’t know a single mom who hasn’t lost their cool every now and then.

    And to Amy, I was a “no medication mom” for my ADHD child, until I almost lost my job for being called to the school too many times to deal with my child, I am happy to say he is taking medication now, and he hasn’t lost his personality, it just tones down the out bursts. It is less exhausting now to help him deal with life and changes!

    All I can say is it is sad that this woman is being prosecuted for being a parent and trying to deal out discipline in the best way she knows how, but I will also say that the Dr. Phil show and others like it are equally guilty of sensationalizing these things. Did I not read that she had sent an earlier video and they basically told her to “spice it up a little”?


  3. Chalease Linderman
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 17:10:32

    This to me is a huge cry for attention is probably the stupidest thing I have seen. She didn’t do it out of “frustration” she did because she wanted attention. Period. I am only 20 years old and am a mother of two now, my husband and I both work…and guess what? Of COURSE we get frustrated. We were and are young parents, I’ve yelled, I’ve spanked my toddler a couple of times…and it does nothing. When they’re little, they’re innocent. They push your buttons yes, but that’s kids for you. If you don’t like it…put a gate up in their room and leave them in the crib while you cool off outside.

    I’ve been there, I stayed at home with my babies, I understand the frustrations. However, they didn’t ask to come into this world, that was the parents’ doing…whether intended or unintended. Either way, that child doesn’t deserve to take cold showers and to have hot sauce poured down their throats, it’s terrible. What if the kid got hypothermia from the cold shower? What if the kid had an allergic reaction to the hot sauce? This is my frustration with PARENTS they don’t THINK before taking ridiculous measures like this.

    It’s challenging having a child, I have lost my cool and YELLED. But I’m not as creative and as twisted to think about doing that to my child, that’s close to torturous. It’s mean. If you need to discipline your child, I’m not against spanking when necessary, TAKE AWAY things they want and they like, they’ll learn real fast. I did and so did my brothers and sisters.

    This is something I would expect from a woman that has mental issues and a low tolerance. Then again, your kids didn’t ask to be here so suck it up like the rest of us do.


    • Amy
      Aug 23, 2011 @ 20:57:49

      Precisely why I said a person may never understand the level of frustration unless they’ve actually experienced a child with behavioral issues. Parenting a baby or toddler is very, very different than an older child with issues. There are children who don’t care if you take things away…children who will actually laugh at you for trying, tell you they never really liked that activity anyhow, or bring you bags of additional items they’ve clearly cherished, and say “take them, you can’t stop me”. It’s very hard to understand if you only have experience with the “average” child. I have no idea what the Beagleys are experiencing with their child, but my gut reaction is compassion rather than judgement. Their family is clearly struggling. My fear is that watching this experience will probably make other struggling families afraid to ask for help.


  4. Tara
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 19:34:08

    It’s like we grew up in the same neighborhood & our parents knew eachother & we were raised together…oh, yeah we were! I feel you & hear you! Thanks!


  5. KalleyC
    Aug 24, 2011 @ 23:13:30

    I think that we’ve all been there to that point. How far we take it of course depends on how far we’re pushed and how fast we can calm ourselves down.

    I thought the purpose of the video was that she could get some help (sorry for not following the story closely).


  6. Momx5kidz
    Aug 24, 2011 @ 23:53:20

    I am the Mother of 4 adopted Special Needs children. Their special needs include behavioral challenges. As parents we need to know when we have cannot cross the line. I have done numerous things, as a parent, that I am not proud of. But, this woman’s child is diagnosed with RAD (reactive attachment disorder) That means the child has never, and might never, bond with anyone in their life due to events that happened in early childhood. She has now succeeded in making his problem even worse.
    There are terrific therapists in Anchorage that deal with RAD, both for the child and for the parent. I knw because one of my children has RAD, along with other diagnoses. She was disruptive to our family on a daily basis. When she turned 18 she chose to live on her own and has minimal contact with us. That hurts, as we did everything we could to help her. But, as a parent, that is the commitment we take on when we adopt (or give birth) to a child.
    I am not judging this parent as we ALL have made our mistakes but she did not need to go on Dr. Phil to receive help, when it IS available here in Anchorage.


  7. Lee
    Sep 01, 2011 @ 00:49:35

    Good topic. As a father, who has twice been a ‘stay at home parent’, it was challenging. Overall, I’m glad, happy I did it. My children weren’t perfect but neither was I. Neither were my parents or theirs. I once sat next to a DFYS person on a flight. In a discussion about home visits… she said, “I never met a parent that didn’t think what they were doing was out of the ordinary.”

    I think people do the best they can with the tools given to them. My parents were kind of awful parents (they still are). I’ve learned to forgive them for what they not know.

    I’m not judging Beagley but I can’t help but wonder what was going through the kid’s mind (terror, fright… anything?) What was she teaching her child about punishment and parenting? When punishment evokes scared feelings I think the punishment is lost.

    I don’t know. I don’t have the answers but what Beagley did made me feel uneasy at what her next level of punishment might be.


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