Erma Bombeck Writing Competition

DeAnne Writes

I won the Erma Bombeck comedy essay competition in 2020. It was a really bright spot in the middle of lock down. I don’t want to seem braggy so I won’t tell you the name of the judge. It was Bill Bryson. Coolest. Thing. Ever. I’m posting the essay two years later because what’s the rush?

2020 First Place – Humor – Global

“Not Everyone Should Have Kids” – Written By: DeAnne Spicer Todd – Altadena, CA, United States
My husband Don and I had “the talk” yesterday about whether or not to have children, and we decided that we weren’t cut out to be parents. The problem is, we should have had this discussion before we had three of them.
On a good day with my kids I feel like I’m the best parent in the world and should write a book imparting my great wisdom to the less-successful moms and dads.  On a not-so-good day, I lock myself in the bathroom crying, with a stack of parenting books and a bottle of wine.  Once, I forgot a wine glass but I was already cozy on a stack of towels so I used the toothbrush cup.

Our kids are eighteen years apart, so we’ve been doing this a long time – which our marriage counselor says makes us “experienced,” but we prefer the term “old and tired.“ Recently, on her first day of kindergarten, Addie was bursting with excitement while Don and I were trying not to burst into tears when we saw how young the other parents are. It’s not real good for your ego when you introduce yourself to the teacher and she says, “Oh great!  We love it when Grandparents get involved.”

I have to admit, though, watching my husband try to help Addie with her kindergarten homework at his advanced age is very entertaining. You would think he would have it down by the third kid, but he doesn’t. He yells that he can’t find the crayons, the scissors and glue are missing and that the instructions are unintelligible. Don graduated summa cum laude from a prestigious Southern university. Which part of color, cut, paste don’t you get?

Parents say things like, “It’s the hardest job you’ll ever love!” And, “It’s all worth it!”  The first one is certainly true, and I wouldn’t change being these kids’ mom for anything. But we don’t know yet whether it was all worth it, do we?  What if they grow up to be horrible people?  Andrew, our oldest, turned out to be a wonderful young man, but also an actor. No one will be giving me a prize for churning out another actor. At least he’s only hurting himself.

We wanted kids, and we got three great ones, and now, apparently, we are legally obligated to raise them.  I love them so much it hurts, and I would not like being in a world without them. I would, however, really, really, really like to be in a hotel room without them once in a while, and I would love Don to join me, just as soon as he finishes Addie’s homework.

About the Author:

DeAnne Spicer Todd is a former dancer and doula. (Not at the same time.) She has three children she is teaching to use their power for good and not evil. She also has a husband , two dogs, and three cats.