Need Guidance? Have Questions? Call 1-800-NUT-E-MOM!
By Kelley Cunningham
Read more: whats the matter with mommy, humor, parenting essays, parental help line, parent support groups
“Welcome to the Parent Help Line. Dial one for our automated menu options. Para el español, marcar por favor dos. Dial three at any time to speak to an operator. Dial four to speak to an operator who has children and knows what she’s talking about. Dial five for an operator who moonlights as a babysitter on New Year’s Eve.
You’ve dialed one. Welcome to the Parent Help Line Automated Menu.
Are you currently pregnant?
Dial one for yes and planned, dial two for yes but unplanned, dial three for yes, unplanned, learning to accept it but spouse is still hostile, dial four for no, thank God.
You’ve dialed four. You are not currently pregnant. Is this correct? Dial one if this is correct, dial two if you’re a complete idiot.
You’ve dialed one. Do you have children?
Dial one for yes, dial two for no but you’re just trying to be helpful/annoying to someone who does, dial three if you’re a mother-in-law looking for guilt trip material to lay on your clueless daughter-in-law who knows nothing about raising your grandchildren.
You’ve dialed one. How many children do you have?
Dial one for one child, dial two for two, dial three for three, dial four for four, dial five if you have unintentionally adopted the neighbor’s kid who shows up every night at dinnertime, dial six if you’ve never heard of birth control, dial seven for the number of a good urologist who performs quickie vasectomies.
You’ve dialed three. You have three children. Is this correct? Dial one if it’s correct, dial two if you’re still in denial.
You’ve dialed one. You have three children. Accept it. Are all of your children still living at home?
Dial one for yes, dial two for no, dial three for one or all living in the basement even though they’re over thirty, dial four if they’ve moved out but still come home on weekends to do their laundry and store their crap in your attic.
You’ve pressed one. All of your children are still living at home. Are you okay with this?
Dial one if you’re okay with it because they are all under the age of eighteen, dial two if you’re not okay with it even though they are all under the age of eighteen, dial three if you’re okay with it at naptime and bedtime but not dinnertime.
You’ve dialed one. Is the nature of your inquiry related to health, education, behavior, or something else? Dial one for health concerns, dial two for education, dial three for behavior, dial four if something else, dial five for all of the above, dial six for a listing of the liquor stores within your zip code.
You’ve dialed four. Your inquiry relates to something else.
Dial one if your inquiry relates to the Nintendo vs. PlayStation question, dial two if it relates to Barbie Dream House assembly confusion, dial three if it’s about your husband absentmindedly using your frozen breast milk baggies to ice his sore knee after he runs, dial four if you are feeling unloved and unappreciated, dial five if you can’t find your child’s library book and it’s due today, dial six if you’re out of cold cuts and there’s nothing to pack for school lunches, dial seven if you want to avoid getting the puppy your kids are begging for, dial eight if you’re a breastfeeding mother who isn’t experiencing the religious ecstasy everyone told you that you would as you nurse, dial nine if you still can’t figure out the goddamned car seat, and dial zero for more options.
You’ve dialed five…you can’t find your child’s library book.
Have you tried the back of the minivan under the Derek Jeter Super Pro T-Ball Trainer Set? Dial one for yes but didn’t find it, dial two for no, didn’t look there yet.
You’ve dialed one. Well then, how about the playroom?
Dial one for yes, of course you did, dial two if you don’t have a playroom, dial three if your playroom consists of your entire house/apartment, dial four if you just realized your child returned the book three weeks ago.
You’ve dialed one. OK, smartypants, have you looked under the couch cushions? In the kitty litter box? The deli drawer in the fridge? The roof? Under the mattresses?
Dial one if you’ve looked everywhere, dial two if you haven’t, and dial three if you are ready to say screw it and just pay the fine.
You’ve dialed three. Good choice. Problem solved.
Is there anything else we can help you with today?
Dial one for yes, dial two for no, dial three if you want to run away from home.
You’ve dialed two. There is nothing more we can help you with at this time. You think you’ve got it all under control then, dontcha, lady? Well, you’ll be back! HAHAHAHAHA!
Please assist us with a few more questions to help us serve you better.
Do you realize that your children have set fire to the living room sheers while you were on the phone?
Dial one for OMIGOD! HOLY SHIT! Dial nine-one-one for the fire department.
Wait! Wait! Thank you for using the Parent Helpline Automated Menu!"
Need more Kelley? A hefty collection of her great essays, What's the Matter With Mommy?, is now available on Amazon.com.
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