Family, Self

I Want Kristina Kuzmic To Be My New BFF (And You Should Too)

Photo: Instagram
Kristina Kuzmic Knows How It Feels To Think We're 'Bad Moms'

I know none of you have ever heard anything like what I am about to say before, and I am aware that the radical nature of this statement may shock and possibly even scandalize you, but it has to be said.

Parenting is hard.

Yes, yes, I know. No one has ever spoken about that before online, but you know, I'm kind of an edge-walker. What can I say...

OK, fine. Maybe you already knew that. Maybe.

And maybe you already knew that these little mini-figures in your house we refer to as children can be as surprisingly sneaky, devious, and ill-mannered as they are adorable, heart-warming, and lovable.

Parenting is just a bitch, no matter who you are, what you do, what your marital or relationship status is, what your financial status is, how old or young or healthy or unhealthy or anything-else-you-can-possibly-think-of-you-are.

This is not rocket science. We KNOW this and we accept this as a universal truth.

And yet somehow as we parent away day in and day out in our own teeny tiny spec of the universe, we seem to forget that it's not just ourselves roughing it out there in the child-rearing wild.

I have been a married stay-at-home mom, a married working mom, a divorced self-employed-entrepreneurial mom, and a divorced employed work-at-home mom — and I still haven't scratched the surface of experiencing the full spectrum of parental situations that exist in today's society.

If we have nothing else in common (but the love of our children, of course), we seem to share a common daily frustration that nothing we do as parents is exactly right.

So while I don't know what it's like to be so many other kinds of moms (or any kind of dad), I know that when I come across a parent whose publicly expressed thoughts about parenting validate the internalized daily struggle I fight with myself, I want to hug them and invite them to be my very best friend in the whole entire world for the rest of our lives.

Which is why I'm dying to send half of a BFF necklace to a woman I've never met named Kristina Kuzmic (except for the whole stranger coming across as a psycho stalker thing).

For those of you who don't know her, according to her website, Kristina Kuzmic "was chosen from 20,000 applicants and crowned the winner of Mark Burnett’s reality TV competition: Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star. The competition involved numerous grueling challenges, such as writing and producing television segments, and interviewing celebrities including Suze Orman, Gayle King, Arsenio Hall and Oprah Winfrey herself."

Following that win, she hosted a reality show on the Oprah Winfrey Network called The Ambush Cook and then went on to establish her YouTube channel, where her satire, “'4 Reasons Women Should NEVER Breastfeed in Public,' went viral and was featured by various media outlets including The Huffington Post, The Daily Mail, and HLN." 

The re-married mom of three, who lives in Southern California, now has a quickly growing following of more than 3,000 on Twitter, nearly 20,000 on Instagram, close to 50,000 subscribers on YouTube (more than 8 million views!), and close to half a million fans on Facebook!

I first came across one of Kristina's videos myself while scrolling through my own Facebook feed like a zombie on a weekend without my kids at home.

Man, I can relate to everything she says here SO damn hard. Just watch:

In this particular vlog, she shares the tremendous guilt she felt as a recently divorced mom struggling not only to raise her kids but simply to survive.

Speaking in a simultaneously heartbreaking and soul-warming manner, she lays out the detailed proof she gave her therapist in testament to the fact that she had become one of the world's true 'bad' moms: making meals from a box for her kids and sticking them in front of cartoons so she could cry alone in her room.

I can see how to someone who hasn't been in a similar position these concerns might seem trivial. Wah-wah first-world problems, right?

But I've been that former superstar mom who had to trade organic meals and playtime up the wazoo for mac and cheese,  and I know far too well how painful a change that can be.

It isn't that my children never had mac and cheese when I was married, and it isn't that I didn't let them watch TV back then, and it's not that I think badly of any other parent who makes a conscious choice to do either those things (or many of the other things so many of today's breed of uber-parents turn their noses up at).

What struck me right to down to my core was the way she held back tears as she recounted her therapist's response:

"Wow, Kristina. You are an amazing mom ... You are at your rock bottom. You are in a really bad place, and you still make sure that the needs of your children are met. You still take the time to go buy that box and boil that pasta. You are so depressed, but you don't want them seeing that all the time, so you stick them in front of their favorite cartoons— so they can laugh and be entertained — while you hide in the bedroom and cry by yourself. That is so selfless."

It's hard to be a mom or dad of any kind. I refuse to engage in the war of who has it worse. So believe that I'm not comparing anyone or anything when I say this.

Being a divorced parent is cluster-f*ck of just about everything that can possibly be hard in life.

Especially when you are surrounded by mostly still married and never-married friends and family who can't possibly understand the depths of your exhaustion and look at you with pity, concern, or judgment even on the days you pretty-much-almost-mostly have it coming back together.

And especially when you have an ex who hates you with a passion and makes "co-parenting" sound like an ugly code word for continuing abuse, and who makes every effort to just get along harder while using your determination to survive against you.

And especially when you are a female and more effort with better results in less time in regard to home life, parenting, and self-care are expected of you by the schools, the doctors, the courts, the others, the everyone elses, and even by your children themselves. (Sorry men. You're awesome, but it's just true.)

Oh, right. Did I mention the children?

As they get older — but not old enough yet to understand — those munchkins you devote everything to can reflect back to you, in their words and behavior, every worst thought you've ever had about yourself. Their hugs are the best you've ever had, but their words can be maddeningly brutal.

That was happening in real time at my house when I scrolled upon another one of Kristina's videos.

In this one she explained:

"For those of you who struggle with math ... 100 percent of my children are angry with me right now. And you know, what? I don't care ... Because I am not their buddy. I am their parent. They are angry with me because I parented them ... My child's well-being is more important to me than my child's opinion of me. And honestly, if my kids like me 100 percent of the time, I'm probably failing at parenting."

Well, hallelujah and call me a pumpkin!

That's exactly what I have been trying to say to myself, knowing in my heart of hearts is the golden and forever truth. But telling yourself the truth and believing the truth from yourself are two remarkably different things.

Parenting theories and methods and books and magazines and experts and how-to's and styles abound. As long as that remains a profitable market they always will.

What will never go out of style in my personal book of parenting-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-based-on-some-truly-reliable-info-but-who-the-hell-really-knows is a fellow parent in the trenches who is willing to look the unforgiving smartphone camera in the eye and say it like it is. At least, like it is for them. Because it's different for all of us, and that's what makes it so beautiful when we find someone speaking directly to our wavelength.

So, thank you, Kristina, for being the sage I need in this moment.

(And if you want to order that friendship necklace with me I will totally split the cost, plus shipping!)