Day 1: ANOTHER Self-Imposed 30-Day Writing Challenge

What’s the deal?  Why another 30-day challenge?  I made the 2016 New Year’s Resolution to complete my first manuscript by the end of this year.  Despite many red ombre cup sacrifices on the altars of Starbucks and Barnes and Nobles, no progress has been made.  This book just isn’t writing itself.

Why not?  Well, let’s be blunt.  Because I’m a slacker who needs a swift kick in the rear.

I’m not sure what it is about 30-day challenges, but they definitely motivate me to write.  I’ve had this character walking around in my head for a while and over the holiday, she temporarily evicted Charlie Weaver and Shivani Roy.  I am not certain about her name (although I have one idea), but I AM certain about what she is.

She’s a Sanctimommy.  

????  What the hell is a “Sanctimommy?”

According to Wikipedia, a sanctimommy is “a portmanteau of two words, sanctimonious and mommy. The word is a colloquialism used to refer to a person, usually a female, who has very opinionated views on child rearing and presents them upfront without any sense of humility.”

Last week, I actually wrote out and posted one of the scenes that has been swirling in my head for a while.  (“A Sanctimommy Visits The Mall.”)  I received positive feedback from friends, family AND my husband.  This is big, since my husband, a nonfiction reader, isn’t really into the genres that I write about.  He actually laughed.  A few friends asked me if I had more stories like this.

This is the first time anyone has actually asked me for MORE stories about one of my characters……

I want to use this challenge to write out as many “Sanctimommy” stories as I can over the next 30 days.  I don’t know if this will be anything, but I feel compelled to follow it.  So here goes:

Over the weekend, as I patrolled a neighborhood on the other side of town, I spotted several minivans parked beside the curb of a house.  There was a sign in the yard.  It said “Open House.”  I pulled my minivan over to the side and observed the driveway with interest.  There were several families walking into the house.  Many of them had small children.  I couldn’t spot any glaring errors in parenting, but I stepped out of the car.  I was certain that if I went inside, someone would need my help.

I unstrapped my precious guppy from his car seat and gently placed him in my carrier.  I did a few squats on the sidewalk to make sure he was safely secured before walking across the street and inside the house.  At first glance, the foyer appeared somewhat clean.  But when I looked up, I spotted a single cobweb thread hanging precariously from the chandelier.  The owners obviously felt that hygiene wasn’t important.  Inwardly cringing at the filth, I reached into my bag to assure myself that I had plenty of hand sanitizer and antibacterial liquid soap for later.

Determined to save the other unsuspecting families, I followed them into the bowels of the house.  A woman was speaking with a couple when I entered the kitchen.  She interrupted her conversation to smile and greet me.  “Hi, I’m Kathy.  Feel free to look around.  I’m going to help this family upstairs for a moment, but I’ll be right back if you have any questions.”  I nodded and she left the room with the other family.

I nervously searched the kitchen for more errant cobwebs.  It appeared tidier than the foyer, but when I spotted the jars of baby “food” on the counter, my senses went on high alert.  If parents are lax about food, they’ll be lax about other things, like safety.  I immediately walked over to the large island in the middle of the kitchen.  Sure enough, the first drawer I pulled opened easily.  It was filled with utensils.  I gritted my teeth at the sight of all those uncorked forks.

I quickly unzipped my diaper bag and rifled through it.  With a sigh of relief, I pulled out a large back of corks and placed it on the counter.  I grabbed the tray of forks and dumped it on the counter.  Grateful for my nimble fingers, I methodically corked each fork and placed it back in the drawer.  That last fork was corked just as the real estate agent returned from upstairs.

Kathy watched me place the last fork in the drawer.  She tilted her head to one side and asked, “Uh, what are you doing?”

I scowled at her and slammed the drawer closed.  “Do these people have children?” I demanded, crossing my arms.  I couldn’t keep the anger out of my voice.

Kathy’s eyes widened in surprise.  “Who?  The owners?”  When I nodded, she looked past me to the jars of baby food.  “Yes,” she replied slowly.  The uncertainty on her face was apparent.

“Do you have any idea what’s going on in this house?”  I frowned at her, and slammed my hands down on the counter.  “Any idea at all?  Or are you too busy making your sale?”

“What are you talking about?” Kathy asked, raising her eyebrows.  She remained where she was standing.

“This is an ugly situation, Kathy,” I opened the drawer, pulled out a corked fork and waved it at her.  “A very ugly situation.  I have friends at the CPS who would be very interested in what’s going on over here.  Very,” I stressed the last word so she would understand the gravity of what just happened.

“Miss, I don’t know who you are,” Kathy began, as she held up her hands in front of her.

“Have you ever heard of the CPS?  It stands for Child Protective Services,” I told her, and put the fork in my diaper bag.  I was proud of my own foresight.  The CPS could use it as evidence in this case.

“Hey, you can’t take that,” Kathy frowned and took a step towards me.

I pulled my phone and aimed it at her.  “Come any closer and I’ll include you in my report as an accessory to their crimes against children,” I said evenly, as I held up my phone.  “What did you say your name was again?  Kathy what?”

 

 

A “Sancti-Mommy” Visits The Mall

Earlier this week, I took my little one to the mall for our daily morning stroll.  As we passed the playground, my gaze fell upon a small girl child.  She was wandering around like an aimless urchin.  Maybe she was an aimless urchin.  I don’t know.  I didn’t have time to dwell on that possibility.  One of her feet was bare and there was a vending machine only ten feet away her.  Before chilled air could wrap flu tentacles around the little tyke’s foot, I rushed towards the playground.

The only adult in the play area was a woman sitting on a bench.  Her eyes were on a book instead of her child.  She looked up as I approached.  “You’re doing it wrong,” I told her kindly when I spotted the missing sock next to her.  I grabbed it and quickly placed it on the small child’s foot.  There was a large diaper bag beside the woman.  I took the initiative to rifle through it and pull out a hat.  I gently placed it on the little girl’s head.  My chest swelled with pride as I walked away.  I could hear the woman’s expletives of gratitude echo across the playground.  After all, a covered child is a happy child.

Buoyed by my random act of kindness, I searched for more opportunities to help strangers with children.  Fortunately, the mall was crawling with unfit parents.  I spotted a pair of them pushing a wailing baby in a neglect buggy.  Happy children do not cry in public places.  Mine never do, so this couple clearly needed my help.  I tightened my arms around my precious guppy, before marching in their direction.

They stopped talking when they saw me.  I knelt down beside the baby and buggy.  “You poor little hugless child,” I murmured in a soothing voice, gently stroking his hair.  “I’m sure someone loves you.” Neither person moved when I unbuckled the little boy and picked him up.  The infant stopped crying and looked at me.  “Perhaps your child would cry less if you carry him,” I suggested, before handing him to his mother.  The couple stared at me.  The woman’s cheeks flushed crimson with embarrassment.  “It’s okay,” I assured her in a confident voice.  It masked how uneasy I felt leaving the hapless mite in their care.  “Now that you know better, you’ll do better.”  The man sputtered something unintelligible as I continued to patrol the mall.

My mind whirled as I scanned my surroundings.  So many people needed my help.  But who would reap the greatest benefit from my intervention?  Suddenly, the stench of cinnamon hit me like a brick wall.  Of course.  The food court.  What weak-willed parent can resist the lure of the nugget?  I pulled my scarf over my nose and headed in that direction.

I wasn’t surprised by what I saw.  Rows of tables littered with trays of garbage.  My stomach sank.  So many parents were shoveling GMO’s into the open mouths of their unsuspecting children.  I walked past a few gluten peddlers before spotting a dire situation.  A helpless adult male sitting beside a shrieking child.  I looked around, but there wasn’t a mother in sight.

My pace quickened.  The man obviously needed help to defuse the tantrum.  The little girl stood next to the table, red-faced, fists clenched, howling at the top of her lungs.  I couldn’t blame her.  She was probably protesting the nuggets.

“Hi Sweetheart,” I said softly, kneeling beside the little girl.  The man looked startled, but then visibly relaxed when I winked at him.  He know that I was there help.  “Why are you sad?”

“No eat,” the little girl stamped her foot and shrieked.  “Me no eat.”

“You’re such a smart little girl,” I cooed, as I tousled her curls.  “You know that your daddy is trying to poison you.”

“What?” The man sputtered, while the little girl stuck one unclean thumb in her mouth.  Her eyes lit up with interest.

“Well, I’m going to help you, sweetheart,” I smiled at her and picked up their trays.  “Let’s put this where it belongs.”  I walked over to the trash can and threw both plates in.  I pulled out my hand sanitizer and squirted some into my palms.  “Garbage belongs in garbage.”

The man gaped at me, while the little girl smiled and clapped her hands.  I grinned back at her.  Sometimes, children know better than their parents do.

Parenting is hard for some people.  It takes a village for these people to raise a child and I am a part of that village.  Because when you know better, you do better.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  This is satire.  It is fiction.  Please do not verbally torpedo me for the actions of a fictional character.  Thank you.