R ina has just won the “Mother of the Year” award. She made the contest (by comparing herself to all the moms she knows), entered the contestants (all the moms that cross her path), and selected the winner (herself). In an interview with Mothering Press, Rina describes the experience:

Reporter: Rina, tell us what prompted you to create the “Mother of the Year” contest.

Rina: I’ve seen how people treat their kids, and quite frankly, it’s caused me great concern. There are a lot of parents out there who don’t care about their kids’ health — (I’ve seen mothers giving their kids lollipops!) — and parents who have clearly neglected to discipline their children at all.

For example, I once saw a mother holding a baby while her two preschoolers were running around her in circles, chasing each other — I don’t know how she could have let that happen! In any event, I decided to create the contest.

I selected contestants without their permission or knowledge, creating a random sample of mothers of all heights and weights. From there, it was a simple matter of observation and scoring.

Reporter: Can you share your scoring system with us?

Rina: Certainly. I gave or subtracted points for mothering actions that positively or negatively affected a child’s behavior, emotional wellbeing, physical health, social skills, and cognitive development.

For example, I subtracted a point if I observed a child fighting with a sibling. Why wouldn’t a parent teach her kids to get along? And if I witnessed a mother criticizing her husband in earshot of her child, I subtracted a point for emotional wellbeing. After all, kids need to see their parents having a loving relationship, don’t they?

When I see a mother pouring ketchup on her child’s meal, I subtract a point for negligence of physical health. I subtract a point when I see a child who doesn’t say “thank you,” to the person driving car pool. What kind of mother doesn’t teach her child basic social skills?

And finally, I subtract a point when I see a parent tell a child when to go to bed. This prevents the child from using his own cognitive skills to link cause and effect — that when he goes to bed late he’ll be tired the next day. How can we expect children to learn when we do all their thinking for them?

Reporter: I see. But I’m just a little confused: When do you actually give points?

Rina: Well, that’s the problem — it’s very hard to find a mother who earns points. However, I did once give a lady a point for telling her child to apologize to the little boy he had screamed at.

Reporter: Oh, that’s excellent. A good mom teaches her child to take responsibility.

Rina: Yes. Even though that other kid stole her son’s toy, smacked him in the face, and called him names, her son had no right to be rude. He had to learn the important social skill of saying sorry.

Reporter. Ahem. Well, Rina, can you tell us where you learned everything you know about parenting?

Rina: I’m an avid reader — I think I’ve read every parenting book that’s ever been published! I also take numerous parenting courses. And I’ve learned quite a lot from my own parents — mostly what not to do. My parents were very dogmatic. They didn’t let us make our own decisions and they had a million suffocating rules. We had to do everything their way — or else! From this I learned that a good parent absolutely must be flexible and never impose rules.

A good parent must never insist on the child doing things a certain way or at a certain time or place to allow the child to become the unique individual she was meant to be. These are just the basic rules of good parenting.

Reporter: That’s very interesting. I’ve heard people say that parenting is the hardest job on earth. What do you think?

Rina: Oh, I disagree completely; it’s very easy once you know how.

Reporter: What about your own children, Rina? How have they turned out with all of your excellent mothering?

Rina: Oh, my first child is still in utero, but she’s doing great. I’ve certainly given her every advantage and I’ve been the best possible mom. I look forward to meeting her in person very soon!

Reporter: Well thank you Rina for a fantastic interview and congratulations again on winning the “Mother of the Year” award! (Originally featured in Family First, Issue 581)