Am I the only one that feels intense mom guilt at the dentist’s?? If I look at it rationally, I realize how weird this is. But I am here to admit one of my strangest, weirdest, ‘I know I’m crazy’ mom thangs: See, I’m already feeling a little panic. We’re at the dentist today. The tv is showing a drastic video about our mouths being the gateway to our body. “Moms, it is up to you”, the narrator says.
Me and the three kids are all here. I do it all in one fell swoop. Get it over with. And then I don’t make more appointments for about a year just to recover.
Mainly, I don’t like the dentist because we don’t have dental insurance. I walk in knowing I’m forking over a good $500-1000. But the mom guilt? That has more to do with me and my people pleasing, always win! mentality.
Our dentist is pleasant, but he doesn’t share my sense of humor. He takes teeth Very Seriously. I start to feel attacked when he asks what kind of toothpaste we use. And when I get forced into a corner and feel the need to defend myself, guess what I respond with? Jokes. Humor. Sarcasm. Hahaha, isn’t this funny let’s be friends and if you laugh, you won’t even notice what I did wrong. Haha!!
He doesn’t laugh at my jokes.
We end up just staring at each other a lot. Like this:
…………… Um……… So…….. Yeah. Colgate.
So I present my kids in all their plaqued glory. He brings me in to consult. “I see a cavity.” For some reason this turns into this in my mom brain: ‘By the depth of this cavity, it is obvious to me that you did not prepare a healthy meal two weeks ago, on the 19th. Did you feed them fruit snacks? Juice? Candy? Because I CAN TELL and it will cost you. Looks like you all had a GREAT Halloween, huh??’
Sometimes I’m so engrossed in a book, I don’t even notice if my ten year old flosses or not. And he knows… oh, he knows.
Why this bothers me, I’m not sure… except that for us people pleasing humans, it feels so like you’re being judged. And for the most part, we in polite society do not judge others directly to their faces. If my kid misbehaves in public, you might judge their misbehavior, but you don’t sit me down for a consult. ‘ I saw that your child did not share. Have you not read him The Giving Tree yet? Did you once let your kids fight it out because you were watching 24 and didn’t feel like getting up?’ When else do we present our kids to someone to show the evidence of the cause and effects of our parenting?
When it comes time for my own appointment, I hate the fact that I’m vulnerably sitting there with my mouth gaping open, the bright light shining down on all my defects (not just on the teeth – my whole defective face.). I hate that I have no joking defense, because I can’t talk. I want to get an A, I want to pass the exam. I want to be liked!! (One of my most wonderful moments in a doctor’s office is when I saw my records open and it said that during my labor with my baby, “patient was compliant and cooperative.” Win!! Gold Star on my chart!!)
What if it wasn’t just our teeth? What if we were sitting still, letting someone shine a light on our defects? ‘Hmmm… I see you have a little problem with gossip. Oh, and over here, I see a hole where you should have been kind and not yelled at your husband…why don’t you use this whitener to remove that stain? How long has it been since you did a good deed?? I notice some buildup of selfishness over here… we can remove it, but it will cost you. And we’ll see you in six months to see how you’ve improved.’
Trust me, I get that this is a weird way to think. But I want that gold star on my chart. I want a gold star on my chart of Parenting. I want no-cavities-what-a-good-mommy seal of approval!
I hope he likes my molar joke.