October 29, 2010 08:00 AM

Thanks for welcoming our newest celebrity blogger, Marissa Jaret Winokur! The actress, who co-hosts the new CBS daytime chat show, The Talk, is mom to 2-year-old Zev Isaac with her husband Judah Miller. Winokur, 37, was diagnosed with cervical cancer 10 years ago, had a hysterectomy and later welcomed her son with the help of a surrogate. Though her road to motherhood had a few twists and turns, she faces the same joys — and challenges — as any working mom. In her latest blog, Winokur tells of accidentally locking Zev in the car — and feeling judged by other moms for it.

Courtesy Marissa Jaret Winokur

Bullying seems to be all the talk this month, so I want to talk about mommy bullies! It’s not like I drive Zev to preschool and there’s a mom waiting there to steal my lunch money or tease me about being fat … but the mommy bullies are just as scary and threatening!

The Club

I find that the “moms club” is a very, very exclusive club! It’s the club of mothers who wear skinny jeans and white button-down shirts and wash their hair twice a day! I do NOT, and mothers who do make me feel really bad. You know who I am talking about!

Just to be clear, my husband was very grateful I started working again — because it meant I’d wash my hair and change my clothes. (I live in “workout clothes” … and never work out!) If no tissue is in arm’s reach, I’d rather wipe Zev’s nose on my sleeve than let it run. How many of you have licked a pacifier or a lollipop clean if it falls on the floor before giving it back to your child? Yes, I am that mom…

I guess it’s more that I feel judged than bullied, but moms are really hard on other moms! We are all stressed out and at the end of our ropes. At any second of any day I feel like I could just snap.

We have to support each other’s tired nerves, I know that sounds so Pollyanna, but really … Mommy groups can be amazing, but haven’t you ever gone to one and felt like you are back in high school, totally on the outside of the “cool kids” club? I totally have!!

Courtesy Marissa Jaret Winokur

The Car Incident

Okay, so here’s what set this off: I pull into the parking lot of the preschool the other day with Zev crying his eyes out, not wanting to get out of the car. I grab his knapsack and stick my phone and keys inside it because I know I’ll need both hands to wrestle Zev out of the car.

I start putting his sneakers on while he’s still strapped into his car seat, with the door wide open and the knapsack next to him. A rude mom asks if I can shut the door so she can get out. I say, “One sec.” Then she said, “I’m in a rush,” so I say, “Oh fine!”

I shut the door and back away so she can get out. Then I hear “BEEP BEEP.” OMG! OMG! The car is locked!! I locked the doors before placing the keys into Zev’s bag! And now the bag with my keys and phone are inside with my son, who is already scared to death!!

“Call 911, call 911,” I start screaming. The secretary comes out and says, “Call AAA.” I just know that will take too long. I cry, “Call 911!” I start losing my cool … so now my son and I are both crying. I tell the secretary, “I’ll just break a window,” thinking that would make her realize how serious I am. It works! I hear the sirens coming.

By now, every mother is watching — NOT HELPING — watching me and my son as if we were a reality TV show and not living breathing humans! Mind you, I’m wearing what I wore to bed (leggings and a tank top), I have makeup on from the night before, my hair is tied back in a rat’s nest and I’m barefoot because my flip-flops are stuck in the car.

I could feel the moms’ judging looks piercing through me. One mom tried to make me feel better, but I think it was really just to get a closer look!

The firemen quickly free my son. We both can’t stop crying (though the hot firemen make us both feel better, and my son gets to see a real live fire truck up close)! The school faculty tell me I can’t leave because I’m too upset to drive. So I sit on the front steps with Zev and wait until they say I can go. I will say, one mom did sit with me to help calm me down.

When I talked about it with my family and friends later, everyone had a story about how it had either happened to them too or someone they knew! No one — I repeat no one from the school had a story to share: They all seemed to think that it was strange I was sitting there barefoot, crying. I think it would have been stranger if I wasn’t crying!

Anyway, here’s the deal: If we aren’t nice to each other as mommies, our children will learn from us and they won’t be nice to each other in school. It starts with us. (P.S. — the woman who sat with me to make me feel better? She has the sweetest daughter in the world and that’s not a coincidence.)

Appreciation and Advice

Note from last week: Thank you for all your support and comments! That was the first time I really felt like part of a “mommy club.” My balancing act has gotten worse and I need a sleeping intervention … maybe next week!

Okay wait, one more thing! Being Halloween week, I need advice. It took me weeks to get Zev to put on a costume. Weeks! But now that I got him in it, he won’t take it off!! I do not want to celebrate Thanksgiving with the Incredible Hulk. What do I do?!

Courtesy Marissa Jaret Winokur


— Marissa Jaret Winokur

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