WWhen billionaire supermom Kim Kardashian tried to give her seven-year-old son Saint a special treat – taking him on a private jet to London to watch an Arsenal match with his friends – every mother who has ever tried too hard to please will instinctively know what happened next.
As he is escorted to the best seats at Emirates Stadium, inevitably accompanied by a Kardashian family film crew, the seven-year-old declares in a very whiny voice: “This is the worst day of my life…”
If you want to experience all the thankless horror for yourself, this is the highlight of the episode “London Here We Come” in the series’ final episode. Kardashian.
And the child’s thoughtless disregard for the mother’s efforts will undoubtedly outrage many parents who have ever had to organize games. They will claim that he is a spoiled child, that his rich parents, Kim and Kanye, are to blame, but not me. I know exactly how Kim feels when your child says the phrase “worst day ever.”
It’s a dagger into the collective heart of motherhood. Yes, Kim’s “treat” of unimaginable proportions – not all of us are billionaires. But if you live to please your kids, when they don’t appreciate big gestures—or truly epic ones, as in Kim’s case—it’s a real kick in the ass.
I recently took my two children, seven-year-old Lola and five-year-old Liberty, to a five-star hotel in Cornwall overlooking rugged cliffs and breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. In our expensive family room, the kids had bunk beds. Even packing my bags before the trip was a highlight for me.
Like Kim, I told my children about all the perks that awaited them: booking a pony ride rather than meeting Arsenal’s top players. And, as Kim said of her trip, it will be an “amazing bonding experience.” Sometimes it’s not about how much things cost.
But once we got there—or was it during a five-hour drive that somehow took seven? “All they wanted was to go home.” It was raining and somewhere in west London some friends were having a trampoline party which they missed. Over dinner, they frowned and muttered about “the worst day ever,” three little words usually used to describe washing your hair or having to get up for school.
It creates the same feeling of despair as when they open the Christmas gift you’ve been looking out for forever – in my case, Baby Annabelle’s crib – and burst into tears, saying, “This is the wrong gift,” because “this is the wrong gift.” “T rock and play music.” Or you buy them a jumper and they throw it on the floor and say, “It’s itchy.”
My first reaction is always anger – frankly, why should I bother? – followed by a desperate pang of mom’s guilt for not getting it right.
I remember one time for my birthday I ordered an amazing Peppa Pig chocolate cake. But my daughter was crying hysterically, saying: “Mommy, why were you wrong? I hate this! I don’t like vanilla frosting. I wanted chocolate. All I wanted was a chocolate birthday cake…” She was only two years old. I let the dog rush at him, snatching a good chunk of it.
In my experience, it’s not often that a surprise turns out to be completely useless – it’s just that in the child’s mind the slightest thing has violated perfection, and he struggles to overcome it. In Saint’s case, his date in London was “ruined” by poor packing. (“I forgot to bring the red Arsenal Saint T-shirt that we bought especially for this trip, which I, of course, left at home,” says Kim, berating herself as I do. “I’m the worst.”).
As Saint cries into his arms, Kim tries to calm him down as only a mother disappointed in herself can: “Oh, buddy, life is so hard…” she says.
I understand. It’s no different than keeping your child’s favorite teddy bear. A nightmare. What mother hasn’t been there? We may not have Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah on hand to sort it all out by handing out red Arsenal shirts to everyone, but like Kim, all any mum wants is happy kids.