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Author: toni

~ 04/24/09


Welcome to HOT TOPICS. A new (I just thought of it today) feature where we’ll look at mommy issues. You know how I do reviews of BAD MOMMIES IN MOVIES? Today we’ll look at a BAD MOMMY IN REAL LIFE. Or is she?

Have you heard about this mommy from New York, MADLYN PRIMOFF?

She recently got so fed up with the bickering of her 2 daughters (ages 10 and 12) that she pulled her car over and put both girls out at the side of the road 3 miles from their house! Somehow (the details are sketchy) the 12 year-old got back in the car. The 10 year-old, found walking down the side of the road by a passerby, ended up at the local police station. And mommy, well she ended up in BIG trouble with police and Child Protective Services. So much so that mommy was arrested for child endangerment and her kids were taken away from her for a while. (Her visitation has just been reinstated by a judge).   

My first thought when I heard this story — there but for the grace of Excedrin go I.

Oh please. Like YOU were never tempted to do the same thing! Yeah, the difference is, you NEVER did it. But maybe you pulled the car over and threatened. Or maybe you actually opened the door but never actually PUSHED them out. But admit it…you were THIS CLOSE to having the bottom of your blinged-out flip flop/Franco Sarto leather ankle bootie from Nordstrom make contact with the bottom of a petulant, smart-mouthed screaming kid.

It’s happened before. I’ve heard stories of this happening even in the finest of families. I won’t name names but when a certain someone (Randy) was a kid, his dad left him behind in a Thrifty Drugs because he was being a brat. Of course his dad came back a couple of minutes later. Randy doesn’t seem worse for the experience. Well, except when he wakes up in the night screaming, “Don’t leave me, daddy!”  Just kidding.

Yes, I know. THIS IS NOT A JOKING MATTER. A child’s welfare is at stake!

Look. I’m not making excuses for Madlyn Primoff. I am ALWAYS, without exception, in the corner of the welfare of a child.  This comes from my own personal experiences in my childhood in which the adults around me were more concerned with what they wanted than their responsibility to their children. And I’m a believer that once you have kids, your #1 responsibility is to them. Otherwise, DON’T HAVE THEM!

But I started wondering, what’s the difference between the mommy who fantasizes about doing it (me) and Madlyn Primoff? What could have happened to drive her over the edge like that? To actually say “OUT” and drive off? Here’s one scenario:

Madlyn Primoff is an attorney in New York State. So she’s a working mom, with a high stress job. Maybe she’d just finished up a long day of listening to bickering in a courtroom. A day of banging her head against the glass ceiling where men with half her abilities make twice the pay because they “have a family to support” (yeah, that thinking is still out there). Where, once she hit forty, she gained the nickname “Dragon Lady” because she doesn’t put up with crap (40 plus male attorneys who do this are called “Attorney of the Year”). Where she is derided for having the nerve to leave the office at a decent hour so she can have dinner/spend time with her kids. (This despite the fact that she gets to work three hours earlier than the male attorneys, so she can make her billable hours, but they don’t know it because hey, they’re still in bed having an early morning romp in the hay with their wives who don’t have to or don’t want to work).   So maybe after this long day she picks up her kids who are…yikes! TWEENAGERS! who are in training for the hell years of high school. Who are clueless as to mommy’s growing migraine and growing regret that she ever got them iPhones which she is convinced is the reason they are the spoiled, ungrateful kids she now sees before her AND who continue to bicker despite her desperate begging to get them to stop. Now I don’t know if she has a husband. But what do you want to bet that even if she does, she’s still the one responsible for getting dinner together, overseeing homework and bedtime routines and doing a load of whites so everyone has clean underwear tomorrow!  Toss in the fact that she’s 45 and likely perimenopausal and therefore beset by raging hormone fluctuations the likes of which she hasn’t experienced since…well, EVER.

And SNAP! Two kids end up at the side of the road.

Then again, maybe she’s just a really, really BAD MOMMY!

I mean. She didn’t come back! Even if you actually got to the point of shoving your kid out the door and even driving 100 feet. You’d come back, right? She didn’t. My personal opinion –which hey, if you’re reading my website, there’s no way you can avoid – is that while I can totally understand a mommy being driven to this action – YOU CAN’T DO THIS TO A KID! Well you CAN. And some of us likely have. Or something similar. But, I think we all agree. YOU SHOULDN’T. No matter how much your boss yelled at you. No matter that the hot flashes are so bad that you want to rip off your bra and throw yourself into the nearest drinking fountain. No matter that the whining and complaining and the fighting make you want to contact Madonna’s lawyers to ask if she’s interested in adopting a couple of white kids from the suburbs.

Now, would I ever be driven to do this? I don’t know. Ask me again when my kid hits adolescence.  In a moment of anger, we probably all have it in us. Remember, though we want to be, mommies aren’t perfekt.

But the bottom line is, there are just too many dangers in leaving a 10 year-old alone at the side of the road. And then there are the psychological ramifications. You’re basically telling your kid with your actions that they aren’t worth sticking around for. When they become too much trouble you’ll dump them. Even if that’s NOT what you mean and you truly love them with all your heart. 

So, if you’re ever feeling like you’re going to “PULL A PRIMOFF” (and hey, I know I’ve been there) here are some things you can do to stop yourself. 



  1. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that YOU ARE THE ADULT in this situation. Right, that never works. Okay then…
  2. YELL! So you’re not setting the best example. But it might scare the crap out of your kids and you’ll feel better getting it out.
  3. GO TO THAT ZEN PLACE in your head.  Imagine that Corona commercial. Or Gerard Butler breaking down in front of your house. He has no cell phone reception, has to borrow your phone. No one’s home but you, you just had your legs waxed AND he’s on your celebrity sex list so you’re totally in the clear with hubby when you have your way with him. (Let’s keep these fantasies guilt-free ladies. There’s enough guilt in real life).
  4. IMAGINE YOUR MUG SHOT which you know will be WORSE than your Driver’s License Picture (oh yes it can) and will forever be posted on Smoking Gun for all to see. If none of this works…
  5. CALL A MOMMY FRIEND! This is the best one and what works for me. A mommy friend will commiserate. They will drive to you, wherever you are. They will talk you down off the ledge…or off the shoulder of the road as the case may be…all the while providing you a shoulder to cry on.

What do YOU think?


Please COMMENT!  Click “Comments” at bottom of post.

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  1. For me, this falls squarely on the BAD MOMMY side. While leaving your kids 3 miles from home as punishment shows very poor judgment, leaving your DAUGHTERS 3 miles from home is just dangerous. And if ultimately only the youngest daughter was left to walk alone, well, I’m not sure if any level of anger can justify that type of conduct. Ultimately, she is still their mother and protector. Maybe having her kid taken away from her (I can think of no worse punishment), will have a positive effect.

    Comment by scvenus — April 27, 2009 @ 7:49 am

  2. Okay, I’d be fibbing if I said I’d never had the compulsion to do this. In this day and age it’s so easy to give in to our impulses. Want to shop? Hop on-line. Need a latte? Drive on through. I think one of the real tests as parents today is teaching our kids patience when everything is just a click, text message or a cell phone call away. While dropping my kids off by the roadside might seem like the best option when they’re making my life insane, in reality, a little patience with them and myself as a parent might serve everyone better. Also, my mugshot would SO be worse than my DL photo, taken when I was 9 months pregnant in the middle of August!

    Comment by mommymarchbanks — April 27, 2009 @ 11:50 am

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