Thursday, August 2, 2012

Middle-Class-People Problems

Can we all just agree that the world changes and we change with it? And sometimes change is good and sometimes change tastes like a big horse turd?

When my generation starting having kids, all we heard from the old farts was “back in my day” we didn’t have Boppies, Bumbos and Travel Systems. Yeah...sucks to be you.

And then our kids started growing up and all we keep wondering is why they aren’t playing outside till dinner time, living in fear of their “father coming home” and finding joy in sinking someone’s battleship.

I’m a middle of the road kind of parent with a “what doesn’t kill you will teach you not to put your finger in the electric socket” attitude. But that doesn’t mean I don’t constantly feel like I’m being judged. And I freely admit, that people might not give a shit about what I do, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling that way. I blame Mark Zuckerberg.

So here it is. My philosophy. I’m just going to lay it out there if only so you can judge me with a little more authority on the subject.

I dig juice boxes. Considering my childhood beverage of choice was Kool-Aid (and not that sugar-free piss – real Kool-Aid), I figure juice boxes at least offer some modicum of nutritional value along with the sugar. I’m also not opposed to desserts at lunch AND dinner as long as they ate something healthy at both of those meals.

My kids don’t wash their hands every ten seconds. Yes, I’ve tried my best to instill the “after the toilet” hygiene. And I’m not opposed to washing hands before you sit down for a meal. But if you want to play in a dirt pile, pick up barn cats, and then go steal fish out of Uncle Mike’s bucket before having a Popsicle. Meh. Whatever. Guess what? My kids have had no major illness of record.

I’m the first to admit safety was a little lax back there in the 70s and 80s. Car seats, shmar seats. The back of a pick up was a sweet ride. And helmets only existed if you were trying to do some Evil Knievel stunt off your neighbor’s roof. (Trying to be Mary Poppins off the front porch did not require head protection.)

So yeah, the child mortality rate has benefited. My kids sit in boosters still and put on helmets if the bike is leaving the driveway. Some of this also has to do with protecting my kids from the larger amount of ass hats on the road these days rather than my or their own stupidity.

But don’t be deceived that the safety didn’t come without a cost. Kids have a lot more anxiety these days than we did. How could they not? They can’t leave the house without a lecture on Stranger Danger or the deathtrap attributes of a trampoline.

When we were kids, we were invincible. We walked out of our houses and let the screen door slam behind us without ever once thinking we might not make it home again. There is a fine line these days between cautioning your kids and scaring the bejesus out of them.

That little thing called television. My kids watch it. A lot. Probably too much. But even though television wasn’t my go to entertainment as a child, I can guarantee when I did sit down to watch something it was in no way, shape or form educational. Unless you count learning “Mom always says, don’t play ball in the house.”

So my 4-year-old knows how to say “thank you” in Spanish and my 7-year-old has been on countdown to Shark Week. As long as they aren’t drawing pictures for therapists to represent all of the ways I neglect them, I’m still in the win column.

And yes, mark me down for JEALOUS of all the moms that have gotten their kids to like vegetables more than cookies, spend time in their preschooler’s classroom, and have more than 30 minutes a weekday to play “make believe”. I’ve sacrificed. I’m aware.

But you know what my kids are pretty great at?
Being polite.
Making up bedtime stories.
Waiting their turn.
Helping each other.
Giving hugs and Eskimo kisses.
Being kind to stray animals.
Saying “I love you.”

All that, and without being breastfed.

9 comments:

  1. I think your kids and their mom are pretty great.

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  2. This made me tear up for some reason. Perfectly put. Don't ever let anyone make you make you feel less than the super-mom you are. Zoe and Morgan are grounded, unique and wonderful. Your kids can't learn compassion, creativity, humor, honesty, and sarcasm from a classroom pizza party. Carry on with your awesomeness...

    R

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    1. I love how you threw sarcasm in there as a "good" trait. Ha! I agree.

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  3. This was a terrific post! I think too many parents are alarmists these days, and they're passing on their neuroses to their children. I see it every weekend with my in-laws. I kept saying I would just let my kids be kids but it's harder than I imagined. My oldest daughter wants to eat everything we eat, even if she just ate, and she drinks too much chocolate milk for my liking. Also we haven't let her play outside nearly as much b/c of the month-long heat wave. The TV thing is becoming a problem, too.

    But I have to remember my own childhood, and keep your post in my back pocket as a reminder that “what doesn’t kill you will teach you not to put your finger in the electric socket” lol... great advice!

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    1. It's REALLY hard to be kid! Moms are putting them in school by age 2 and now they are clammoring for full day kindergarten. Ugh!

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  4. Isn't it strange how one little thing like the internet connecting the entire world has caused countless families to start proclaiming their perfection? As if any of us believe how perfect they all say they really are. Pft. I applaud you for not joining the Motherhood and just letting your kids be kids. Being chilled out about dirty hands, the 5 second rule (which, when I was a kid was more like the twenty minute rule really), and the television being on. Even if the activities are different these days it doesn't mean all hope is lost on kids staying kids. Politeness, manners and being compassionate are far better qualities to carry forward in life than just about anything else anyway. Sounds to me like you're doing a pretty great job.

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    1. Five second rule! No doubt. Thanks, jenn.

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  5. Great post and comments. Dad was tickled to be mentioned, though of course I had to tell him about it since he refuses to go anywhere near a computer!

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