You guys, seriously, I’m becoming an old person. I’m only 37, and yet, sometimes I feel like I’m 52. Sometimes. I’ve made a conscious effort not to be that grumpy old person but I understand now why people are like this. All of that jadedness just piles on top of each other over the years and before you know it, BAM! You’re going to dinner at 4:30 in the afternoon and you complain about kids today.
Insert all of these cliches here. They’re all true. No matter how hip I want to be, age seems to get the better of me.
Let’s start with social media. I’d like to think I was on the cutting edge of blogging. When blogging was new and let’s face it, geeky. Now it’s a living. Everyone and their mother has some sort of fucking advice. Like a blog post I saw recently written to “the mom on the iphone.” And how I should be watching my children 24-7 while they twirl. And I’m made to feel guilty for being on my phone. And oh “tee hee, this is for me too, because I’m just as guilty as you are. tee hee hee.” As if throwing that in there makes you any less Judgy McJudgerson. Dude, we all judge. I try not to, but I find myself judging people because I’m a human.
Just because you have a blog, doesn’t give you a right to write an open letter chastising me about my parenting.
Edit: I guess I should say, you have the right to write whatever you want, I’m not against free speech, and you pay for that space and all. But just because you have a blog, you’re not under any sort of social media obligation. You parent you way, I’ll parent mine.
1. There is no one on this earth who feels guiltier than I do, especially in regards to my kids. I have guilt about my guilt. It fucking sucks, but it’s part of the anxiety. All of that therapy is helping me to let go and appreciate what I have done. Do I spend time with my kids? You betcha. In fact, unless it’s Tuesday, I’m with my kids pretty much all day. One is in morning preschool and the other is in afternoon kindergarten. It’s kind of a shitty deal and it’s been a tough year in regards to having peace and quiet. There are days when I don’t know how I’ll survive if I have to color another picture or listen to another diatribe about legos. Does that make me a horrible person? That I can’t appreciate another word about Mario brothers and how another level was cleared. And while we’re at it, Mom, can I tell you all of the intricate details of this particular level, while re-enacting it? Please?
2. I’m a helicopter parent. I’m only just now feeling OK with them playing outside while I glue my eyes to the window. It’s only been a year since I’ve let my now six year-old go over to friends houses by himself for play dates. BUT, kids also need to learn to play on their own. When I was six, I was already riding my bike all over the neighborhood and on busy streets. Kids NEED to make their own memories. Some of my best memories of my childhood don’t include my parents and it doesn’t make me sad. I have great childhood memories. If my mother took me to the park, she sat on a bench. Just because she didn’t have an iPhone doesn’t make it any different. We made friends at the park. We used our imaginations. I struggle with letting them do for themselves, but they have to learn. And learning to be alone is good. That doesn’t mean that when my kids say “watch me,” I ignore them.
3. Yes, I’m on my phone. I rarely get a chance to sit down during the day because I’m taking my kids places, or I’m working. But you don’t know that just by looking at me do you? Can you also tell by looking at me, that my son had developmental delays and I spent many late nights searching for alternative therapies for him to help him? Do you know how many nights I spent looking for alternative medicine to help my asthmatic daughter stop getting RSV every time she gets sick? Did you know that? Did you know how many hours and hours of therapy I spent with my son to help him catch up? No, you don’t, because you don’t live in my house. You see me sitting on a bench and assume that this is one of the many memories of my kids that I’m missing. What you don’t see are the millions of memories of my kids I make when you’re not around. The awesome dinner conversations. The times I make my son laugh to the point of falling off his bed. The legos we build. The pictures we color.
So to the holier than thou mom who is trying to make me feel guilty for yet another thing I didn’t do: well, I’ll refrain from being a jerk to you, because that’s not how I want to be. But next time, I hope you’ll think before you assume.