Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Parenting 101

I can be judgy, it’s something I think I should probably work on, but I feel like it’s an inherent trait of someone who is a naturally curious person. Let me explain.

While yes, I will judge you for blatant disregard for grammar on both online social networking sites, and emails, I won’t be judgy as in ‘oh my god you look like a hot mess’. Well…ok, I kind of will, but I will also verbalize these feelings aloud, and to your face.

Anyways, what I really mean is that as soon as I hear something stated as fact, or written as advice I instantly judge the statement, and therefore try to disprove it. It’s why in Grade 7 I sent a science teacher to his early retirement.

So you can imagine my amusement when I flipped through a parenting magazine my mother in law gave to me on the weekend. (*Disclaimer- she owns her own business and has a wide variety of family friendly publications in her business, and just happened to be mailed two copies. I am in no way inferring she gave me a parenting magazine in a sneaky under handed ‘you could use this’ way. Wait…. ) Back on point, in a nutshell.. what a load of complete bullsh$t.

Shall we start on the cover??

Most of it I didn’t take offence too, and then my eyes wandered to the giant

“SEX SURVEY” Sub titled “How do you compare?”

with the article directly underneath titled

“How to Worry Less!”

Tell me it’s not just me. Tell me that you all as smart, educated confident women didn’t just read those two titles and not see the disparity worth mentioning?? How did this slip by the editor? As I read through the magazine I kept reminding myself that this was pitched at me. I am the perfect, exact demographic they are hoping to hook as readers. While I will give their recipes an A+, the magazine basically felt like a one way ticket into feeling less confident about my parenting, more worried about what I should be doing that I am currently not, and gave me more ideas for things I can buy to become an even BETTER parent. Please..

Most of you who know me will not be surprised by my thoughts on parenting books and magazines. I just wonder reading excerpts from these books and magazines where our own intuition and common sense come to play? In the generation of self help, parenting books I think we can argue that our kids are certainly not outdoing the previous generation. Maybe, just maybe this has something to do with our own innate instincts, and God given decision making power, being handed over to a step-by-step “Sleep through the night” “Potty train in one day” “No more whining” “Happiest Kid Ever” generation. Now we have counter articles swirling around social media about “Getting in the picture”, “Stop pretending to be Perfect Pintrest Mommies”, and “Things no one ever told me about having a baby” that are aimed at telling you how NOT being the perfect mom, is indeed, BEING the perfect mom. Please, women of the world, stop!

Yes, read your little heart out, connect to what you connect with, or use the books to prop open the basement window in the summer. Make all the over-the-top cupcakes you want, or head to the nearest bakery! Take the advice of whichever books you prefer but please, please do our kids a favor and sometimes just do what your gut tells you to do. If it’s letting your baby cry for a few minutes, never letting them cry ever, or standing in the shower with the fan on drinking a glass of wine and pretending there are no kids.. do it! If you want your kids to remember you as they saw you every day, click away!! If you want to have your picture taken at only approved times, let your friends know so they don’t tag you on facebook leaving you to sneakily remove the tag in a few days! And don’t be ashamed. And sometimes, maybe go out with your friends and have an HONEST conversation about how crappy your kids were today, or maybe how awesome they were. Or about how much you do not have your act together, or maybe you’re able to be super mom. Or even laugh about how you forgot your oldest at school until the office called.. or maybe how you are always the first one at the class to get the kids! Whatever!

What I’m saying, is that in previous generations women got together, took advice from each other (another mom telling me “this helped me with my oldest” will ALWAYS hold more weight than when I hear “I read” or “They say”) laughed, probably judged, but remembered one of the oldest proverbs “It takes a village to raise a child”. It takes all kinds of moms to raise a generation of caring, educated, engaged, slightly humorous children. Pretending to be perfect, or admitting to not being perfect so therefore pretending to be perfect, needs to end. Be who you are, parent how you feel, and maybe, just maybe we will all have perfectly well adjusted happy children…. but probably not.

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