Friday, September 24, 2010


I was laughing so hard, I was crying, watching the following youtube video:

What happened to the good old days of parenting? You know, the main goal was to keep the kid alive, maybe have some polite manners, graduate from school. I remember my mom taking me to WI meetings (that's Women's Institute meetings) and as long as I was quiet, everything was fine and I was generally ignored. They fed me, but I was to fend for my own entertainment. Shocking.

Today, the kids are in the spotlight. I may be an example of this: We have our work schedule arranged around the precious one, I devote hours to scrap booking her life, I sit online so I get get her into classes, we spend time taking her to classes (OK-two a week is my limit), Scarlett has nicer clothes than either of us-and in more abundance, we make the dog tolerate her, she has more play dates than either of us... and yes, the thought of where to send her to school has crossed my mind unfortunately. (or to home school?) The list is endless.

And this parenting thing has turned into a competitive sport. How soon can the kid start a new activity and how many activities can they do at once? How quickly can they master jumping into the pool at swim lessons? Learning the color of the crayon? Learning the alphabet?

Are they getting enough activity each day? Eating the right foods? Supplementing properly? Enough sleep? Are they pooping enough? Are we reading enough? Are they the right books? Are they watching too much TV? Is it quality TV? Are we providing her a good role model?

And not just those questions, but how many kids are you successfully raising at one time? Because if you think you've got your hands full with just one, you can't imagine what it's like with three (or less or more). Or you should just try balancing life with my 50 hour a week work schedule. (No, I don't work that many, I'm trying to exaggerate).


I need to watch the video daily for a while so I can see the absurdity in it all. It really all shouldn't matter. And yet, didn't it all start at day -360 or so-the day of conception? I worried about conceiving, about what I ate, the health care provider I had, having the perfect birth, and doing it all right from that day forward. Breastfeeding, vaccines, co-sleeping, toy choices, clothing choices, activities, etc... It's one thing to worry about my own choice, but I really shouldn't care how the other mothers are doing things.

I do shake my head when I look at the situation. Some days I remember she's just supposed to be learning how to play and have fun and learn about her world and develop relationships primarily with us, then with family and friends. So my only job is to facilitate that, and keep her healthy. I want her to enjoy her life. I don't care if she excels at school, if she goes to post-secondary school, she can pick any life direction she wants, I just want her to keep the joy that she radiates today. Because, if we've done parenting "well" so far, that is our greatest success-our child reminds me of joy. She is a happy girl. I will try to resist measuring her happiness, because then I'll just be feeding into the competition thing again.

I predict that I'll probably be the parent encouraging her to take the adventures- take the year off and travel, because isn't that what I wish I had done. I'll be the one to encourage her to have kids as soon as she wants, because wasn't having and raising children way more amazing than going to school for close to a decade and then pursuing a "profession". (Don't get me wrong, I chose a great profession, but I think the family beats it out by a long shot). So, yes, I'm the mom saying no to university, but please travel somewhere cool and have a baby while you're at it.

I will try to be a mom without the competitive part thrown in. You will know I have cracked if I withdraw her from all activities, and let her just dig in the garden all day, or torment her puppy, because those may be her favorite activities at the moment. I'll try to gauge how much joy the other activities bring.

1 comment:

  1. That was so funny! And yet we all do it, don't we!
    I think a baby seal just died.