It’s the other parents that confuse me

I have been playing the part of a mama for twenty-one years if you include the 9 months of gestation for the college kid. It’s safe to say I know a thing or two about this parenting gig, I didn’t say that I am an expert, but I have seen things, I have seen trends come and go. Every now and then someone will try to question whether I really have parenting experience since my eldest didn’t always live with me. To that I say eff you, yeah I was so disconnected from my kid that’s why I gave up a financially comfortable life to move to Maine where I could be a part of my son’s life on a daily basis. *insert eye roll*

Anyway in my 21 years with this gig, it’s only been since the birth of the almost 7 year old (she turns 7 this month, damn time is flying) that I really started paying attention to this culture of parenting and specifically mothering that seems to have sprang up in the past decade or so. Let me tell you that in that time I have often heard mothers say things that frankly puzzle me and today thanks to a combination of perimenopausal anger and extreme heat I decided let’s discuss these commonly said things.

When my daughter was born, I thought I knew all I needed to know about kids at that time since the elder kid was exactly thirteen and a half years old when she was born. Needless to say the little miss showed me I was clueless and fed me humble pie on a regular basis starting with the fact that she came out the womb highly spirited. Translation, she only slept if she was in skin contact with me or the Spousal Unit and frankly that meant we had to learn the fine art of juggling to get our needs met. Considering that the man works from home one might think how hard was it, well it was hard since working at home means you really must work if you are fond of receiving this thing we call a paycheck that keeps us fed and housed. (the girl child is highly spirited and there are many other examples I could give, but her sleep habits in the first 3.5 yrs is one area we felt her spiritedness)

However even with a  highly spirited baby we still made time for the important shit like bathing, in fact the few times the man had to be out of the home office, no matter what, I made time to bathe. See, bathing is one of the few non-negotiables I have, body odor does not smell good. I admit we both had a lot of quickie showers but they happened. So I admit I am always confused when a mom says she can’t bathe because of her intense kid…really? Yet you found a few minutes to write a blog post, send a tweet, you get the point. Look, it’s safe to say that small kids will put a cramp in things like having a home spa day, but a 10 minute shower? No ma’am, that’s a choice you make and guess what it’s okay! If bathing is not a priority that’s fine, but quit blaming your BO on the baby. Baby is watching you!

While we are talking high spirited, high energy babies let’s talk about the fact that they make life oh so fun and exciting at all times, namely when you plan an outing. Prior to the girl’s arrival we were used to going where we wanted, when we wanted. I mean we were in Maine so it’s not like we are talking an exciting nightlife but I am talking having a meal out, taking in a movie type shit.

From birth to about 14 months or so, the girl was an okay dining partner but to be honest once she hit that 15 month point to damn near four, we had to change course. She did not do well in public settings, and frankly that was okay. After one too many times of being the center of attention with a kid melting down and all eyes on me, I decided my poor decision making skills were not helping. Sure my kid has a right to be out in public, but does she have the right to make everyone in our proximity to one of her meltdowns miserable? Nope, not at all.

Apparently such thinking is radical in today’s mommy circles where many mommies feel they do have the right to take their kid out and about and if the kid has a meltdown we all must be subjected to the precious babe’s trauma. Sorry moms/dads you are wrong. There is a reason take out exists.

Look, parenting is hard and I know we all have those days especially when we are the at home parent that we want to leave the house and just eat someplace else other than our jail cell (oops house) problem is if your kid is not there developmentally, what you are doing is wrong. I think this one sided selfish streak is why we are seeing the rise of no kiddos welcomed signs at eateries. If you don’t think of others, society does it for you and it sucks.

The upside is it’s a phase and most kids will grow out of it once they get older, until then put your favorite eateries on speed dial or get your Martha Stewart on in the kitchen and have the kiddos help out. Hell, my girl has been assisting me in the kitchen since she was 3 with the help of this handy gadget.

Lastly, whenever a co-sleeping parent admits to sleeping with their kid, inevitably the issue of sex comes up. Understandably co-sleeping parents get defensive but come on now, that tired retort that you can have sex in rooms other than the bedroom is tired. Sure you can have sex in other rooms, hell I am pretty sure I know what room the almost 7 year old was conceived in and it ain’t the bedroom. Look, while some of y’all may still have the same dynamic sex lives you had prior to the arrival of the kiddos, the truth is quite a few of us go on sexual hiatus. I did and I am not ashamed to admit it, but again it’s just a phase and it passes.

Today’s parenting of making the kids the center of the universe scares me and the fact that so many of us get defensive when a real dialogue is started on the issue is also scary. I fear too many of us are using raising our own kids as a method to undo the scars from our own childhood and trust me it will backfire.  Being a “good” parent is about more than taking care of our kids and following any methodology, it’s about taking care of ourselves and being healthy.

Anyway back to sweltering. Happy July!


2 thoughts on “It’s the other parents that confuse me”

  1. “Today’s parenting of making the kids the center of the universe scares me…”

    You AND me both. I had The Kid almost 10 years ago, right before the cray, cray started. At least that’s how if feels to me. Or, maybe I was too young to know the difference and too busy to take notice, but I spent such little time around other mothers that I have no idea if this was going on. My daughter was such a wonderful kid and I take no credit for that. She just came that way. Not high-spirited at all. We didn’t even have a baby gate. The worst thing she would do is eat Desitin and knock books down. I don’t say that to brag, but more so to say the Powers That Be threw me a bone. A mercy bone.

    Once I got my kid into elementary school is when the real fun began. It was an eye opening experience of what parenthood has become: an all out assault on individuality or the other extreme: your family is the only one that matters.

  2. Thanks for the bit about high spirited kids in restaurants. My son is just turning 2 and from about 14/15 months he has not wanted to sit still, which makes restaurants a challenge. I just prefer to not deal with that challenge, so we eat at home be it take out or home cooking. People give me such strange attitude about not wanting to take him to a restaurant but I just find it stressful and super un-fun trying to manage my son’s energy in that sort of environment (even kiddie restaurants). I figure when he is developmentally able to sit still for more than 15 minutes we’ll enjoy some dinners out but until then I’m done feeling bad for being the “wet blanket” that people treat me like.

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