I consider myself a pretty considerate person.
I like feeling as though I’m agreeable and respectful of the opinions of others. As I have gotten older, I have learned the value in being both reasonable and judicious about where I sprinkle my opinions.
For instance, I have given up sharing about politics on Facebook. Because, honestly, am I really going to change the opinions of others via Facebook? Like…really?
That said, for all my agreeableness, there are things that I am happy to be contrary about. There are things that I couldn’t give twopence about what people think. And most of those things concern my children and my parenting.
One of the worst things that we do to ourselves is box ourselves in. For how much of this world is at our finger tips and for how wide open it feels, I feel like information overload has led to feeling constrained within so many things.
You can read hundreds of articles on how to parent and raise your children. The thing is that parenting isn’t a trend. It’s full of many, many truths that don’t change, no matter what parenting fads come and go.
More than that, letting myself give too much credence to the opinions of others had me undercutting myself, over and over again.
So now? I care a lot less.
Here are things that I’m just not sorry about, as a mom.
1.)THAT There are Pictures of and quotes by my children all over my social media Accounts.
If you friend me on Facebook or if you follow me on Instagram, you’re going to see pictures of my children. You’re going to read the funny things that my children say. You’re going to read about breastfeeding, potty-training tales gone awry and the trials of coaxing children to sleep through the night.
If you know me personally, you know that I am a mother. If you know how Facebook operates, then you’ll also note that it’s supposedly a way to share a tiny bit of our lives and ourselves with the friends and family we wish to keep in contact with. Which means that you’re going to read, steadily, about the lives of others.
You’re going to read about mommy things. Along with other things, yes. But my children encompass my life, try as I may to fight this very fact on occasion.
I try not to overdo it. Nobody needs to know what color my daughter’s bowel movements were today or hear about every time my child bumps their head. I get it.
But if you can post pictures of your dinner at Applebee’s or your duck-faced selfies in the bathroom, I can post a picture of my grinning child covered in spaghetti.
2.)That I stay home with my children.
I’m not saying that anybody has ever called or written, demanding a formal apology on the matter of whether or not I stay home with my children. In fact, most of the people I know personally have been very supportive of my choice to stay home with my children…for the most part.
I get the occasional, “what do you do all day??” questions. Or folks asking, on repeat, when we are going to pop out another child (cus we have nothing better to do), or when and if I’ll go back to work one day.
I chalk a lot of that up to curiosity and try not to let it ruffle my feathers. People mostly have good intentions.
But for every question I field, there might be 10 unasked questions or comments. And I especially take issue with the fact that when people find out that I am home with my children full-time they think I must be clamoring to escape and am miserable in what I do.
There are probably folks out there who think I am crazy for desiring to be at home with my children instead of in school or at work.
I also understand that many moms (and dads) make the choice to return to work once the children come. I support them in their endeavors to do what its best for their family.
But staying at home with my children makes me no less of a liberated, modern woman than anybody else. Is it a luxury? Yes, to the degree that I do believe it is a choice that many mothers would make were they able to afford to. I am very blessed to be able to be present with my children, every day, and to be doing it in a one income home in this economy.
However, it is not a luxury in the sense of it being relaxing or like a daily vacation, like some may believe it is. I firmly believe that I work just as hard as the next woman punching a time clock. And I believe that I made a decision that best empowered me.
3.) That I let my daughter wear pink and my son play with trucks.
i.e. Not PC up in this piece.
On purpose? To an extent, I am unashamed to admit.
Guess what? My son happens to really, REALLY like trucks and dinosaurs and things with wheels and the colors blue or red.
My daughter happens to love the color pink and enjoys playing with stuffed animals.
Guess what? My daughter also knows that if she wants to be a pilot one day, something she does talk about, that her mother and father will be very proud of her. She also knows that she is allowed to play with dinosaur toys and pretend to be one of the Wild Kratt brothers and explore.
My son knows that he is allowed to really enjoy cooking and hanging out in the kitchen with mom, and that it’s okay if he likes to watch the same movies that his sister might enjoy.
Do I riddle myself with guilt if my children like some of the stereotypical things that boys and girls like? No. Not as much as I used to. Because it was clear to me, as their parent, from the day that they were born, that they were different.
Not just in the obvious sense. But in a very innate, unspoken sense. My daughter has always been more intuitive and effeminate. She’s also fearless.
My son has almost always been more wily, laid back and not as concerned about whether or not his socks match. He is also very, very compassionate.
What matters to me is if my children are good, God fearing people and that they know their parents love them and support them.
4.) That I take my children out in public.
I remember one particularly horrible trip to the grocery store. I had a cart full of groceries and two children with me. We were in the checkout line and my son saw fit to begin pulling candy bars off of the shelves and put them on the conveyor belt for the cashier.
My daughter, meanwhile, decided that she was going to reach into the back of the cart and fish out some of the more interesting items to play with. She grabbed a glass jar full of salsa and tossed it on the floor.
It shattered. Along with my pride.
While folks were initially understanding of my plight, and saw the look of horror on my face, their demeanor began to change within minutes. It was all endearing at first, kids just being kids. Then they were over it. Just like that.
A grocery store employee handed me back a large handful of chocolate bars, (thanks, son) and asked me, curtly, to please put them back. I felt every molecule drain from my head and settle in the bottom of my feet.
I didn’t go to that grocery store again. For months.
I understand that having kids hustling around can be noisy, jarring and overwhelming. I would know. I strap my children into their seats in our van and haul them around every.day.
But guess what? We having something called a social contract. An understanding amongst us humans.
Too often do I hear from people who comment that they don’t understand why parents take their children out to restaurants and to the store when children are just such a handful. I especially hear this from non-parents and can’t help but laugh.
It’s called wanting to get out of the house and stop staring at the same walls like I do for days on end at times. It’s because I am human and my children are human and we are allowed to be out in public amongst other humans just as much as the next person who is talking too loudly on their cell phone in a crowded restaurant, or who is blocking the entire aisle with their cart and not allowing anybody by.
It’s give and take. Deal?
5.) That I’m a “prude.”
Those moms that get upset when a celebrity goes too far at the MTV Video Music Awards? Yea, I used to not understand them.
I’m kind of one of them.
Not in a, “let’s write to the executives at MTV and tell them to change!!!!” because let’s fact it, they won’t. And how can someone be THAT shocked that things like rump shaking, barely there outfits and ridiculous antics go on at anything related to MTV that will be broadcasted?
But even though I may not be ready to march on MTV headquarters when things like that happen, something inside of me shutters.
Because that could be my daughter or son.
Half-naked. Being inappropriate in front of millions of people. People who really could care less about them and view them only as fodder for their own entertainment and consumption.
It’s scary that we grow up in a world that equates a girl becoming a woman by her getting half-naked and strutting around on a stage in front of thousands of strangers. It’s scary that we think it’s permissible and “baller” for a man to have multiple girlfriends at the same time.
This world? It’s unacceptable.
And the people who just clamor for folks who disagree to change the channel are just as scary. Because this type of stuff is seeping into EVERYTHING. We have hollowed out sex, demoted honor and integrity and put them at the back of the line, and we lay it bare and wide open for our children to see.
You know what my husband and I say?
This world CANNOT have our children.
We made the conscious decision to raise smart, capable, honorable adults, and we back it up with daily decisions about what they can and cannot see. We do protect and shelter them. Because there will be time enough for all of that.
But I want them to be ready to approach this Venus Fly Trap of a world and not get sucked in.
They’ll mess up, sure. But I don’t want perfect children who don’t mess up. I want children who grow up into adults who occasionally mess up, learn from it, bounce back and are all the better for it.
There is my rant for the day. It seems like everyone is ranting a lot these days, non? I’m ranting because I can’t teleport donuts to my house at 10 o’clock at night. Why has nobody invented this yet? Be on the look out for that post in the future.
Thanks for reading.
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