I’m your neighbor. I’m behind you in the drop-off line at school. I just passed you in the cereal aisle. I’m probably co-chairing some committee with you right now, or maybe volunteering for a theater production or sports team. I cheer as loud or louder than you at our kids’ games. My brownies are moist and always delivered on time and sliced in proper serving sizes for my children’s classroom birthday celebrations. I carpool…more than my fair share. I am Bulletin Board Mom. I am Team Mom. I am Brownie Troop Leader. I am Show Historian. I am Treasurer. I am Cookie Mom. I am a fraud.
The truth is…I’ve worn the mask of ‘good mom’ for years, always towing the line and doing my part. I participate in discussions about public vs. private as though they are as important as – oh, I don’t know – relations with Israel? The global availability of clean water? I live in a high performing school district with ultra-competitive kids and families. The status quo here is to obsess about our kids to the exclusion of all else…even common sense. I’ve played along, even initiated the behavior…but honestly? I’m a fake. Because I hate it – I hate 90% of what I have to deal with as a parent today.
This blog is my outlet. I’m going to lay it out – all the crazy, mind-bending nonsense that goes along with raising kids in a conservative, upper-middle class culture. It’s bad to be different here where I live. If I don’t care about what they care about…if I don’t enable their belief that [son/daughter – insert name here] is the best ever at [insert sport/activity here]…if I don’t go along with this new parenting strategy of creating a forcefield around your kids so they NEVER experience failure…well, the truth is I wouldn’t fit in. I might even be perceived as a ‘bad mom’. Sure, I can keep turning a blind eye until my kids are ‘up and out’, but then what?
The problem is that today’s kids are tomorrow’s business owners, leaders, employees and – gasp – parents. We are creating a generation of kids that believe iPhones and flat screens are their birthright, and Moms and Dads are there to fix everything that might stand in the way of their wants (not needs…wants). Got a bad grade? Oh don’t worry, [insert name of entitled child here] was sick – his mom will fix it. Playing a sport? [insert name of child that plays on the team despite exhibiting zero athletic ability] isn’t getting any playing time? Fear not little non-prodigy, Mom will write an email to your coach insisting that all of the players should get equal time on the field. Closets overrun with trophies? Keep them all! They’re memories of [insert overscheduled child’s name here] privileged and busy childhood. What’s that? The team(s) didn’t actually win? Well, didn’t you get the memo? Winning is so old school. Just join the team (everyone gets a spot!) and you’ll get some hardware.
I could go on but you get the idea – and out of respect for your time I’ll wrap it up. You’re probably late for something – chaperoning another field trip? Delivering something for someone in order to support an activity your child is involved with? Planning meeting for some event? Running to Target/Michael’s/The 99 Cent Store for supplies or yet another birthday gift for yet another child’s party? Hurry, or [insert name of completely dependent and pampered child here] may think you don’t love him anymore. After all, if you don’t do all of this stuff then you probably don’t really love your child, right?
Today’s kids are in trouble…because of us, their parents. Working hard doesn’t compute unless it’s something they want or something that furthers their goals. A lot of these kids are yucky. Their parents are even yuckier. I have seen some behavior that on its surface may seem benign, but a deeper look at what it’s saying to and teaching our kids might give you pause. It might even make you re-evaluate your own parenting strategy. It has certainly helped to shape mine.
So stay tuned and I’ll tell you all about it…the good, the bad and the ugly.
Welcome to my world. If you’re a mom, it’s probably your world too.