Monday, July 16, 2007

The Anti-Modern-Mom

This doesn't mean I'm old fashioned. It means I think the business of mommyhood has gotten a bit out of hand. I was contemplating joining a playgroup or mom's group and then remembered the last one. Now, keep in mind, they were wonderful women, but I couldn't compete. I could never top their kids. It's not that I think my kids are 'less' it's just that my kids aren't DONE yet. They haven't shown me their talents yet. They do everything on a whim, whatever catches their fancy...

Playgroups, I'm a fan of, lets get the kiddies together, but lets face it, before 2 or 3, you're really doing it to get yourself together with other moms, cool.

Preschool, okay, if it's free... I mean no offense but, I don't believe the high cost of preschool justifies the result. As in, I think my kids are brilliant, of course, but I don't need to send them to preschool for them to learn letters and numbers and run around and play and socialize. That's what playgroups and neighborhood kids are for, and what school is allegedly for.

Music class, tumble class, swimming class, tae kwan do for toddlers, art class, yoga class....

Great... if you have the money I suppose. I don't have the money, not for two of them. But even if I did, I'm just so not interested. I've tried some of those classes, and it left me feeling... well, worse than if I hadn't ever gone, and my boys didn't really enjoy it. It may be because I hate the compare game. It may be because I dragged them there knowing they secretly want to play at the park. It may be I just haven't found the right magic classes.

It's the mom compare game I hate more than anything though, and there isn't one class I've gone to where the compare game wasn't played....

"MY two year old loves the guitar so much, we bought him one and he practices because he's so musically gifted..."

"MY little gal is already singing her ABCs, her numbers and yesterday, started reading Harry Potter, I mean, her older brother didn't start on Harry Potter til he was FOUR!"

"My son's preschool teacher said I should consider having his IQ tested because he's so mature beyond his age..."

"Hmm, your sons are pretty rough and tumble... Jr. is more of a gentle soul..." (you calling my kid thugs? only I can do that...)

"I've got our girl into soccer, and she's a natural..."

"what about your sons?"

Well... um they make some AWESOME tunnels with mud, they can run like a sonofa...runner... i've never seen kids move so fast... they love scootering on the sidewalk, and I do believe Bear is musical, because he likes to bang on things and dance and sing to "you are my sunshine' and Turbo is CLEARLY going to be an architectural genius because you should see the towers he can build with lego.... both could go in the direction of Hollywood though, in stunt choreography, because let me tell you, they've staged some brilliant crashes in our upstairs hall with their trucks and trains, total mayhem and chaos... "

I mean what am I supposed to say? I don't KNOW what my boys are good at yet, they are only three and a half. They try EVERYTHING. They play drums, they sing, they build blocks, they build tracks, they toss balls, they kick balls, they tackle each other, they make up stories, they act out different characters using different voices, they run outside, they ride scooters, they don't like Sesame Street but love Dragon Tales, and they can count and recognize some letters. No, they can't read, but they put the books on their laps and pretend to read, sometimes they take mommy's books, they love stories, they love the kid yoga videotape, but classes? No. Compare them to other kids? How can I?

Kids are sooo different, and to say one is musically gifted at two is fine, but in my opinion ALL kids at two are musically gifted. Because all kids love music. They are ALL brilliant. Unless your kid REALLY is a genius, and if your kid really is a genius, he's probably not in a playgroup or kiddie class, s/he is just as brilliant as every other child.

But modern mommyhood makes us play the compare game... Johnny is social, Timmy is not, but Timmy is introspective and shy, whereas Johnny is a bit rough. Susie is musically gifted but Tina is already a star ballerina and clearly athletic. Ugh.

So, then, we move on to the next favorite question...

"What parenting method do you use."

"....."

"You know, what method?"

"There are methods?"

"well, what books did you read on parenting"

"Supernanny?"

"That method is...?"

"Oh, um, naughty wall, time out, toy time out, mommy time out, mommy hide in bathroom, just listen to me this once puhleeeze and guilt (as in, okay i've had it if you want to go ahead and destroy mommy's special things and make her cry go ahead...) and a belief in the 'I can't take it honey you deal with them"

"So when they act up in the store (not that Lizzie ever does, she's SUCH a good girl) what do you do?"

"Cry."

I mean... can we stop? Am I the only mom who's kids just play outside, and at the park? Who's not in a playgroup, music class, swim class, genius in training class... Am I the only mom who doesn't make a conscious choice to not leap up when one of the kid falls down and cries... "I am not going to go to him, I am going to watch him for a moment, and determine the nature of his injury, and then, decide if I should respond, I read that's the best way to handle it..." as opposed to "oh huh, he went boom. well then. just a scrape good. No no it's okay, I don't need neosporin. No I dont' think it'll get infected. No really, he doesn't need a bandaid. Wash it off? Nah, I'll just let him play a bit more....we'll wash it at home."

I do believe in certain uncompromising principles:

Early bedtime (8 p..m)
Three healthy meals and two snacks.
Shoes when you play oustide
Helments when you scooter.
Occasional baths.
Time outs in your room.
No pushing, hitting, yelling, screaming or throwing things.

You know, things like that.
Beyond that?

I make it up.

5 comments:

The Curmudgeon said...

I have a parenting strategy: It's called trial and error.

My 23 year old daughter says she was our "experimental child" -- we tried everything out on her. She exaggerates.

Some people brag on their kids and can't seem to stop. I have an aunt like that. I like her anyway. That's what it comes down to, doesn't it? And if it becomes oppressive, you can always chime in with, "My son's probation officer says he has a real talent for making license plates...." Something like that can have a stimulating effect on the kinds of conversations you describe.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Parenting method? That's a good one! If I was a parent it would be the 'do as you're told' method.

Laura said...

I believe in the trial and error thing too!

I believe kids don't need to have every minute of their lives scheduled (even though I TRY to keep a tight schedule, for the sake of our autistic son who THRIVES on knowing what's coming next.)

I believe that drinking wine helps tremendously in the whole parenting thing, because sometimes you just need to chill the hell out, and your kids pick up on your stress and act even worse than normal.

I believe there's no magic thing that just works - it's different for all of us, even different from day to day! I actually get annoyed when people say things like, "I don't know how you do it! I never could!" Because I'm like, do what? Manage to keep the kids alive all day?? It's "fake it till you make it" - that's the magic secret!

P.S. I love that my captcha is "owbleh" Ow, my head hurts. Bleh, I'm sick of this day already. LOL!

Lahdeedah said...

Curmie,

I think my eldest, Drama Girl, is beginning to feel like an experiment... ha ha ha...
I like your line, must remember it...

Laura, a nice routine is always useful. It's the constant scheduling, like you said... Wine? Of course I wine, doesn't everyone? I used to beer, but each bottle is really just another roll on my belly... ha ha...

How do you do it? I hate that one. Next time, try, "I don't..." and see what happens lol. I love owbleh btw.

Jean-Luc, if "I told you so' worked, i wouldn't have had to blog-rant!

MommasWorld said...

Trial and error is what works at our house. Curmudgeon hit the nail on the head!

I have one difference. What works for one family might not work for another thus the trial and error. Taking it one step more if something works for one child it may not work for another...even within the same family.

I think all children are gifted in so many ways. They all make me laugh, cry and smile. Not only my children but all children.

Going to play at the park and everything you do normally with your children I bet you meet another Mom with the same feelings about play groups. You are new to the area and it will take some time. It is a given that you are a wonderful person so you will find a Mommy friend in your area.

It annoyed the Poop out of me when others would jump and run to my children when they fell down (not a big fall or anything). If you do not freak out the children do not freak out. Yes, I received some really hateful looks when I did not jump up and run to them right away. If they were really hurt I would but I am not going to jump up every time they bump into something. When my child would rise up, flash me a smile I would just look at those evil eyed people and smile "See, he/she is fine. You whimps." he.he.he!