I skimmed a post written by a fellow mother. This post concerns what appears to be her frustration with society and the mindset of young parenting skills, I think. I think? She offers a few examples and I assume the mother is trying to relate that she is preparing her children to enter the “real world” prepared and doused with the reality that the world does not hinge on their existence. Her children aren’t the center of her world, she claims.
At first, I was like “Yea! Get it gurrrrrrrrrrl.”
Then, I read it again and had a different response. A little tick clicked in my head and I felt that I needed to comment on the post. Rather, I wanted to air my thoughts concerning problems surrounding parenting and kids today. More specifically, I wanted to just rant about society and the general opinion I view in the virtual and tangible world.
Reading her post really got me thinking about a few issues. Enjoy my rant.
The mother in that article refers often to modern parents and gives examples of the effects of being a modern parent.
I am a modern parent. Oh wait—was the mother referring to men and women who are parenting in the modern world, as in, who are currently parents? Or did she mean parents who choose to raise their children in different ways than she does i.e. attachment parenting or extremely conservative values? Wait, are we grouping all parenting styles together here? Clarification is needed here. I feel like if someone is gonna call out a specific group of parents, do it. Call it what it is.
I guess I’m “that modern parent” who drops what I’m doing to help my daughter she gets frustrated and ‘that modern parent’ who ‘drops everything all the time to sit any play with’ my child. Since we are talking in examples, here’s one of the former behavior I exhibit. My eleven month old daughter gets frustrated (read: confused and not sure how to express it) when she’s playing with a closed box that contains toys. When she yelps out or becomes vocal, I’m there. I first explain the situation (“The box is closed, but we can open it!”), show her what’s going on (open the box and close it a few times), and then encourage her to do it on her own. She then mimics me, opens the box, and all is well in the world—puppies, rainbows, sprinkles, and lollipops.
Do I drop everything all the time to play with my daughter? Most of the time, I do, yes. I leave her to her own devices throughout the day in the safety of her play area. I read my daughter’s cues when we are together. I notice she is playing with toys by herself so I leave the play area and find a task to complete. I notice she is opening a book and shutting it. I close my own book and sit on the floor with her to read the book together. I value every second I spend with my daughter.
I am disturbed by this mother’s logic concerning fictitious Billy who (of course) needs his hand held through a vague work task because he was raised with a parent or parents who invested copious amounts of time in his upraising. You assume that because I constantly interact with my daughter that she will not become independent? That I will hold her hand through her teenage years as she crosses the road or make her touch the side of the car when we arrive at the grocery store? No, friend. I spend time with my daughter and drop what I am doing to teach everything I can to my daughter to prepare her for independent living. It does not follow that my daughter should lack critical thinking or problem solving skills because I as her parent showed a focused interest in her upbringing. I give due diligence to independent playtime but as a general rule, I am at her side engaging her in learning and creative thinking.
Ah yes. I’ve gone off on a tangent. I remember why I first started writing this post. I’ve got a few things to say… in BOLD!
“I’ll complain but take no action.”
I do not write to berate you, fellow mom. We get enough of that from older generations who have forgotten what it is like to have a screaming child in the cart at the store. We get enough criticism advice from our childless peers. We parents are rowing a thin boat with many forces trying to capsize us.
I write to say this: You (Parents in general) are doing nothing to prepare your child for the future if you YOURSELF are not changing the world around you. Let that sink in.
Let me put it another way: The people who are shaping the world are the people who are actively voting/writing elected officials/lobbying for causes/volunteering/turning off their televisions and getting out in public/participating in town council meetings. In short, the people who change the world are those who DO.
The people who start movements and change mindsets in the people around them are the people who couple conviction with action. This is opposed to just pointing at the problem from the distance and telling the other finger pointing people around them “Hey, something is wrong.”
I am so tired of hearing men and women complain about the institutions set in place: government, school systems, local governments, and so forth. Wait—let me correct myself. I tire of hearing men and women complain about institutions set in place and do nothing to change the situation.
What are *you* doing to better the world to receive your child?
“Someone else will fix the problems in the world”
When I was young and even throughout high school, I believed that the world was shaped by old people. I knew that old people voted, old people were the ones telling the younger ones what to do, and old people generally were in charge. Wanna know why this is true today? Because every generation believes this idea. Each generation believes the current problems in existence are another generation’s fault. We pass blame between us, old and young alike. We have been trained to believe that we have no say in what goes on around us. We believe that other people (old people) will make the best decisions for us (Don’t misunderstand me; There is wisdom with age but there is also a staunch adherence to conformity and inflexibility).
There’s something inherently wrong with the system, isn’t there?
It’s like I grew up thinking that other people would make the world a better place for me.
I made it easy for others to control my world and my life. I made it easy for politicians to get their own way—to corrupt the system— because I didn’t have a say in it, because I didn’t gather my peers around me to change the way things were headed. While in school, I didn’t agree with the speed of the course or the course material itself. I did nothing. I sat back and just let it go. I told myself “What change can I instill? What can I do? I’m just a kid.”
It’s like this: the world is a basketball. When you’re young, old people have the basketball and just before they die, they throw the ball to you, a nearly 20 year old somebody. You catch this ball, look at it, and think “Well crap. What now? I don’t know what to do. I’m… just…gonna pass it back to someone who knows what he is doing—or better yet, I’ll just toss it behind me to a younger kid who can play with it. I don’t care about basketballs. I don’t even like to play.”
And so it goes. We live without impacting the world around us. We have deluded ourselves into believing that 1. We cannot make a difference in society and governing factions, 2. The loudest people are the ones who deserve to make rules that apply to me, and 3. Speaking up about problems won’t solve them.
The problem is this: Strong emphasis is placed on raising a child to behave a specific way in a system that is failing and flawed. We all will wear beautiful dresses and costumes in a palace made of dog crap.
We give power to society when we let it rule us and our thoughts. “Oh no, I can’t let Jimmy play with his Nerf gun in public because society will disapprove.” What you really mean is that other people might take offense and you don’t know how to approach it. Educate yourself. Educate those around you with tact and respect.
“Society” is nothing more than a group of people connected by one of many factors. Society is the masses. Society is the collection of other people breathing the air you do. Society isn’t “other people.” You have the power to impact society. You have a say. Advertising and marketing agencies aren’t the boss.
On to other points.
Being entitled versus being deserving
Although the article doesn’t necessarily touch on this subject, I thought it was a good idea to include this thought.
Deserving insinuates that effort and work (earning) is the foundation of the end result.
Entitlement points at the right to receive and designate without necessarily working—that things just come to you or should be yours upon little or no merit.
Look around you—generally, the younger generations in the workforce are those who feel entitled to positions, money, and responsibilities without earning them. Many articles are written on this notion and they usually bash the younger generations. Not everyone falls into this category. This attitude pervades all ages of citizens.
The problem here is that kids are not let to fail. They don’t know what it is like to know rejection or to receive criticism on a project or idea.
Kids must learn how to work and think on their own. Kids really should know how to cook and clean for themselves at a young age, not expecting someone else to do it for them.
Kids should know how to think on their own. They should have an exercised mind when it comes to problem solving and courage to test their own possible solutions.
I raise my daughter to believe that she deserves the best in life, but that the best won’t necessarily be handed to her with ease. She’ll have to work for it. She’ll have to work hard for good things. She’ll have to invest time and energy in practicing her instrument if she wants to be good at it and become a rock star.
Developing her talents and abilities to their limit will give my daughter a worth—a value—a sense of accomplishment and pride. She will be confident in who she is and of what she is capable.
She can expect to ask a good price for her goods/talents/abilities/skills when she is confident in her mastery of them. This is not being entitled. She has worked for it and earned it.
“I cannot expect another person to make the best life possible for me. I cannot expect the best to be handed to me if I do not first give my best. I am not at the whim of the world around me. I create the best situation I can for myself.“ These attitudes are ones that encourage a development of talents and skills and I believe they are good things to impress upon my daughter. Becoming a mom means I have become a teacher.
“My kid isn’t the center of my world” mindset
The mother in the article commented that her kids are not the center of her world. She touches on her other identities (wife, a woman, and a household manager). I don’t discount her words—we each have different identities in our everyday lives. I think a lot of people are imbalanced when it comes to managing identities. Some people focus their attention on only one identity and let the others grow weak. This leads to instability in the person.
My daughter is the center of my world. I disagree with her in that point.
I am a mom in addition to being a wife/housecleaner/poop scooper/artist/musician. My relationship with my husband is first priority. My daughter is second. I come third.
Yep. You read it right. I take care of myself after my husband and daughter.
I take care of my husband first because he is my first love. He is the provider for our family. He is my closest relationship, my best friend, and the father of my child. Having a healthy and happy marriage to my husband shows my daughter the power of love, commitment, and offers stability to her.
I take care of my daughter above myself because she needs me to. My husband works all day and pays the lion’s share of bills so that I can stay at home with our daughter. She needs to be taught, loved, tickled, fed, and trained. My job as a mother is to pass her everything I contain within my being: talents, gifts, skills, knowledge, education, humor, and so on.
I take care of myself third. This doesn’t mean that I hate myself or that I don’t shower for weeks on end. This means I see that I am given a short amount of time to make a huge impact on a growing human’s life. I have the power to shape and mold a little human being to greatness. My mental attitude is that of service, peace, and contentment. I relish the title of “mom.” I cherish it.
A few months ago, I found myself becoming bitter that my daughter was taking me away from household chores and my hobbies. My bitterness was short lived as I realized these amazing facts:
• Babies grow up. Babies expire.
• My house will not engulf itself in flames if I forego laundry or dishes every other day.
• A sterile picture perfect house is not a home, by my definition.
• Prioritizing my day relieves stress. Chores can wait until naptime and bedtime. Spending time training, teaching, and playing with my daughter can’t wait.
• Pinterest is a black hole of constant comparisons and coveting. “Why can’t I have it all together like that mom on there who blogs, raises 6 kids under 10, writes a novel a month, learned how to carve with chainsaws yesterday and is spending two hours a morning cutting and preparing her kid’s school lunch to look like a Van Gogh painting complete with spinning stars in the sky?” TL:DR – – – Approach Pinterest with caution.
I refuse to believe that my daughter is not the center of my world.
Let me tell you about my world.
My world is my daughter.
My world revolves around my daughter because I am training her to affect the world around her with open eyes, not be blindly affected by it.
My world revolves around playing with my daughter because I am teaching her the value of relationships and social interaction.
My world revolves around dropping what I am doing to help my frustrated daughter because I am laying the groundwork for her own problem solving skills.
My world revolves around my daughter because my world is of my own creation. I let no other person shape my world.
My world exists now to prepare my daughter to become a well-rounded, well educated, and a proactive individual.
My world revolves around teaching my daughter that she IS special, precious, beautiful, unique, smart, innovative, and creative. I will teach my daughter that she is not a leaf tossed around by the whim of the wind—no—I will teach my daughter that she is the wind.
My world revolves around giving my daughter a microphone and a set of gloves, one by which to reach more people with her opinion and another by which to work with her hands to put her opinion to action.
My world revolves around my daughter.
My world revolves around the future I am helping her to create not only for herself, but for those around her and the generations to follow her.
I only wish that it hadn’t taken me 27 years to realize that I can change the world. I wish that I had known ten years ago that I can impact the world around me. I could have gotten involved in town council and supported local causes. I could have been watching the news daily and encouraging my peers to stay up to date on current affairs. I should have been volunteering.
Now, at 27 years old, I realize that I haven’t taken steps to act on my convictions when it comes to government, school systems and policies, and causes dear to my heart. What kind of example can I hope to be to my daughter if I only talk about changing the world instead of getting hands dirty and actually changing it?
What am *I*doing to better the world in preparation to receive my daughter?
Time to create a better world for the next generation.
Training a child to be independent and well prepared for reality is at the foundation of parenting. Not only can I positively impact my child and prepare her for the real world, but I can also positively impact the real world and be a changing force for good out there. I can get involved. I don’t have to dump the world and its problems on my daughter.
It’s not her responsibility to change society—it is mine. That is, until she is old enough to volunteer, read, discuss world problems, and offer solutions upon which we can act. Then, it is our responsibility.
Come on parents. If you want a better life for your kids and a better future, emulate the person you want them to become:
Think of creative ways to solve problems in your neighborhood or town.
Sell a good that supports a cause dear to your heart.
Run a race and raise money for a charity.
Have a lemonade stand and bake sale that raises money for the local women & children’s home.
Write letters to your senators.
Find a cause and get behind it.
Don’t like the magazines you see on the stands? Don’t buy them. Don’t support them.
You don’t like the way something is done? Change it. Write about it. Sing about it.
Is a company acting without morals? Write the CEO. Put in complaints. Tell your friends. Boycott.
Invite your friends over for card night and institute a forum discussion of current events and issues.
Be an example to your child of the best behavior you wish them to have.
There we have it.
To sum up my rather rampant grouping of ideas…