Since when did parenting become a contact sport? Just as questioning another woman’s occupational choice is more about the attacker than the victim, using a child as a parenting medal is more about the parent than the kid. I’ve stopped going to PTO meetings. They depress me. I come home feeling bruised and defensive. How I would love for them to be havens for truth, for us to share our fears and frustrations, to tell it like it really is, rather than the life captured in the family holiday photo. Our kids aren’t perfect. I know, I’ve taught them. Neither is mine. Neither am I. It makes me interesting.
Yet, I’ve had everything questioned from not having my son play a musical instrument to why I don’t have him enrolled in more honors classes, or better yet, private school. Why doesn’t he have more after school activities, why do I let him play computer games, and why do I have an endless supply of cookies in my house.
Because I’m a terrible mother. What else could it be?
It is what we think is best for him at the moment. And by we, I mean, me, my husband and my son. No, he doesn’t always get his way, but he counts.
You can stop thinking “new age liberal mother raising a future anarchist” right now. It’s not all “free to be you and me” in our house either. He does not, and will not, if he knows what’s good for him, talk back to teachers, referees, employers, or other adults of any kind, including his parents. He has chores, limits, and is expected to converse over dinner about something other than Call of Duty or the Patriots losing the Superbowl. It’s harder than it sounds.
I will assume that you are doing the best you can as well. It’s not always easy to do. Remember, I’m a substitute teacher. I’ve seen a lot. My son knows that if he talks about his friend’s “ridiculous” parents, he’ll get nothing from me but a lecture about how hard parenting is, and that every kid thinks they are blameless victims of circumstance and that their parents are nothing but trolls that dwell under bridges waiting to consume unsuspecting children.
So if my son does the same thing at your house, pay back the favor. And tell him to clean his bathroom. It’s disgusting.
You all rock.
Words by J. B. Everett