Drinking vodka not too long ago with two moms, this topic came up. Of course drinking vodka brought up other topics as well, but we will stick to raising children as being such a public activity. I had never thought of it like that, in those terms, but boy did that statement hit home for me. What is it that makes us so compelled to relate to friends and often strangers the honest truth about what we fed our kids for breakfast and how many times our children poop in a day? Does anyone really care? You know, sad to say, they do care. They especially care if they need new food ideas to try on their kids or if they need a constipation solution.
I don’t know what comes over me when a parent comes to pick up their child from my house, but I often give the run-down of snacks and minutes if any, in front of the television. Am I trying to prove that I am a good mom by serving strawberries for a snack and not letting them watch a video? Or am I proving I am a real mom by serving strawberries and Cheetoes and letting them watch an entire movie?
I doubt my mom even asked other parents, “Does Susie have any food allergies”, or “Is it okay if they watch a movie?” (We didn’t even know about food allergies then let alone have even a VCR or colored television.)
I find myself telling strange women at parks about the tricks I use to get my children to go to bed early, eat their vegetables and whether or not my children fight with each other, all without even knowing the woman’s name.
Are we struggling with trusting our own choices, worried we are screwing up our children or just seeking solace that we ARE NOT ALONE? The neighbors in the movie Cheaper by the Dozen instantly makes a judgment of the Baker family when she sees soft drink cups and cheeseburger wrappers on the dashboard of their car, “OH”, she gasps, “they’re fast food people.”
We feel relieved when we discover the truths about other parents and their families. “Oh, thank God she too swears like a sailor,” I say every time I discover a new ally in the cussing department. “YES,” I am not alone I want to shout when I meet another mom who has been sending their kids to bed before 8 PM since day one. “YES”, she too doesn’t make her kids eat their vegetables, says shit in front of her kids at least once a day (I actually haven’t met you, yet, please confess so I KNOW for
Sure I am not alone), makes her kids brush their teeth after eating candy and come on, I hope you are out there, gives their kids Benadryl on a Saturday afternoon so she can have sex with her husband without the kids waking up. Anyone with me on this?
See what I mean? What compelled me to go public with that personal truth?
We want to be seen for who we are, how we mother and know we are good, not alone and not ruining anyone for it.
The Benadryl was just once. The vodka with girlfriends was not out of the bottle, over dinner, and in between five glasses of water with a double espresso chaser.