I was aproached by a blogger-friend of mine about guest blogging on my blog after she saw my Thursday Thirteen last week was done by a friend.
If only she knew that I was just too lazy to write it so I farmed it out. LOL
So of course I said okay to her, and below, you will find here contribution to this blog, and while I could toss out a disclaimer about the views in this post being hers and not mine, I noticed that she did not link to her blog so I will keep her cover and post it in it’s original form.
So here it is;
“Let me begin by saying I’m a blogger. Not an every day blogger, but when the mood strikes me. My blog is about finding the joy in the mundane, and truthfully, what I need to let out here and now has nothing to do with joy, or finding the sweet with the bitter. This rant has been six years in the making, and the straw that broke the camels back happened in just the last 10 days, at of all places, my kids’ karate dojo – and I’ll get there.
Please be advised, my ranting tends to go in different directions at times, but I seem to always be able to tie it up with a pretty feel good ribbon at the end. Except this time, I expect there will be no pretty ribbon at the end.
Quick disclosure – I know Urban Mommy and Urban Daddy through the vicious social collective of the late 90’s and current era known as the baby group. And clearly it was a relationship that has lasted, and so you may truthfully infer that whatever I write aobut baby groups in no way reflects on Urban Mommy in particular, because if she was a judgemental parent like the ones I’m about to rage about, we would clearly not still be friends 6 years out.
Furthermore, Urban Mommy pretty much represents what I wish I HAD met in baby groups, and mostly didn’t. But I met her, and that still stands as pretty cool (being true to self, had to find one piece of joy to throw into the spew).
I argued with myself as to should I be linear in this guest blog, or should I start with the last week and then take you into the distant past to give you perspective on what finally led to my belltower moment. While my husband is a purist for linear, I believe there’s dramatic effect in hollywood movies when you see as the first scene of a flick something clearly out of context as scene 1, and then you flip to script that says -4 years earlier – a la Inception which was in fact a great flick, despite my hatred of Leonardo Dicrapio (spelling error intended). So I’ve decided to go with the Hollywood bait and switch. You can tell me afterwards if the effect was all I’d hoped.
Let us begin last week. IronLady (Irnldy on twitter) signed her kids up for karate at the lovely dojo near her house. Older daughter took right to her class, no cajoiling needed, having a great time. Younger son, refered to ironically as Easy-E was not faring so well. He’s been reticent about ‘new’ since he came out of me a few years back. And generally his hobby of choice will always include hanging off of me or ironhusband, while we struggle to walk a balance bean with 35 pounds of toddler attached to us. So after all our experiences with Easy E, we knew what we needed to do to get him to go into his dragons karate class.
First and foremost, for success, we needed to not be in the room with him. He did ok for a few minutes, and then began bawling his head off to the extent that the entire dojo was staring wondering what the f*ck was up with that KID. As I am his mom, and I know him best, and have at least 3 visibly scars to illustrate that I know his strike zones, clearly I had an idea of what I’d do in that situation. There were two paths:
PATH A – I get down on the ground, hug and kiss and soothe. This path looks good to other parents, it says I love and I care and I nurture. But in Easy E’s world, it means it’s over lady. I get to quit and never come back.
PATH B- I stay standing upright, I listen to him, and then encourage him to rejoin. Again and again. Don’t want to rejoin? Ok, I want to go watch your sister. Followed by more crying. Sound bad to you? Maybe, but don’t judge. Because in our case it happens to be the right thing to do and I’ll get there later.
Choosing path b, clearly, I continue this until a “Perfect Mommy” breaks in. “How old is your child?” “Oh my, he’s so young, how can you expect so much from him??”. Then, gettting down on one knee, begins to stroke Easy E’s face and tell him it’s ok, he doesn’t have to do anything, and essentially negating every word I just said. This goes on, while I bite my tongue and stay upright. Until finally the sensei comes out of the room to see what’s up and also gets down on one knee to talk to young Easy, while the other mother is still offering of course all the love that I had vicisously (obviously) held back, all whilst giving me nasty looks. He tries to talk to Easy but can barely be heard over Perfect Mommy’s coooing to my boy. Finally, I say to PM – “he can only hear one voice at a time, and I’d like it to be the teachers’, thanks”. All while seething.
Needless to say, the exchange pissed me off. When we returned for attempt #2, there she was again, in full Perfect Mommy glory. LOUDLY EXCLAIMING to all nearby that sweet little Easy E was ONLY THREE FOR HEAVENS SAKE. And wondering out loud to herself and those in earshot “I just can’t understand why some people push a young child so hard, it’s just so unfair”.
Now needless to say I’d three days to rehearse what I’d say to her if she had the nerve to strike again, and boy did those rehearsals come in handy. And I quote myself here: “You know, you have a lot of opinions on what I’m doing wrong here, and how I’m damaging my son for life – which means, I can only guess, that you have brilliant never fail parenting suggestions at your fingertips that will be equally useful for all parents, regardless of the type of child. And that’s fantastic. I also would have to guess, given that you have attempted to take over the poor parenting of this child, that you will also be offering to take over all of the financial obligations related to him, and furthermore will be staking out his educational path from here on.. No? In that case, BACK OFF and stop talking to both of us, and while you’re at it, stop talking ABOUT us to everyone in the dojo.
She backed aways, and I continued my approach of getting Easy E some independance of his own for the first time in his life – and guess what? On class #3 he went in, on his own, did the whole class, and loved it. Same with class 4. Lesson learned bitch? I KNOW MY KID. YOU WILL NEVER KNOW MY KID. GET THE F*CK OFF MY KID. And take your superior feeling, stick it where the sun don’t shine, and feel the glory in knowing that YOUR children are perfect, and will never make scenes in public, and you’ll never have to feel judged by 100 pairs of eyes on you……….. or will you? Because if there’s one thing mommying has taught me, is that the judgemental glare escapes no one.
Enter the BABYGROUP:
These are time honoured traditions. Newly glowing mothers coming together as a community to form a baby oriented coffee clatch. Where I assumed it would be a relaxed varietal of women with babes in arms, discussing literature, fine food, movies, anything. Which we didn’t. In fact, ad nauseum, we discussed babies. Pooping, eating (organic??? yes of course!!!! to do otherwise would be murder as irnldy hangs her head in shame) Sign language? Baby Einstein??? Week after week, I kept thinking we had all the baby issues out of us, but we never did. What I did learn was a whole lot of what I did wrong, thanks to the perfect mommies in my 2 separate groups:
1. Only breastfed for 3 months the first time, switched to formula. Selfish, robbed my child of precious mother antibodies, robbed both of us of sking to skin bonding time. Will eventually explain it when she’s diagnosed with dissasociative personality disorder, and is unable to form meaningful relationships while she needlessly fights RSV and flus and hepatitis that my mothers milk could have saved her from.
2. Did not babyproof the house until well AFTER daughter was walking. A death trap. A baby group was actually cancelled by another mother scheduled to be in my home because of my lack of vigilant baby proofing, followed by a smug email informing me I’d be taken off the schedule if I didn’t take immediate action to fix the problem. I never did. My kids are still alive.
3. I raised issues other than feeding/diapering/burping/cooking organic baby food/shopping for useless baby shit, labeling me the mother who didn’t give a shit about being a good mother (or their view of a good mother). I was supposed to be feeling guilty about using jars of mass produced baby food – I didn’t care, and even the not caring got me in deep with the mommy police. When I raised other issues, it was “anyone gone OUT without a baby lately???” which wasn’t to say I don’t love my kid – it was to say that we still need to be thinking and functioning intelligent people outside of our reproductive prowess. This was met with stone wall silence.
4. At one of my daughter’s early on drop off classes they had parent volunteers on the roster. One day, I get a note from my parent volunteer that day telling me she spent the entire time watching my strange little girl, and truly felt I should know my daughter is Autistic. She’s not. (and yes, we eventually did have her tested and dealt with her speech and language issues, and she’s not autistic). Can you imagine getting a note from some judgemental volunteer with no credentials who was supposed to be helping server juice telling you she did nothing but sit and document how WEIRD your child is, and then offer a diagnosis what would shatter most parents???? Can you imagine ever having the nerve to do that to another human being?????
I have 6 years worth of these saved up,and I could hold hostage urban daddy’s blog a long time to get it all out, but I think you’ve got the gist. The truth is people, we are not a village raising a child anymore. We are tiny fiefdoms unto our own homes, and our impact on others is neglible at best, and bearing that in mind, wouldn’t you prefer knowing that at least your impact caused no harm that day? And how about all the judgementals out there, on the day that YOUR child pulls his pants down in the middle of Metro, screaming at the top of his lungs I DON’T WANT TO GO HOME AND I DON’T WANT PANTS AND I WANT TO RUUUUUUUUUNNNNN NAKKKKKEEEEDDD – what will YOU hope the other people around you do???? Because I can give you one certainty – every single one of those fuckers is judging you, judging your weirdo kid, and will tell at least 2 people about it while refering to themselves as a parent that NEVER would have allowed that kind of thing because their own parenting was so very spot on perfect to begin with.
I’m just saying. And to the lady who started this rant, when she got down on the floor and stroked my son’s cheek – When you’re moment of public humiliation parenting comes, I can only hope I will be there to soothe your perfect children the way you soothed mine. You may also be interested to know – Perfect Mommy, if you are reading this, that Easy E loves karate, and every day wakes up demanding to know if it’s dojo day. Because I did what I knew was right FOR HIM. Respect it, or back the f*ck off.”
Thank you IronLady! I’m going to look for Perfect Mom at the dojo this weekend.
So with that, I pose this question to those of you who made it through this post, if you have been put in a position where your parenting choices have been questioned by a stranger, or if someone has made reference to something you have decided to do in a judgemental manner.
Curious to hear the feedback.