I love mom blogs, and, oh hey! I am one myself! But lately I feel like a lot of the popular posts I've been seeing shared on facebook fall into the following three (albeit loosely defined) categories: 1. You'd better wake up and stop yelling at your kids/looking at your phone/working too much because it will make your kids sad (insert guilt here). If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you might miss your children's whole entire lives and it will flash before your eyes like an instagram feed that you were looking at instead of watching them build a dirt mountain on the playground for the eleventy billionth time in a row.
2. That car seat/baby carrier/way you are feeding your child/raising your teenager/schooling them? You are doing that WAY WRONG. (Duh). Here is the right way to do it so you don't totally screw up your children. No need to thank me.
3. You are not grateful ENOUGH. BE MORE GRATEFUL AND DO IT NOW. Actually make it a habit of doing it. Simply being aware of it isn't enough. You must practice gratefulness. Like yoga. Speaking of which, do more yoga. You don't do enough of that either.
So, number one. I get it, I should be present and in the moment. And I want to be! I do! And I would be more than willing to put the phone down if it wasn't for this pesky thing I have called a "job" that helps to pay for their food and clothing and shelter. No big. If someone wants to take care of that for me? Less phone time for sure. And for those moms of you who don't have an outside the home job as well? You should feel guilty for wanting to connect with friends, take a break, play a game that might be entertaining or perhaps slightly more mentally stimulating than some of the more mundane parts of parenthood.
But, one could argue that I should still put off the work/"me time" till...when? The kids are in bed? And then work my butt off while they are asleep (also do laundry, catch up with family members/friends, do some volunteer work, make meals, SHOWER, pursue a hobby independent of my children), all the while eschewing sleep so during the day I can prop my eyelids open with the help of Lego figurines lest the children feel slighted that I am looking at my phone rather than at them. I mean do I REALLY need to now worry that someone might be judging me for looking at my cellphone while I'm at the playground? Please no. Don't. I beg of you. Pay attention to your kids. Pay attention to your loved ones. And pay attention to yourself. Let's leave it at that, shall we?
Also, I applaud any of you that don't ever yell or raise your voice to your kids. I do. I am guilty of that. Sometimes it is more like a loud bellowing coming from my general area up toward Finn's bedroom where he is doing who knows what (usually Lego/Star Wars book related) when we are down to the wire on the bus arrival time, usually after I have tried (I HAVE TRIED) to ask nicely about eight times for the toys to be put away or for the mysterious banging sound from the playroom to cease. I've got three kids and two dogs and once in a while...mama needs to yell. So be it.
Secondly, let's all agree that for the most part, we are all capable adults, and apart from the very serious recall level alerts, I think we can cool it with the borderline hysteria inducing shares about food choices, education choices, or choices about how we raise our children. It undermines our confidence as parents, and unless you're going to tell me that my local grocery store is recalling a specific food product for a potential health threat or there is a hurricane on it's way that you think I didn't hear about, I don't really want to hear again about how my family is better or worse off because we do or do not co sleep or baby wear or eat organic. You do your thing, I'm going to do mine. That's all.
Also, enough with all of the paranoia inducing CELLPHONES ARE THE DEVIL/will ruin your children when they grow up articles and rants (Louis CK I'm looking at you). I know, I know, a lot of you shared that Louis CK thing, but I have to say I disagree. If you are going to blame your child's lack of empathy you might want to look closer to home. Like, as in, to your actual home. To who is in your home. To how YOU are raising your children. Stop blaming external things for lack of empathy, for bad behavior. If your kids are being bad people, chances are they would be that way without a smartphone. Not to blast your whole theory apart Louis. Technology changes and advances and sometimes we aren't as quick to keep up with it, but raising your children to be respectful, compassionate people doesn't change. And how about this? If they DO turn all of a sudden into these empathy lacking monsters, you take the phone away as a punishment? Just an idea.
That goes for a lot of things too. Even with my Robin Thicke rant from over the summer (which I still stand by regardless), the point is that YOU are the one who is responsible for shaping your children into decent people. Not Robin Thicke, not Miley Cyrus, YOU. You are their first role model, and if you can keep it up, you will continue to be one for them. It isn't easy, but it is worth it. Because no matter how much you want to keep all of those seemingly negative and nasty influences out, they will get in. They will reach your children. Prepare them for that so they have the defense when it comes down to it. Prepare them for that so they can handle it appropriately. But above all, make sure you realize that it isn't a cellphone or a singer or a music video or movie, it is you. That's a lot of pressure right? It should be. Parenting is an incredible job. Not everyone is good at it. But to be good at it, you just need to try.
In that vein, it takes me to my final point. Enough with the "BE GRATEFUL NOW DO IT DO ITTTTTT" posts. I am grateful. Trust me. Sometimes I am so grateful it feels like a punch to my solar plexus, makes me hold my breath, makes me hold back tears. I know there are so many people who have things a million times worse than me. And sometimes I do appreciate the reminders, one could even go as far as to say I am grateful for the reminders to be grateful (did you see what I did there?).
But sometimes, it isn't being grateful that gets me through the tough moments. It's just grit. It's just some mom grit, digging deep down to find that tiny little nugget of strength I have left to get up in the middle of the night even though I'm exhausted, change those peed in bedsheets, clean up the vomit, whatever it is, and just get it done. I don't need to pause and close my eyes while the baby spit up is dripping down my chest, and think about how grateful I am that the spit up is even there. I just need to wipe it off, and take care of business. Now, go forth, do your thing, and just chill. xoxo