This weeks dust up is coming from a father who wrote a blog post on Babble about how he likes his older son, 5-year-old Zacharie, over his 2-year-old son, Charlie, and when it comes time to split up the kids for purposes of running errands, he always picks Zacharie.
Some moms on the Internet thought the declaration of having a preference for one child over the other was super shitty. And it is pretty super shitty when you think about it.
It’s shitty because it’s inexperienced and rude. Of course a 2-year-old is less engaged and mature and a little less interesting than a 5-year-old. Duh.
Furthermore, it’s shitty because the father, who posted as “DADCAMP”, gave examples absolving him of guilt and granting him permission to support his writing about his favorite child online in way that suggested, ’Hey! Everybody does it. I’m just writing about it’.
Writing about it online makes it worse to the 10th power because now his toddler son has his runner up placement already carved in his father’s life and he lives it out infamy, for the world to see and cite and for friends to reference when he gets older.
It’s also shitty because, unlike this supposed grown-up and contrary to the father’s beliefs, Charlie will catch wind of this. While DADCAMP said that he loved both his sons the minute they were born, he also makes it clear that he’s not ashamed to admit that he has “a favorite son”.
He goes on to ask his readers to look themselves in the mirror and admit they have a favorite too. But why? Whose purpose does it serve? Does it help the child who is not the favorite? Does it make that child feel more ashamed, and therefore the father and favorite child get a little schadenfreude from it?
So, unless the lesser liked son learns with the understanding of selfish adults, in a way mature beyond his years — understanding and forgiveness is totally presumptuous. This father has no way of knowing if his declaration will have a long lasting impact on Charlie. It’s hardly a stretch to think that this could very well affect his self esteem and self confidence.
And for what? Pageviews?
Now before I delclare this father asshole of the year, I must admit he did clarify that he simply enjoys hanging out with his older son because he’s not that into the baby stages. He says his wife is, but he isn’t. He claims to enjoy the age when kids can interact with adults, instead of changing diapers, shaking shiny objects and making sure they don’t stick their finger in a light socket. Okay. I can get behind that. That makes sense and is completely unoffensive and understandable and common.
But that is also back-tracking on his original point — that’s it’s okay to have a favorite and announce it to the whole world. If it were only a case of liking children more when they can interact more than when they are so reliant, it would not have been offensive and sad.
I have personally witnessed families torn apart by “favorites”, with siblings so resentful and angry that they wind up hating their “favorite” sibling or worse, the “favorite” winds up bullying the other child when the parent isn’t looking, knowing they have an elevated place in the house and they can simply bat their eyelashes, claim the other one is lying and they get away with murder. If the parent isn’t there to witness it, they will likely side with the favorite. It’s just the way it is, especially to those who openly state a favorite to begin with.
Furthermore, there is a reason making a definitive statement on which child you like best is considered boorish. It’s called boundaries. It’s called being a parent and not always saying everything you think. It’s about self control and it’s about trying to overcome your preference as a parent and working hard to seem completely love-neutral to your kids because your kids didn’t ask to be born and they didn’t ask you to be their parent. It’s your job to keep you lesser liked child protected from every single thought you have in your head, the same reason you try to keep yourself from calling your child an “idiot” when your child does five dumb things in a row.
Every parent makes mistakes. It’s gonna happen, but failing to see it is to the determent of your kids…not cool.
In case you haven’t heard, Mayim Hoya Bialik, the former child star of Blossom and current co-star of The Big Bang Theory is really into attachment parenting. She took time off from acting and earned her Phd in neuroscience and then she wrote a book espousing the benefits of attachment parenting after she had her two sons, born in 2005 and 2008. Never mind that there is zero proof that attachment parenting produces perfectly functioning and healthy children (as opposed to those who don’t don’t use AP methods) Bialik uses her degree to purport that “intellectually” attachment parenting makes sense.
So, co-sleeping, breastfeeding and extended breastfeeding, home birthing, baby wearing, toy banning (what a kill-joy), diaper banning and gentle, child led discipline is the method for “intellectually” superior folks.
What I find so hypocritical is that Bialik claims that she was less of a mother when she followed a rigid, traditional style of parenting and how baby wearing, co-sleeping and breastfeeding for 20 years (okay, I exaggerate) created the cohesive family unit and zen she was looking for. Good for her, but it’s still a rigid path. It’s a narrow, self aggrandizing, subjective viewpoint which is totally unproven.
Letting your baby, toddler and child determine how to raise themselves, eating only organic food and breastfeeding for 20 years and letting kids shit wherever they want is just as much of a plan as not doing those things.
It’s like, what’s your plan?
That’s your plan? “Nothing?”
Okay, so I guess your plan is nothing.
But that’s not even why I’m writing this today.
I’m writing this because I saw a story on Bialik and about how she’s going back to work on The Big Bang Theory which made me wonder how long she’s been at that. (I don’t watch the show.) Apparently, she’s been working outside the home on this show and many others since at least 2009. Her second son was born in 2008, so that means, gasp, that Bialik didn’t have her sons attached to her 24/7.
I don’t know what it is exactly, but the bitch really annoys me.
I mean really, who cares what Blossom thinks. Who cares about Blossom’s parenting methods? Why is her life any more interesting or credible than anybody elses?
I think I’d much rather be in Team Heather McDonald (comedian) than Team Blossom anyway.
McDonald recently said in a New York Times article:
“Being a mother is part of who you are, but it should not be all of who you are. There is no parenting secret that ensures that your children will grow up and be successful adults. So why would you want to sacrifice your career, your financial security and oftentimes your happiness all in the name of motherhood? To me that is putting all your eggs in one basket, pun intended.
No, I did not breastfeed, make organic baby food or co-sleep with my children. I instead slept with their father, and I am still happily married to him today.”
Saw the above cartoon in the New Yorker last week and had to chuckle. But it got me thinking about what it says about our parenting society and values.
I started asking myself questions…how many parents make parenting choices based solely on appearances or rather, how many parents give the illusion of their parenting ideology based solely on appearances?
Think about it. How many parents have run out for milk in the middle of the night when their baby was sound asleep because they knew nobody would ever notice? How many mothers say they supplement their baby with formula once in a blue moon or only when they’re traveling, yet only nurse once a day if even at all? Who has let their youngster ride their bike without a helmet and then saw a neighbor and yelled, “Hey, you forgot to put on your helmet,” or driven a block out of laziness and didn’t bother buckling their kid in, and decided if caught, they would say, “Oh, my gosh. I can’t believe I’m so sleep deprived I forgot to buckle little Johnny in his carseat!” How many parents buy organic cookies for their delicate flowers and then make sure they work into almost every parenting conversation how they ONLY give their baby snowflakes organic everything?…Look at me! I give my children 100% pure wheat grass juice for breakfast!
Well, if they’re the type of parent in the comic above, we may never know because they’ll never tell. They’d never admit to being an imperfect parent because appearances are everything.
Apparent is the comic’s audience though of those parents who can laugh at themselves and not take themselves too seriously. Guess those are the parents reading ‘The New Yorker’, eh?
Who me? Couldn’t be!
The next time some large family decides that the most ideal location to call a family meeting, chit-chat about future plans while going into extended pause to discuss the days highs and lows, coupled with mixed confusion and rigid inability to walk or move happens at the entrance or exit of a large, highly trafficked area…like, I dunno, Target or a grocery store, rec center or my personal favorite, the neighborhood fair, please!…after purchasing one of these, go up to oblivious pedestrian blockers and blow this in their ears until their eardrums ooze out puss and bleed.
I’m talking about the a-holes who cock block those trying to enter or leave a public place because they lack any modicum of self-awareness.
Just last week, at my younger sons basketball game, a game was going on and standing on the sidelines were no other than TWO families and friends, completely unaware of anybody but themselves, blocking passage for any spectator wishing to gain entry to watch the game. Even with people standing there, waiting for the cock blockers to get a clue, their children just stared at the unamused, goal oriented, silently pleading patrons. It never dawned on them to tell their parents, “Hey old-farty Parental-Units – News-Flash! – GOOTFW!”
Have people always been so self absorbed and moronic that they fail to notice that they’re setting up shop and settling in for the evening smack in the middle of high trafficked areas?
There seems to be a growing trend of lack of self-awareness amongst people and I can’t quite put my finger on what to accredit it to. Is it the ‘me’ generation? Laziness? Or just good ol’ fashion stupidity?
Continuing on with my ‘lack of self-awareness’ rant, the epitome of this human injustice are those parents who take their own version of ‘19 Kids and Counting‘ on the road to grocery shop! As if the grocery store were their private playground, filled with learning moments, free occupational therapy and sweet tasting distractions. But I’m on to you. I’m on to you big time. I believe parents take their entire, extended families to the grocery store for free recreation. A chore that has to be done, so why not kill two birds with one stone and tire out the little bastards so they can watch ‘Spartacus‘ when they get home.
For parents who take their young kids to the grocery store, I have a really good reason for you not to take your 19 screaming kids to the grocery store — YOU’RE NOT THE ONLY PEOPLE IN THE WORLD!
Your kids really don’t enjoy the grocery store and neither does anybody else. It’s rude to other patrons who need to get their shit and get out. It’s rude to the organized shopper with a list who has to wait while aisle 6 gets cleaned up because some snotty kid threw a shit-fit and dropped a jar of spaghetti sauce on the floor. It’s rude because your kids are miserable and screaming.
If I wanted to listen to that, I would have just stayed home.
It’s rude because your teaching moment, “No Sara, you can’t have that, it’s icky junk food”, shouldn’t have to be others disciplinary burden to share in. It’s rude because people have to wait while your kids zig-zag up and down the aisles. It’s rude because you so callously and flippantly waste other people’s time because you are utterly UN-SELF-AWARE.
And because you’re so not aware of yourself, you are now passing that obnoxious, discourteous behavior onto your bratty kids.
Parents. Please. For the sake of humanity and survival of our species, lead by example and teach your kids how to become self-aware.
Guest post by Diane Fairfax
I really didn’t want to have a playdate last week. Had a ton of things going on — school plays, sports and an ailing mother to care for, but no was not an option for one particular mom who apparently lived for having playdates in her very small world reference.
“Emma really wants to come over and play. Can Emma come over and play? Emma loves your daughter. She talks about her all the time. She really wants a playdate. Emma would love to see your daughter outside of school. When can Emma come over and play? You haven’t forgotten Emma wants to play with your daughter, have you?”
I finally consented.
So, then Playdate Mom emailed me Emma’s schedule.
None of my chosen days worked. Emma has soccer, girl scouts, church, other playdates scheduled, school plays, ballet, karate classes and lots of homework.
“Okay, when then?” I asked in an email.
Playdate Mommy said, “Tuesday would be the only day Emma can do it.”
We agreed I’d pick up Emma when I picked up my daughter from school.
She comes over and I’m in the mood to ignore both of them. I have professional deadlines to meet and tons of personal, family drama to get through. My daughter comes into the den and asks me if her and Emma can have something to drink. I wave to her to go away. The ‘whatever’ motion. I’m on an important call.
From the basement I can hear screaming and yelling and running around and banging on the walls. All the sudden Emma starts running all through the house, bouncing off every wall she passes. Emma is now, officially, giving me a ginormous headache.
I count down the 2 hours when her mom is supposed to pick her up. The weather isn’t cooperating with outside play, so I look on as this ADHD kid tears up my house. Even my daugher says, “Wow. She. Is. Really hyper. When is her mom picking her up?”
My daughter then has the nerve to ask me why I allowed Emma to come over. I didn’t have a good answer. My daughter never expressed interest in an Emma/ADHD-playdate.
I had nothin’. No excuses. I certainly didn’t ask her over for my benefit.
Playdate Mom finally arrives at 5:30 pm and finds Emma complete with chocolate all over her face, drinking a Diet Mountain Dew and eating unauthorized cookies. Playdate Mom was not amused. She gasped and read the label.
“Caffeine?” she asked.
“What else have you had?” she asked whenever Emma during the the opportunity she was in view of a blink of eye. Finally, when she was visible enough to be heard between running from room to room, Emma answered in a sing-song voice.
This is when Emma totally throws me under the bus.
“Candy, microwave pizza, cookies and Mountain Dew…”, she shouts while jumping.
“DIET Mountain Dew,” I corrected her, a little ashamed. “And I asked if she was allowed to have these things. It’s hard to keep a non-junk food house with older kids in the house as well.”
I get an disapproving look from Playdate Mom.
Playdate Mom then turns to Emma and says, “You know better than that. You know you aren’t supposed to have that.”
She was visibly pissed off. At me. She shook her head and threw away the can and said that Emma had another friend coming over later, she hoped that she calmed down by then.
Since the incident, I have observed Emma at many school and social functions. She appears to be, uh…busy, even without the influence of Diet Mountain Dew. None the less, I was embarrassed. Surely she was going to tell all the other moms about my playdate fail.
Later that evening, my daughter told me that she never wanted Emma to come over again. When asked why, she said, “We couldn’t even watch anything. She’s not allowed to watch Sponge Bob or the Disney Channel.”
My embarrassment turned honey badger.
The kid can’t watch Disney or Sponge Bob?? Seriously? Gimme a break! What an asshole.
So, here is my advice to playdate extorting moms everywhere…Please accept my memo:
I really can’t be bothered or expected to implement your rules and social and nutritional morals. I can’t be expected to know what your child should and should not be consuming. I can’t be expected to have a gigantic log up my butt which prompts me to censor what my family considers to be acceptable young children’s programing nor can I be expected to serve your kid tofu hotdogs as a snack.
Sure, you may think my parenting skills are lacking and that I really don’t give a shit, and you would be right. I really don’t give a shit about taking on your parenting obsessions.
If your kid comes with instructions, sorry, call someone who cares because my life has many layers.
So, please don’t ask me or other mother’s to watch your over-active, ill behaved child and then expect them to compensate the same way you do. It’s not my problem.
What’s that? You say you won’t ever send your kid to my house again?
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