Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Response to "Your Children Want You"

Hello There!

I was perusing my social network over lunch the other day and came upon a link posted by a mother’s group I attend. The link was to a blog post titled, “Your Children Want You.” I decided to take a few moments out of my day to read it. Oh geez. I wish I hadn’t. I was spitting mad about it by the time I read through half the comments.

After a few failed attempts to post to the blog (for some reason, probably because I disagreed with the content, my comments wouldn’t post.), I’ve decided to write my own response.

First of all, I do see the valid points in the post. From my interpretation, there are two points. 1) Your kids don’t care what you do as long as it’s with them, and 2) Crafty websites and blogs can make moms feel inferior and moms shouldn’t because of point 1. 

That makes sense, right? I will agree with that. However, the blog creates some assumptions about what makes “good moms” and “bad moms” and the comments just show how people are interpreting it. I hate to even go down that road. I am pretty loosy goosy with my definition of “good moms.” I’ve seen good moms that stay at home, good moms that work, good moms that do this method of parenting and good moms that do that type of parenting. “Good moms” is such a relative word to the situation at hand. I mean, I suppose there are some things we can agree on. If you abuse your child, you’re *probably* not a good mom. Although, to be honest, I hate to even say that absolute, since there might be a mom out there that is abusive because they are sick and need medicine or treatment. Anyways. My point is, when it comes to parenting, absolutes are a big trap. We all want to use them, but in reality, they don’t exist.

So, I want to address some of the inferences that this post and the resulting comments made.

(1) Time Management.

There is this tone of SOCIAL MEDIA IS EVIL AND SUCKS TIME AWAY FROM YOUR CHILDREN AND THEY WILL GROW UP TO BE TERRIBLE MEMBERS OF SOCIETY. RUN! DELETE YOUR ACCOUNTS! Well, the article doesn’t actually say that, but if you read the comments under it, you would certainly think so! I don’t know about other parents out there, but there are times where my children aren’t around. For example, I highly doubt my pinning after my daughter goes to bed is going to make her steal things in 10 years. Or, you have to be honest with yourself, there are times when your kids don’t want to play with you.  My daughter is not a fan of dancing with me. If I attempt to start dancing with her, she pushes me and says “No!” Speaking of which, maybe my Pinterest account is making her act so aggressively. Or the fact she’s two with an attitude. I digress.
Instead of blaming these websites, take some accountability for your time and actions! When you join Pinterest, there isn’t a blood sacrifice requiring you to spend so much time on it a day. If you’re ignoring your children, stop. And if you can’t stop, you have something called an addiction, and you need professional help. The website isn’t to blame. I mean, I understand it’s AWESOME, but I still find time to bathe my daughter and eat and sleep.

(2) Evil Craft Moms!

In the article and in the resulting comments, several people refer to the “Perfect Pinterest Mom.” Usually it’s referred to with what I can only imagine is a metaphorical sneer. Those moms who would rather put spices in magnetic jars than feed their children, or those moms that make fun designs out of food instead of taking their kids to school. Wait, you don’t do that? Well, guess what. I have one of “those crafty moms.” She did that before there was Pinterest. I know. How is it even possible? My mom didn’t have to make Mickey Mouse or Minnie pancakes. I certainly would have loved her even if she didn’t. But I felt special that she would take the time to make the bow on Minnie. It’s been years and years since I had a Minnie pancake, but I still remember it and appreciate it and can’t wait to do it for my daughter.

I know I don’t have to do “special” crafty things for my children’s love. But it’s that love that makes me WANT to. I want to let them know that I feel special, because they love me, and I want to spend my time doing something special for them. I didn’t make my daughter a growth chart because I wanted to “buy” her love. If I did, that would be a really poor choice. It would much more appreciated and economical to buy Oreos. I made her a growth chart because 1) I like to make things. It’s my hobby and makes me happy, and 2) I look forward to the day when she’s an old maid in high school and I can go on and on about how I can’t believe how much she’s grown while she says “Mom, you’re embarrassing me in front of my prom date!”

In the post and the following comments, moms talk about the guilt that comes from not doing all things crafty. Well, I’m sorry moms feel that way, but that’s nothing new! Moms have envied mothers with children that sleep through the night, wash their hands and say “Please” for decades. That guilt comes from nowhere but yourself. I have never read a blog post or seen a pin that says, “IF YOU DON’T DO THESE CRAFTY OVER THE TOP THINGS YOU ARE A TERRIBLE TERRIBLE MOTHER!” Of course, that’s an exaggeration (I live in exaggeration), but I have never even seen a passive aggressive dig to those who don’t craft! I don’t post my crafts to show off to those moms that don’t make them. (If I did, I would be a poor show off…especially considering my CraftFail project). I post them to pass along the ideas. It saves time and energy. You know how many times I’ve had a problem and been racking my brain for a solution and then ta da! Pinterest has a solution for me! (Who knew that water I was using on the microfiber couch was making it worse? Rubbing alcohol is the solution?!?! Thanks Pinterest!)

(3) Craft Project = NO KIDS ALLOWED

                This perception came more from the comments than the actual post itself, but apparently there are people out there that think if you’re doing projects, you’re avoiding your children. I would say, have you ever done arts and crafts with your children? Arts and crafts are fantastic for children. They can learn how to use fine motor skills, and artistic abilities (no matter how lacking) should be nurtured. Why in the world is there a perception my children are locked up while I’m doing my project? 

I have pictures of my daughter trying to fix a chair long side of me. This is great! It teaches her how things work. She gets to use new things in new ways. I want to expand her mind to new things. My mother used to make my Barbie clothes. I started sewing right alongside of her. It’s a hobby we share together. I know several moms that share quilting with their daughters. Expand this thought to cooking. How many daughters learn how to cook alongside of their mothers? (I unfortunately did not and to this day avoid the kitchen like its detention.) Craft projects can be a wonderful way to have alone time or a great way to spend time with your children.

That brings me to another point. There is no reason that mother’s shouldn’t get “me” time. Some moms might be able to spend ever second with their child. I needed some alone time (especially when I was a stay-at-home mom). I need time to see friends, to talk about adult things and probably have a glass of wine or two. My children BENEFIT from this. A happy mom is a better mom. If doing a craft project with my craft club helps me keep my patience with my daughter, I think it’s time well spent. My own mother was a stay-at-home mom for a long time. She didn’t get to see friends or get out of the house. You cannot imagine the difference going back to work made for her. As her daughter I appreciated the chance to see her become independent and happy in her own self. We owe it to our children do what we can to be good mothers and that might include not spending every second with them.

My last point. I will admit that the article does not say this and doesn’t hint at it. However, the comments underneath allude to this. Working mothers shouldn’t be working and should be spending time with their children. I cannot tell you how crazy angry this makes me. I am the provider in my family. My child can eat food because I work. I will not be ashamed for spending time working. When I was in law school, we had a judge say that if you want a family you cannot have a career. He probably finds it difficult because he’s a man and wasn’t born with the amazing multitasking abilities mothers are born with. (I kid! Men can multitask if they really really try. ;) ) Technology is also a wonderful way to stay connected. I take a break from work to Facetime with my daughter. I can work on work things from the comfort of living room. Being a working mother is not a dirty word.

So, I know it’s a bit of a soapbox rant, but it’s much better to take a second to write it here than continue to yell at my iPad as I try to post an autocorrect atrocity of a comment on the blog and then never see the comment come into existence.


Unknown said...

That article made me upset too. My mom worked part time, and the rest of the time she was home with me. However, she wasn't sitting on the floor playing patty cake all day long, and it's a good thing too. All the best memories I have of childhood are the special things my mom did for me.

The handmade quilt, the multiplication games, the time she put together the school Halloween party, and the beautifully home cooked meals she made every day. I don't remember the days we just hung out around the house or when she was napping, I remember the days we did something creative together. My mother in law did nothing crafty with her sons and used her health as an excuse to be a lazy parent, and my husband has no good childhood memories that involve his mom.

Honestly, that article seemed like a list of personal insecurities.

Trust me, I understand that there are days when you're tired, or you're not inclined to make something special. But a mom should never put down other moms who do put in extra effort, especially in order to make herself feel better. It's just not right.

Bethany said...

That article was written to make moms who don't do cute activites with their kids feel better about themselves. It's very unfortunate that moms feel the need to compete with other moms. If we all stuck together and supported one another, just think of what we could accomplish! Blogs, pinterest, etc. are great tools to connect with other moms. It's really all about time management. Like you, I try to only use the computer when my kids are sleeping.
You are a great mom, Krista! I was able to witness some of your handywork this morning when I watched Lila paint. While the other kids her age were going crazy and making a mess of themselves, Lila was painting with such focus and precision. She knows how to hold a paintbrush and make something beautiful, because her mommy taught her!

Unknown said...

Thank you Bethany! I don't want it to come across that I dont support moms that don't do crafts...I have plenty of friends that don't but they are talented in something else that they share with their children in their own way. I just felt defensive after reading the article and the comments about being a Pinterest mom!
And Lila also does messy very very well. We got colored bubbles on Sunday and used the entire container and then used the bubble mess with our sidewalk chalk paint for an even more awesome mess. :)

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