Tuesday, March 4th, 2014
There are some things you tell your kids and some things you ask. Telling makes it affirmative. Asking makes it optional. Coddling comes from the latter–and parents who coddle their kids incessantly are entirely insufferable. Their children will suffer for their actions. We all already do because it pisses off the parents who are doing the right thing. In the last week two instances illustrate this perfectly. Strangely enough, it was both dads. But I find the majority of my encounters of this kind are with moms, simply because there are usually more moms on the playground. Regardless here goes:
Emmett went down the slide and his little car slipped out of his hands. A boy around 2 or 3 takes it. Em runs over, points and says, “Emmett’s car.” He doesn’t grab, he doesn’t push. He waits. I am next to him.
The boy’s father comes up.
“Sean, that’s not your car. Can you give it back?”
Silence. More silence.
Dad leans over.
“Hey Buddy, can you give it back?”
More More Silence.
My mind: Okay, if you’re counting that’s twice you’ve asked in the 30 seconds my kid is waiting. And are you an idiot? No kid wants to give up a toy–even if it’s not theirs– so why keep asking?
“Sean, you really need to give that back buddy.”
Nothing. More Nothing.
My mind: Okay are you stupid? The proper thing to say is, “Hey Buddy, give it back.” You don’t ask if he can. Of course he can. But chances aren’t he won’t. Clearly your kid is not responding to your passive parenting. Duh.
At this point, we are approaching 45 seconds, maybe a minute. I’m done. I kneel down and physically take the car from precious little Sean’s hands, while saying, “We are going to give that back now.” I hand it to Emmett and we resume playing. I’m furious though.
Do you see how ridiculous this scenario is? We have become a culture of coddlers. So many parents take the path of least resistance when it comes to child rearing. Your kids are acting up? Hand them your phone. Your kid doesn’t want to share their pile of French fries (on a playdate)? Have the other parent order a new batch, even though that kid will never finish his. It’s ludicrous.
Two days later, at a different playground, Fia and Emmett climbed up to a double slide. The kind where you can sit side-by-side. One slide was empty; the other had a little girl around 18 months on it. Fia sat down on the empty one next to her.
“Come on Emmett, slide next to me,” she said.
“He will Fia, we just have to let this little girl go down first,” I explained.
I look at the father who looks at his daughter.
“What do you think sweetie? Do you want to go down?” he asks.
Silence. More silence.
Emmett is on the top, once again, waiting patiently.
“Hmmm honey? What do you think?” he asks. Again.
My mind: Are you f–king kidding me?
Silence again. More silence. And more.
Fia: “Mom, when can Emmett come with me?”
Me: “When this little girl goes down. What do you think?” I say, turning to the little girl.
Blank stare from girl while I fantasize about shoving her father off of the nearby jungle gyms.
I turn to the father: “Is she going to go down the slide?”
Father: “I’m not sure. I think she just wants to sit here.”
Me=dumbfounded. Speechless. Um, okay, so you are going to let her monopolize the slide? Are you an ape? What are you trying to teach your kid? And what about my kid who actually wants to use the slide your daughter is meditating on.
I can’t believe I didn’t say something directly to him. I should have. Instead I told Fia to go on down her slide and that we will find another place where she and Emmett can do something together. I said it loudly but that’s not good enough. I should have told him his behavior and “parenting” was inexcusable.
What are these as-hole parents afraid of? That their kids will “freak?” (Which by the way, is a dumb word to use on your kid. ie: Oh, so and so will “freak” if I don’t do xyz. I catch myself using it sometimes and have to remember how much I hate that word in relation to children. I can’t stand the labeling of our kids. Even worse is when you say “xyz will freak” in front of xyz. If you say your kid is going to freak then guess what? They are going to freak. You are teaching that to them.). Are parents afraid they will actually have to do some work as a parent and “make” their kid do the right thing? That their kid might cry (or “freak”) and you may have to be tough? To be a parent? I don’t get it.
Parenting is not easy. So if you sign up, then do the f–king work it entails to not produce overly whiny, cowardly, and/or bratty kids who aren’t taught the basic etiquette of society. The playground is a metaphor for a helluva lot more. So if you can’t teach them on the playground, how will you teach them in real life?
For all their faults, I have a hard time thinking my parents would have stood for any of this bulls–t. For the handful of things I disagreed with in Stephanie Mertz’s viral rant, she had some excellent points. The helicopter needs to crash and we need to press the restart button on proper parenting.
Bottom line: It’s not Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It’s: You Tell, Don’t Ask. Got it?
Do you coddle your kids? Take our quiz and find out what your parenting style is.
Cartoon pic via shutterstock
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bully, helicopter parent, ipad, kids sharing, parents who coddle, playground etiquette, RIE, sharing, Stephanie Mertz | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Moving to Los Angeles, Must Read
Sunday, March 2nd, 2014
It’s early congrats, but I’m thinking it’s a foregone conclusion that Disney’s latest movie will take home the Oscar for Frozen. One of my best friends, Jenn Lee, wrote the movie, then came on to co-direct it. She is a pioneer at Disney–she is the first female director there. Ever. For a company that has been around since the 1930s, that’s a pretty f–king amazing feat (and pretty f–king amazing it hasn’t happened until now. Though of course if it had to wait until 2013-14, I’m psyched that it’s my friend who broke the glass ceiling). Now Jenn is behind a movie that is quickly approaching the one-billion dollar mark. That’s 9 zeros if you can count that high.
Phil brought Jenn on to help him write “Wreck-it Ralph” after doing the initial drafts himself. They met the first day of film school. I’ve written about their journey before with Ralph. But tonight the spotlight is all on her.
She wrote a piece in today’s LA Times about the hardest part of being a female director. It’s not the writing room or the story room or the endless flights around the world (that while exotic can be exhausting, especially as a single mom raising a 10-year-old girl). What’s hardest she says? The red carpet. As in all the things women have to do in order to make themselves look the part. An excerpt:
I certainly didn’t know that a fitting for a proper boostie-yay would involve standing topless in front of three Ukrainian women, while they placed bets as to whether I was a D or a Double-D.
I didn’t know that I had so much to learn (and to purchase, because unlike men, women apparently cannot be photographed in the same thing twice). Since November, I have rarely lived a day that hasn’t involved hair and makeup or shopping or styling, and I now know more about myself than I ever wanted to. I know that my boobs don’t fit, ever. My eyebrows are wild and should be committed. I have a cowlick … and that is bad.
She texted me last night that in her final fitting yesterday they had to build a special harness for her boobs. It’s not easy being a woman on the red carpet.
I shouldn’t cover my shoulders too much because that looks matronly, but I shouldn’t wear strapless gowns either, seeing as I “just don’t have the armpits for it.” I am shockingly short-waisted and yes, one stylist actually used the word “shockingly.”
But amidst it all, it has been a wildly fun ride for her–and for her friends who get to cheer her from the sidelines.
So tonight, when she’s bound to get up on stage and accept the Oscar with her two male counterparts, don’t look at her boobs. Just look at the gigantic smile from a woman who has made history. So proud of you girl!
(Click here for the entire article by Jenn)
Picture of Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, winners of Best Animated Feature Film for “Frozen,” at the Golden Globe Awards show on Jan. 12, 2014, in Beverly Hills. Courtesy Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / January 12, 2014
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Saturday, March 1st, 2014
My friend Elizabeth sent this to me. It made my day. In case you can’t read it, the small print has the little girl saying, “Skip to the part where the princess climbs to the top of the corporate ladder.”
I could have saved my breath in lamenting about the princess culture if I had just seen this. A picture (and short quotation) is worth more than a thousand words. Pass it along!
Cartoon is courtesy of the Feb 17, 2014 New Yorker Magazine.
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Thursday, February 27th, 2014
I find that right around 5 pm, when dinner is looming and the kids are typically at their worst, my mentality starts to shrivel. It’s why I founded The Failure Hour 2 years ago, but have been a terrible president as of late. My backyard has remained devoid of girlfriends, toddlers and wine.
Sure, I’ll get one together soon, but my emotions that go along with this time of day have confounded me. It’s not like getting dinner together and sitting down with the family are a bad thing. Sure, the bedtime routine can be tedious, but it can also be fun.
I realized my restlessness and blah-ness are because while many parents switch gears in terms of leaving work and coming home, my gears don’t really switch. I’m not in a boardroom or an office. And no matter what I’m doing–even if my kids are in school–I’m always wearing my mom hat.
From the caption here, I’m not saying I yearn for either side–the working mom or stay-at-home one (though I’m sure the cartoon will provoke outcry). It’s just that I never have the opportunity to “forget” I’m a mom. Well, except if I’m in Bikram. And dear god, the instructor gets more insufferable each time. The other day she said we could grow an inch by doing a certain pose. Seriously?
I’m not even remotely attempting to have a poor-me, I’m home all day with my kids moment. First, because it’s not true. I’m not home with my kids all day. Fia is in school 5 days a week, Em is in preschool 2 days now and on those days I have a free life to do what I want. Sort of. If you count trips to the grocery store, errands around my area, taking kids to and from school, if I’m lucky a workout (though that’s proved disastrous), meal planning (also semi-disastrous), and, if I’m lucky, a blog post. Thus, the mom hat. I’m not complaining. It’s part of what I signed up for when I slowed down in the career arena and sped up in the mom space.
So I have come up with an experiment to try.
There is a big comfy chair in our living room that we rarely sit on. Around 5 pm, I’m going to sit in it with a cup of tea, a glass of wine–anything that physically tells my brain I am crossing over (not in the John Edward way, of course). I’m going to attempt to sit and do some Sudoku. I know this probably sounds lame, but I need my brain to have some sort of “jolt” to shift gears. It’s a far cry from leaving a boardroom and coming home, but I’m hoping it will train my brain to look forward to 5 pm rather than dread it.
During this time I will unapologetically park my children in front of their favorite show for 30 minutes, which I usually do anyway. I call it our time to regroup. Fia will sometimes say, “Mama, can we regroup today with Daniel Tiger?” I see nothing wrong with this, especially since any show they watch is educational.
I’m hoping this shift, while not drastic, will be enough to take away the antsy, blah feeling. I will let you know. If anyone can relate and has other ideas, I would love to hear them.
Cartoon of mom via Shutterstock
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antsy, evening blahs, failure hour, me time, mom blahs, mom hat, preschool, restless, sahm, stay at home mom, Sudoku, tea, wine, working mom | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips
Friday, February 21st, 2014
I don’t think I knew what nail polish was when I was 4. But in this world, Fia knows it all too well. Her friends all wear it on their nails and toes. When friends of ours with older girls come over, they sometimes want to paint her nails. Phil took the stance stronger than I did in the beginning. No way, he said. But now as she gets a little older, I’m torn.
I don’t want to give into peer pressure, but what is really the issue here? We all know kids grow up faster than we did. The whole world moves and grows faster. So where do I make my decisions and pick my battles?
The other day a friend of hers from school gave her a gift: a purse and a package of pretty water-based nail polishes. Fia begged us to let her put them on. Phil was adamant. I was waffling. But he glared at me and said, “United front.” I acquiesced.
As Fia stood there streaming tears, I took her aside, in what I suspect will be one of many “let mama work on him” talks. I just didn’t expect it to happen this young.
“Fia, look at me,” I said, out of Phil’s earshot.
She did as her tiny lip trembled. This is going to be really hard to watch when there are real issues at stake besides blue nail polish.
“Stop asking about it tonight. Let me talk to daddy when you go to sleep.”
She protested a bit, then listened and dropped the subject.
Once she was in bed, I approached Phil.
“How about we just let her have it on special occasions?” I suggested.
He hesitantly agreed.
Fia slept with her purse full of her polishes next to her.
The next morning you can guess what her first question was.
I gleefully whispered, “Yes, you can do it today. But only today. Then it will be on special occasions.”
Her face lit up and she wrapped her little arms around me. “Oh thank you mama.”
We quickly got to the task at hand.
She wanted every color on every nail, so I had to explain to her how it’s done. In the end, we had a blue pinkie and some semi-sparkly pink and peach nails. It was so much lighter than I thought it would be. It was basically like glitter with a hint of color. In retrospect, hardly worth the argument against it.
But what is it about these “girly” things that make some of us hesitate? When do you allow short skirts? Makeup? Is it that society inundates us with how women can “make” themselves beautiful that make parents like us cringe? We know girls and women face tremendous pressure in this regard. But if you push back too much, then does it backfire? What do you gain?
When I took Fia to school that morning she ran up to her teachers and proudly showed off her nails along with the purse full of polish. After the ooo-ing and awww-ing subsided, she handed me the purse, picked up her “work” (she’s in Montessori) and went back to being the 4-year old that she is.
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