Here we all are, still alive. Good job, Mom and Dad.

Stand Up Saturday: Parenting

Welcome to another installment of no holds barred, profanity-laced, semi-comedic rants straight from my rambling mind.

stand-up

Today’s Topic: Parenting

Being a parent these days is such a drag. You try to stick to rules like no glue-sniffing, no shoving kids off the slide and for god’s sake, how many damned boogers have you eaten today?

As if this wasn’t draining enough, then I’m expected to teach my kids this stuff too? And for what?

In spite of all this saintly parenting, they defy you by growing up and discovering Facebook. Suddenly being popular is more important than making me dinner.

Whatever happened to solid parenting? Whatever happened to raising our kids to be respectful? Whatever happened to having your kids take out the trash so you won’t have to?

I grew up in the 1970s, a time when parents were just shadowy blobs off in the distance that occasionally grunted or barked orders your way.

I try to remember what my dad was like when I was a kid and all that comes to mind is a fuzzy image of him smoking a cigarette in his recliner. Sometimes he’d lower his eyeglasses and shoot me a look of disapproval. That was his parenting style.

Go on. Make. My. Day.

Go on. Make. My. Day.

My mom was merely a swish of apron rushing around the kitchen.  Sometimes she’d look down at me, shake her head with disgust and yell, “Darla!” This was her parenting style.

It wasn’t their mission to entertain me. It wasn’t their mission to teach me about life. They just lived their lives and I watched them. The single best way to learn anything.

My parents didn’t read a parenting book informing them how to raise a child. Back then it was all about one thing: Keeping you alive.

Here we all are, still alive. Good job, Mom and Dad.

Here we all are, still alive. Good job, Mom and Dad.

Mom and Dad taught us to follow four simple rules:

  1. Don’t eat shit you find on the ground.
  2. Don’t beat up your brother.
  3. Don’t beat up your sister.
  4. Don’t run into traffic.

That was it.

Welcome to Parenting in the 1970s.

images (2)

So I’ve made it my mission to not be a helicopter parent but more a recliner parent. I strive every day to adopt a parenting style that uses much less time or energy.

I’m myself.

I just go about my day and do my thing. My kids watch how I act, then they figure out what are the right or wrong things to do in life.

Of course, this puts a lot of pressure on a parent to actually be a good person and show it to their kids through their actions. (And I admit, it’s a lot harder to sustain this illusion when they catch me wearing my bathrobe and tunneling through my third block of cookie dough while binge-watching The Big Bang Theory.)

But face it, kids are much smarter than us. We need to give them more credit.

Need help with your homework? Figure it out on your own. Fighting over a toy? Figure it out on your own. Your brother’s stuck upside down in the toilet? Don’t flush.

My main rule? Unless there’s blood, don’t bother me with it.

Is this lazy parenting? Hell yeah! But in the long run it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. Less is more, people.

We all need to get our priorities straight, stop concentrating only on our kids’ academic achievement and more on simple social rules of respect and kindness. I worked at an elementary school for years and it was all about one thing: How the kids hold their scissors. Hey, I’m a big fan of improving our fine motor skills, but what about modeling good behavior?

imagesCAWVF6WO

Oh, crap! He’s not holding them right! His pinky’s all screwy! He’s not cutting straight! We must rectify this immediately! Sure, now he’s trying to stab Timmy’s leg with the scissors, but is it in a straight line?  We have to make sure he can cut paper or Timmy’s leg properly! If we don’t teach him now, how will he survive out on the streets?

Naturally, the teachers think showing our kids how to behave should be the parents’ responsibility. And the parents pass the buck onto the teachers. This world is filling up with people who don’t know how to treat other people. It’s all about statistics and standardized test scores and landing a sweet job and making enough money so you can hire someone to cut paper for you.

But why even bother going to school anymore? Ever notice that nowadays everybody’s kid is ‘brilliant’? Last week, my new neighbor dropped by and introduced me to her 6-year-old son.

“This is Liam. He’s a genius. I homeschool him to give him the attention he needs because he’s WAY too smart for public school.”  The words ‘public school’ dripped out of her mouth like she was saying ‘genital herpes’.

So I leaned down to his level and asked, “Hey, kid? What’s the square root of I don’t give a shit?”

Not really, my parents taught me manners. But I almost asked him because I really wanted to know the answer.

My guess is bullshit times infinity.

Instead I said, “Hey, buddy! What’s up? You like Hot Wheels? Or Super Mario?”

Liam responded by kicking his mom in the shin then sticking his pinky in her face and whining, “My finger hurts! Kiss it! Kiss my boo-boo! It hurts! I’m gonna dieeeeeee! Get me a Band-Aid! IT HURTS, MOMMY!! GET ME A BAND-AID! RIGHT NOW!”

images (3)

Oh, he’s a genius all right.

I wonder if he knows how to cut in a straight line.

***********

Like this? Here’s more:

Stand Up Saturday: Pain

Stand Up Saturday: Marriage

About these ads

84 comments

  1. As a parent and a teacher, I couldn’t agree more! You go girl! My parents were very laid back and I try to let my kids do he work – my wife on the other hand is a helicopter….I’d rather they fail now than later…. I hope you have a great day

    1. Exactly, failing is good for you. It builds character and teaches you how to adapt and learn from your mistakes. It only took one time for my brother to realize it’s not a good idea to throw a metal spike through his younger brother’s bike’s tires (it instead went straight into my brother’s foot)

  2. Amen! I’m getting you a La-Z Boy for Christmas – it’s going to have a speech-recognition remote that’ll go directly to “Big Bang Theory” as soon as you ask it math equations like the one above.

    P.S. – Love the new blog theme!

    P.P.S. – I failed scissors in kindergarten. Thanks for the reminder. <—But at least I learned manners. You're welcome. See?

    1. To this day I do not hold a pencil “correctly”. My fingers are too claw-like. Soooo many teachers would slap my hand when I was a kid. Turns out, the way I hold my pencil isn’t the end all-be all of existence.

      Glad you like the theme! It only took me over three years to find the “right” one.

  3. This was a classic.

    It is what I’ve been saying about parenting for sooooooooo long. I grew up, it’s your turn, kid!

    I do hope one day that you recline back on that new kid’s head and smush some manners into it …

    1. Yeah, it’s your turn to grow up, kid. I love that. This is how I approach other things in life too, like religion. I tell my kids, “hey, you go and figure out what you believe in, it’s not up to me to force it down your throat.” My own parents and my grandparents did the same with me and I ended up developing my own strong spiritual beliefs by exploring all sorts of different religions. Less is more.

  4. Yep, how are they ever going to learn to survive out there if we sort everything out for them right? And being nice is more important than being right. And I love the new blog look! And that’s the end of my comment. Apart from this bit.

    1. Yeah, when I was still growing up, I rode a bike without a helmet and without any pads or anything. If you fell you fell, got up and just went further. I’m not saying that protection is bad, but kids nowadays are just growing up way too sheltered. This is just one little example, you can go much further. The more you protect them from things that would not necessarily hospitalise them, the less they end up knowing.

      1. True, my parents really weren’t very concerned even if bleeding was involved. My brother once threw a metal spike into my other brother’s foot and my dad just pulled it out and told him to go put a washcloth on it.

  5. Plaid suits you, D! But you already knew that.

    I agree with your rant – recliner parenting instead of helicopter parenting, manners instead of academics. And who needs scissors?? Just use your teeth, like my mom taught me. Duh.

    1. Many a time I’d struggle to open up another block of cookie dough with scissors only to start swearing, then biting off the wrapper. Scissors are so overrated.

      The great thing about recliner parenting? I get to sit in a recliner. Reclining’s good.

    2. Yep, the plaid is me, RP. Thanks. My last theme was much too dark, serious and brooding for my taste. I needed to lighten things up a bit. Now if I could just add a few cups of coffee in the design I’d be set.

  6. “Of course, this puts a lot of pressure on a parent to actually be a good person and show it to their kids through their actions.”
    So true!

    Or you dust off the oldie but goodie line, “Do as I say, don’t do as I do.” And that just about covers every possibility.

  7. Shadowy blobs in the distance is how I remember my parents. This was absolutely perfect. I teach lots of helicoptered kids…they all have a sweet case of “learned helplessness.”

    1. Learned helplessness–so true! The older I get, the less I do for my kids. My son wants toast? well he can make it himself. Sure he’ll probably end up burning the house down but that’s a chance this lazy ass is willing to take.

  8. Your parents’ rules can probably be applied to almost any life situation. Also, thank you very much for this perspective on parenting. I think my parents were much the same way with me (I was the youngest of four, so by the time they got around to me, they were pretty much checked-out) and, to be honest, teaching myself how to use scissors is probably what has kept me moderately functional.

  9. You are 100% correct- kids are smart. If you leave them alone, they will figure a lot of things out. When they get hungry enough, they learn how to microwave some popcorn or a hot pocket. Yes, there are a few things I’ve have to work on, like having the kid collect the trash throughout the house, and take out the barrels. But I’ll let you in on an amazing secret, if you are injured and have to remain seated with a foot or two up for let’s say, 2-3 months, it’s amazing how capable you will find your kid.

    As always, you brought a welcome chuckle to the beginning of my day.

    1. I bet you didn’t know how much your son was capable of until you were stuck recuperating. After my last surgery, I wasn’t able to make my kids lunch and my son actually made himself and his sister lunch no problem. I’m thinking I should let him do my taxes next year.

  10. Always so funny and insightful. I grew up under the rule of an Evil Step Mother whose favorite thing to say was “Children should be seen and not heard”. Ugh!

  11. Spot on, Darliciousness! As a teacher of 6th graders for 2.5 months, I see why the kids I used to get at the alternative HS arrived there. Oh, and I was transferred back to my old HS because they’ve been short staffed and the supt. finally decided to do something about it.
    Yanked me out of my 10 week bootcamp and started back at a very different HS last week. Just in time for my father-in-law’s final days, me getting sick, and the bereavement days this week. A nightmare of stress upon me.
    You’re so right – kids do not learn or practice respect and kindness. Sadly, it’s because too many of their parents don’t either.

    1. I firmly believe kids are like sponges and will directly soak up any behavior they see they’re parents doing.

      Sorry you’re had such a trying time of things lately, Tar. Very sorry for your loss of your father-in-law.

    1. My grandparents had the same rule. They were also very open-minded and let us figure things out for ourselves. But above all, they treated everyone they met exactly the same, with the utmost respect.

  12. Kids are washable and most of the time, if one gets a hole in it, the hole closes itself.

    The only thing I’d add on ’70′s parenting is that they had to show you that warning about LSD on temporary tattoos with Mickey Mouse on them.

  13. Hi Darla, you maineiac-
    Love your blog! This post is hilarious and right on the money. I grew up in the 70′s, and there was no “parenting.” Just survival mode.
    Yikes – I had five brothers, too! How could my Mom “parent”? Seriously, if we weren’t bleeding from the head, she was too busy.
    Can’t wait to read more! I’m excited to have found you – funny female bloggers are my thing!

  14. Love the new theme here, Darla! Plaid is the new plaid!

    I swear, every single post I read about parenting makes me never want to be a parent. Everything sounds so frightening…

  15. It was easier when raising my kids who are 22 and 24. I pretty much raised them like I was raised except we had and still have much better communication. They can tell me anything.

      1. I found a technique for that with my son. I would sit him down for a snack after school and ask 20-200 questions. There would always be one that would unlock the door. :)

  16. There ain’t no right answers. There’s just all my seemingly-wrong ones. My rules are no good. My follow-through is no good. My conviction is weak! But I love it all and as long as we do our best, what more is there?

  17. My mom’s #1 rule about calling her at work: “Don’t do it unless you’re bleeding or almost dead.” She also told us to sleep everything off no matter what it was. Bad day? Pneumonia? Cramps? Self-loathing? Just sleep it off!

  18. Helicopters are nothing compared to the Stealth parents I have encountered. My son had a friend with a mother that was right up his ass….drove me crazy. They were playing trucks in the dirt by my house and she was standing over them watching every move. My son, who was 4 turned around and shouted “stop watching us!” He was labeled a “hooligan” from that day on. I was in the house periodically watching them from the window like a “bad mom.” My parents would probably be reported to the authorities the way things are today! The 70′s rocked!!

    1. Oh I know, I can’t even imagine my parents trying to be a parent in this day and age. They’d be considered horrible parents. Nowadays we try to butt in and do everything for our kids to prevent them from ever experiencing anything remotely negative. It takes so much energy and just sets kids up to be hugely disappointed when life doesn’t hand them everything on a silver platter later on in adulthood.

  19. Really trying to work on this idea with my own kids. As a teacher who has seen the effects for years of children who are all but neglected, I spent three years giving my first child all the attention and affirmation that I possibly could whenever I possibly could. Then #2 came and I realized that:1) I don’t have time or energy for that with a second, and 2) #1 is four years old and has no idea how to play alone. Or be alone. What a disservice. So now I’m learning to say the words, “Not now, I’m busy,” and hoping that #2 turns out better.

    1. I still spend tons of time with my kids and give them the full attention they deserve. I make sure they know how important they are to me and I will drop whatever I’m doing to just be with them and play with them. But I’m also trying not to interrupt them constantly to do things for them. I think it’s all about striking that good balance that works for your family.

  20. I feel like I waited so long for my kids to grow out of the dependent phase–needing to be spoon fed, having diapers changed, etc.–that I’m just glad they can finally do things on their own! If they can do it when I’m not around, they can do it for themselves when I’m here.

    1. Exactly. Five days a week, I’m in class and my husband is at work so my kids are home alone for an hour after they get off the bus (my mother lives in the same house so technically they aren’t really alone) But I am impressed by how much my son is capable of in taking care of his sister for that hour every day. He makes her a snack, he’s responsible and growing up to be very independent at 11 years old.

  21. I just had a similar conversation with a coworker this weekend. Her kids are are all adults now, and can’t stand on their own two feet. She admitted that she screwed them up, by coddling them too much and giving them everything they wanted. She even said she would act as a servant, should they need a glass of water….etc! She said she won plenty of mom of the year awards when they were younger, but she said it isn’t worth it now! She still pays for everything for them, including phones and gas…even though they have full time jobs! Plus they all live at home still! That’s enough to make me want to parent from the recliner too! :) great post!

  22. This is spot on and perfect! Seriously so many parents worry and do so much for their kids… I remember learning at like 5 to make my own PB & J sandwiches while my mom napped all the time. Just took moving a kitchen chair and climbing up on the counters. The start of my independence… and finding out where they hid the candy!

  23. Your plaid is making my eyes spin, that’s not a bad thing, I’m just gonna watch it a while…

    I had planned on saying something…it was something drawing on my vast experience of having no kids….what was it…

    People overthink it, unless they really believe their kids are the second coming of Christ. The kids I’ve seen most of aren’t my own nieces, my nieces have been brought up great, encouraged to pick themselves up when they fall over, scolded when needed to, told to do something themselves when they needed to. But all the time loved.

    The ones that get me riled are my colleagues kids, so wrapped in cotton wool they have to rush home to the emergency room if the nanny says they sneezed, or indulged in every hobby they want to do, yes it’s great to encourage things but it’s bordering on them getting whatever they want. Fencing lessons?!

    Working here for 15 years I’ve seen them grow up to adulthood to not work since parents are wealthy and no pressure is on them to fend for themselves. And I get a call once a fortnight when they lose a phone or their travelcard and I have to cancel them and get replacements. Or when they are on holiday with the parents and get bored so I have to organise flights back for them.

    Can you imagine? I never went abroad til I was 23, I would have loved to have gone away had we the money growing up, so to see these kids bored of it and knowing they can get a flight out that day drives me loopy.

    Kids have reached adulthood without responsibility, if they know if they lose a phone it’s no big deal as someone will sort another one isn’t the way to do it, there should be consequences, at least to sort it out themselves and they may take more care in the future.

    I may have grown up without having gadgets gifted to me, I may have had to cook my own dinner when my parents were both at work but I’m much prouder for the things I achieved myself (even if that includes many mistakes like getting into debt, being arrested). But I’ve grown and learnt myself, and that was a good deal to do with the way I was raised.

    I’m gonna giggle at your genital herpes line one more time now. :-)

    1. The plaid is a tactic to get my readers into a semi-hazy state so they’ll be mesmerized enough to keep reading my posts. Now that you mention it, the plaid is kinda swirling around now..

      You said it all with: People overthink it, unless they really believe their kids are the second coming of Christ. EXACTLY. I think we fall into that trap of believing our kids are too special and therefore we have to make sure they never experience anything negative in life so we shelter them and coddle them and overthink everything. It’s really not a good thing once they grow up and realize, uh oh, guess what? the world doesn’t give a shit.

      1. Then again I molly coddle my cat, just aswell she’s not a child or I would be reported, it’s probably abuse to overfeed them and make them as tubby as Lily

      2. Aw, I bet she’s happy, though. My last cat was an orange tabby named Conan and he was a bit on the hefty side as well. He used to say to me in his best Cartman voice “I’m not fat, I’m big-boned.” (yeah, he could actually talk if I wanted him to…)

      3. Of course they talk! My mission is now to open a cattery, after researching ones near where I will be moving too, they are like prisons. Nearby are such affluent areas too, surprised they don;t have a good one to cater for them. All I need is a £2 million property to house them in

  24. My parents were definitely recliner parents and it totally worked. They never once harassed my about my homework, because I was too busy doing it on my own because I was desperate to get out of that boring place! Boredom just might be the key to achievement.

  25. Oh, HELL yeah. You nailed it again, Miss Darlinkidinkidoo. I tended to helicopter more than I should have with my kids – more recliner is better, except for that part about modeling kindness, courtesy and respect for others.

    What the world, needs now…is love, sweet love…that’s the only thing, that there’s just…too little of. What the world, needs now…. That little brain worm is my gift to you along with wishes for a Happy, Happy Thankgiving!

    ps. Love the snazzy new look around this joint.
    pps Sorry I’ve been AWOL. Life is swamped.
    ppps Still love you.
    pppps Are you supposed to keep adding “p”s when you keep adding post scripts?

    1. I admit I was the worst helicopter parent with my firstborn. But I wised up after a few years when I noticed how exhausted I was mentally and physically.

      Hope you and your family had a good thanksgiving, Pego!

      P.S. The plaid is nice, but it’s starting to hurt my eyes.
      P.P.S. no worries, I’m taking a long break myself in December. Too much going on!
      P.P.P.S. Love you, too!

  26. “This world is filling up with people who don’t know how to treat other people.” And it’s only going to get worse, I’m afraid. Keep fighting the battle, Darla. You’re one of the good guys.

  27. My parents seemed to strike a good balance between being present and giving me and my brother space to figure things out. There’s a photo in the family album of my three-year-old self standing on a chair at the kitchen counter, drenched in Freshie (it’s like alternate Kool-Aid). There was a tragic coincidence of drink-based centrifugal force and a split-second loss of balance that resulted in the entire jug being emptied onto my onsie pjs.
    For a long while, teachers were my enemies because they were interrupting me with trivialities, or unable to answer simple questions. When learning to use scissors, I asked my teacher whether I should cut along the inside, outside or middle of the thick guideline. She told me to pick, and I told her that it was her dumb assignment, could she just set an expectation.

Tell me about it.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s