Modern-day parenting is, in many ways, so much easier than parenting in the past. (Washing machines, right??) But I think some elements of modern life make parenting more difficult than it should be.
Pinterest might be the greatest thing the Internet has ever spawned. I’m also pretty sure Satan created it specifically to make me feel inadequate as a mother.
I used to be good at things. And good was enough. Now it’s “Oh, you want a themed birthday party, children? Let’s see how many picture-perfect cupcakes, perfect handcrafted centerpieces, and perfectly appropriate party games I can pin. Then let’s see how insane I can make myself to create this perfect party—all the while forgetting that you kids don’t really give a flip about perfection.”
But Pinterest gives a flip. And it knows. Pinterest sees all and it knows I’m not achieving perfection. Then it mocks me. Then it makes me come back for more, because I’m just sure I can do it perfectly next time.
Forget Satan. I think a therapist came up with Pinterest to garner more clients.
2) Car Seats
Don’t get me wrong—I’m unbending when it comes to car seat use. They keep our kids safe, and that’s awesome. But wrangling a two-year-old who doesn’t want to buckle up is like trying to pin down an octopus. How do they make their bodies do that? It’s like they can change their weight, density, and surface area at will. Car seats turn kids into contortion artists.
And how about the contortions you have to go through to adjust the straps on those things? I think car seat straps were invented by a chiropractor to get more clients. (Well played, doctors.)
I know it’s unfair, but I’m going to go ahead and blame the agro/biotech/chemical giant Monsanto for all of the annoying complexities of feeding the modern family. The crushing guilt I feel when I buy non-organic strawberries is all Monsanto’s fault. I’m sure my daughter’s gluten allergy is somehow Monsanto’s fault as well. Oh, and the hours of research to decipher whether GMO’s are the greatest or most evil thing to ever hit the planet? All on Monsanto. The fact that I have to use the majority of my critical thinking skills at the grocery store is all on Monsanto, too. Gosh, it feels good to have someone to blame.
4) Miley Cyrus
Poor Miley. She gets blamed for everything, too.
Let’s just use her as a symbol for all that’s problematic about the entertainment industry. That’s a little kinder. Maybe.
5) Attachment Parenting
I feel qualified to call out attachment parenting because most of my parenting choices fall under that label. I’m fairly granola-ish that way. But I’ve seen the insane lengths people will go to in order to conform to some unwritten attachment parenting code of conduct. When you start to feel guilty for weaning your three-year-old, there’s something amiss. I think the problem is in the name. Like parents are somehow DEtached from their children if they choose not to cosleep or occasionally use a stroller instead of a Maya Wrap.
Under this bus I would also throw Alfie Kohn’s book “Unconditional Parenting.” It has some good points, but if you aren’t careful you’ll start feeling like you don’t love your children if you tell them you like the picture they drew. Oh, the horror!
Actually, let’s go ahead and toss all parenting labels and experts out while we’re at it. Did you see Renegade Mother’s post about wanting off all parenting teams? Yeah. That. (Minus the swearing—fair warning.)
6) Electronic Entertainment
Cable TV, 90% of the Internet, iPads, smartphones, Nintendo DSwhatevers, Gameboys, Minecraft, Angry Birds, Caillou, etc., etc., etc. All of these things simultaneously make parenting infinitely easier and infinitely harder.
(Except Caillou, which just makes things harder. If you want your kids to become expert whiners, have them watch Caillou regularly.)
7) Engaging Fiction Plots
When the final Harry Potter book came out, I didn’t speak to my children for two full days. But I’m pretty sure I fed them. Then came The Hunger Games, and there is a distinct possibility I didn’t actually feed anyone during that marathon. I believe my thought process went something like, “Hey, at least you’re not having to fight to the death in an arena with 23 other kids. Make your own sandwich.“
I have no self-control when it comes to reading fiction. If I didn’t limit it, my children would surely perish. And honestly, it would probably take me a day or two to notice.
8) Every Movie Scene Where a Parent Says, “Time for Bed,” Kisses the Kid Goodnight, and the Kid Rolls Over and Goes to Sleep
ALL LIES. Vicious lies and pure, unadulterated fiction. In real life, “Time for bed” is the cue for a torturous hour-and-a-half of nagging, ultimatum-giving, annoyance, and despair.
If you can’t relate, congratulations. But don’t get too big in your britches yet. When our girls were 7 and 3, I’d turn out the light and they’d be out within ten minutes. I was probably terribly self-righteous in those days. I have no idea what happened—perhaps a shift in the poles or a solar flare or something—but bedtime now isn’t what it used to be.
I’d give a million-gazillion dollars to have those breezy bedtimes back.
9) Mommy Blogs
Yes, I recognize the irony here. But the problem with mommy blogs is that we’re all so flippin’ honest with our internal and external parenting struggles, that we’re starting build solidarity among the mothers of the world. In the past, no one really talked about all of this stuff. Now moms are all over the Internet posting about serious challenges like postpartum depression and fake-but-still-true illnesses like kidzophrenia, so moms know they’re not alone.
That might seem like a good thing, but don’t you know that information and camaraderie breed dissent, people?? Pretty soon we’re going to have an Arab Spring for mothers on our hands. WE’RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!!! And then who’s going to care for the children?!
10) The Fickle Hands of Time
Okay, this isn’t so much a modern phenomenon, but that’s sort of the nature of the beast. Time is ALWAYS THERE, but also NOT THERE, especially when you really need it. Time is terribly annoying, flying by when you’re happy and dragging like a wet, three-legged dog when you’re struggling. And it rudely keeps accelerating, no matter what you do to try to slow it down. You want your kids to hurry up and mature, yet you want to freeze them right where they are forever. The days feel like an eternity, but the years go by in a blink.
I love Time and hate Time at the same time. It tortures me. Fickle, fickle, fickle.
Do you share any of these parenting nemeses? Or do you have any of your own to share?