No matter how humorous some parenting takes are on how hard it is to have kids, we are still putting out there in the world that children are inherently assholes to be endured and not tiny rad people to be shaped and enjoyed. The whole negative attitude smacks of junior high when suddenly to be cool you have to not only not like anything, but must mock anyone who dares to say they do like something.
I get it, it’s cool now to be snarky about kids, about how HARD they are to raise (they are) and how they get in the way of all the fun. I also get that summer is like serious parent boot camp without school to distract them, engage them, entertain them, and you know; care for them.
This week I got not one, not two, but three emails from sites touting articles about how people like me, people who are happy about summer and having the kids around, are just ruining it for everyone else. In fact, these sites inform me we simply can’t be friends, I’m clearly “deranged,” “unstable” and obviously “weird.”
Now, I am not saying those descriptions don’t apply to me, I mean I live with my mother-in-law and like it. I’m not a moron, I know these articles and posts are primarily tongue in cheek, and I am certain that despite years of doing sketch, stand up and physical comedy I will be told I need a sense of humor, but you know what? I think these articles kinda suck. I don’t mean the actual moms who write them suck. I’m certain they are good moms and hey, we ALL need a break. There is no shame in that game. But no matter how humorous these takes may be, we are still putting out there in the world that children are inherently assholes to be endured and not tiny rad people to be shaped and enjoyed.
No, I don’t plan to spend every waking moment catering to their every whim. “Go play outside” will be said at least once every day. There will be trips to the pool sure, but there I get to talk to my friends while they jump in and out of the water and we all play with the baby. There will be fort building, and chasing after the ice cream truck, and reading time and coloring time and staying up late for outdoor movie time. There will be friends invited over to play. So many of my fun memories of summer don’t even feature my mom; she invited my friends over and let us loose within the safety of our home and backyard, and we had a blast! We have our children for such a short while, I’m going to enjoy it and even grin and bear it when Huck says “Play play doh with me” for the 90 millionth time (I hate play doh but I love Huck), I’ll put a blanket out in the yard while the kids swing and I’ll read a book while they dig in the sandbox.
I may escape for a nice bath or a girls night out. Parents need kid-free moments just as much as kids need parent free moments. But I won’t put it out there that hanging out with these people is torture…because it isn’t.
“I can’t imagine what I would feel like if I read an article for God and all to see on the internet saying my mom thought being with me was a prison sentence.”
The whole negative attitude smacks of junior high when suddenly to be cool you have to not only not like anything, but must mock anyone who does dare to say they do like something. I’m over that. Been there, done that, lived through it, not interested in repeating it.
And if you think I don’t have sense of humor, how do we think the kids will feel when they read these posts? We live in a world where we tell them ALL the time that once something is on the internet it will be there forever, and yet here we are putting it out there for them to future Google saying they’re jerks, we don’t care to hang out with them. I’m not speaking of expressing our need for a break, or how we are struggling with parenting or with our child specifically. That is LIFE and that can humanize us to our children, but to have blanket statements saying – “Hey! You who are excited about having your kids home for summer? We can’t be friends because this sounds like hell to me!” – that-although good click bait and SEO, well…that kind of attitude sucks. And I can’t imagine what I would feel like if I read an article for God and all to see on the internet saying my mom thought being with me was a prison sentence.
And those of us who are happy about having our kids around, maybe we don’t want to be your friend anyway. So there.
I’ll see your junior high attitude and raise you to elementary.
Enjoy your summer. I know me and my kids will.
Stephanie Stearns Dulli is alternately confident and riddled with anxiety. Perfect qualifications for the two major careers in her life: once professional actress in LA and now stay at home mom in DC. Since leaving LA and the acting world behind (for now), Stephanie has found other ways to be creative. After starting her blog five years ago, she began working as an on-camera iVoice for iVillage.com. She currently blogs at Stephanie Says about where you will find pop culture, fashion, photography, and is the director of the Washington, D.C. Listen to Your Mother show.
Cross-posted with permission from Stephanie Says … blog.
Image by Stephanie Stearns Dulli, with permission