We all know that moms, especially, are regularly subjected to a deluge of parenting advice, pretty much all conflicting, and much of it—can we be honest?—downright impossible. Here’s just one example: When my son was in pre-school, a friend with three grown kids offered me this sage advice: “Don’t ever yell.” Um, what? I’m not a huge yeller; I don’t like to yell; I try mostly to refrain from yelling. But every now and then, after saying the same thing twelve times in eight and a half different ways and getting absolutely no reaction, no look of acknowledgment, not even the subtlest responsive motion out of my kid, I bellow something to the effect of “If I have to say it one more time, I am going to lose it!” And I stand by the necessity of doing that, because if I didn’t, my head would have exploded long, long ago.
Let’s face it: placing these kinds of inhumane expectations on moms, who are dealing with pressure from all sides to be perfect in every sphere of our lives and to never, ever allow our work performance, housekeeping, homework monitoring, bedtime routines, and personal appearance to slip one iota, is just freakin’… well… inhumane. So let’s let up on moms, why don’t we? Instead, I’d like to see some advice directed toward a different demographic entirely: kids.
Yes, kids. Wouldn’t it be great if children, just once in a great while, were held accountable for their own role in the parent-child relationship? There are so many things that seem so common-sensical and yet elude the attention and understanding of so many of our offspring, and I’d like to address some of those right now.
1. Wee Ones, you see Mom buckling under the weight of a huge basket of laundry as she carts it down to the basement, grimacing with disgust as she uses her chin to keep your not-so-charming socks and underwear from slipping off the teeming, stinking pile of nastiness… Or perhaps she’s on her knees, reaching into the cabinet under the sink to tighten a leaking pipe and in the process jabs her elbow on a stray screw or cuts her arm on a shard of glass that missed the garbage bin….Why at this particular moment do you ask for a glass of milk? And after asking her for milk at such a time and having her grit her teeth and tell you, with most impressive restraint, “You are going to have to wait just one minute,” why does it not occur to you the next time to wait uno momento until Mom is no longer occupied to make your request?
I mean, I’m just sayin’.
2. Young and Diminutive Persons, you do understand, don’t you, that when folks are driving they mostly have to pay attention to what’s going on in front of and around them, so as not to miss the changing of lights from green to red, or fail to notice the car in front suddenly stopping? You do comprehend, don’t you, that not getting into an accident is a good idea when it comes to your own personal safety? So why is it that you insist on parents looking at you just as they’re changing lanes or avoiding a freakin’ dipshit who’s in the process of dangerously cutting them off?
“This is the face that Stevie makes whenever he’s called on in class, Mommy. It’s so funny. Look!”
Please just stop it.
Kiddos, you know we love you so, so much. But we are not perfect. In fact, we’re really just kids like you who have lived long enough to be considered “grown up.” At times we’re confused, overwhelmed, tired, or stressed out and we admit that we can and do get it wrong. But we try to do the best we can for you because you are so important to us and we’re committed to you.
So help us out once in a while by remembering that we’re human, just like you. A little forgiveness and assistance goes a long way in this mutual journey we call “parenting” and “growing up.”
Photo: © Merkushev | Dreamstime.com