The Parent Trap

I don’t have a lot of time to think, but, when I do, I like to imagine that I make up for the lost moments by thinking big. I think about how laundry reproduces faster than the constantly pregnant barn cat down the road. I wonder why there are enough crumbs for 75 chicken nuggets at the bottom of a 25 nugget sack. I ask myself how I ended up with a futon as a couch and I pour over the mysteries of the cosmos – Why I am always out of wine? I like to solve the world’s problems while the Earth spins on its axis and my delightful ass spins on a kitchenette barstool. “Let’s get rid of the penny!”, “Arriving at school on time limits your ability to improve on being timely!”, “I’m taking recycling to a new level by using yesterday’s coffee grounds!” and, then there was my Oprah moment this week, “Why are there so many acceptable styles of jeans yet so many “wrong” ways to parent?” If I’m rocking an acid washed, tapered leg, mega-high rise Mom-Jean, would someone walk up and say, “Pardon me, You are wearing pants incorrectly. Have you considered the mid-rise or, perhaps the dark rinse bootcut? Did you see my jeans and how perfectly perfect they are? You should, clearly, buy my jeans. You are doing it all wrong.” Probably not, but, every parent has been on the receiving end of unsolicited parenting advice by mid-rise do-gooders with little thought given to the small detail that the skinny jean does not work on everyone. It’s not one size fits all when it comes to how we parent. And, while you can try to lump parents into groups with venn diagram overlap, we are just as individual as we faithfully teach our children to be. To boldly be the very best version of you with little care for those who can’t accept your uniqueness. Then, we reach adulthood and are told by peers, media and “experts” that our unique best is not good enough.

In these moments, I wish for some version of a relaxed fit, boot (up your ass) cut style of parenting. Whether you made cupcakes for the bake sale or picked up a bag of Fauxreos, you are doing the best you can with what you have. And, I salute you.

I salute you, Mom in PJs at school drop-off. It IS too early and no respectable person should have to wear pants before 8:00 a.m. I dig your skull and crossbones coffee mug and slippers. Don’t you dare be ashamed. Your child is at school, on time, with matching shoes. I salute you.

I salute you, Dad and 9 year old daughter walking the wine aisle together. Your conversation about whether mom wants red or white brought a tear to my eye. I’m considering following you, at a safe distance that complies with the restraining order, just so I can join in on the world class awesome that must be your dinner conversation at your table made entirely out of parenting trophies. I salute you.

I salute you, cry-laughing Mother in the post office while screaming children pulled at your legs. You’re right, parenting is hilarious. Chaos happens. You embrace it. I want to embrace you. I salute you.

I salute you, cloth diapering Mama. Bless you and the hemp, reusable, BPA-free horse you rode in on. You care about our collective carbon footprint and you work hard to counteract the metric ton of diapers I’ve guiltily tossed over the last 6 years. I salute you.

I salute you, PTA Parents. It’s because of you handbooks are written, meetings are attended and, not attended by those who can not or choose not to. Thank you for letting us slow clap in the back row of the Open House and ride your meticulously prepared intro-speech coattails. I salute you.

I salute you, Parents with varying styles, perspectives, gifts, challenges and ideas. I salute those of you who take the time to embrace the beauty in our assorted views. Those who find the common ground, the love of our children, to experience our differences with kindness and acceptance. Those who graciously acknowledge our personal bests without eluding to their “better”. Those who teach instead of preach. I salute you.







Comments

  1. I salute YOU for writing this. Fantastic as usual, and I would love to sit down next to you with a bottle of twist top wine and a package of fauxreos. That is my new favorite word, especially since I had some for lunch.
    Smooches to you…xoxo

  2. Melissa Lane says:

    I love this and so true, in my almost 14 years of parenting I find others either think I’m a mean asshole parent or the other end of I’d never let my kid do that. Damned if ya do and damned if ya don’t, but lucky for me I don’t care I think my we’re doing ok. I love reading your blogs and following you on FB I can relate to you alot. Thanks for writing and sharing!!!

  3. OMG the cloth diapering one was the best. So hilarious. And true! Now someone salute me for getting my kids to school — never mind the time — without blowing a gasket.

  4. I was one of those parents who constantly “shared” unsolicited advice about the benefits of cloth diapers, but I feel that I balanced it out by advising frantic parents in the McDonald’s playland that, yes, fries WERE considered a vegetable so their toddlers would live to see another day. I salute YOU, madam, for seeing the beauty in all of us. Group hug!

  5. Could you be any more awesome or right?! Love your blog!

  6. I love how you started this post with the Judge Denim analogy. And thanks for the reminder to accept parents for who they are and for working with what they’ve got. Question for ya, will you extend that courtesy to Honey Boo Boo Child’s Momma? Yes, Momma. I’ve just gotta know 😉 I mean you’ve gotta give something to her. I guess?

    • Confession – I don’t even know who Honey Boo Boo Child is…but, anyone who would name their kid Honey Boo Boo Child clearly knows how to make moonshine and has to be a fun friend to have around Halloween.

    • First, GREAT POST! Second, Honey Boo Boo is a fat, foul mouthed, spoiled kid on TV–The Learning Channel. She & her even fatter & more foul mouthed mother scare the crap out of me!!

  7. Yeah, I salute you for sharing too!! 🙂

  8. Lol, the cloth diapers!!

    I salute myself for NOT banishing my toddler to her room for an 8 hour Lion King marathon on a regular basis…that’s love.

  9. Another terrifically written post!! I just love stopping in to read what you’ve gotta say.

    The next time I start telling myself what a horrid (soon-to-be) stepmommy I am, I will remember this post and know that I must be doing something right when little man gives me big hugs and kisses, without me having to ask 😉 Thanks!

    http://rantingsofamouthybitch.blogspot.com/

  10. This is so awesome! The jean thing really puts things into perspective. You didn’t mention the breastfeeding mama who whips her boob out at every chance she gets and the formula feeding mama who doesn’t stop for anything and just hands her baby a bottle, because both these babies are getting feed when they are hungry. Can we salute them too?

  11. Favorite line: “Thank you for letting us slow clap in the back row.” This post is hilarious! I am fast clapping in the front row for you and your writing, heck, I am even standing up too!

    Just found your blog, where have you been hiding?? I will definitely be back to read your archives. 🙂

    best,
    MOV

  12. You are the best! Thank you for encouragement and empowerment when I think I’m parenting all wrong! For that I salute you! Hugs!!!

    Tania

  13. Um.. according to Old Navy, skinny jeans do work for everyone. Consider that a dare. LOL at BPA horse. LOL.

  14. THIS. IS. AWESOME.

    Thanks for the laugh.

  15. So I’m going to not write my post then about not wearing your “I Give Up” pants out in public.

  16. I salute you, my friend, and your true to the bone writing. I skip out on PTA meetings and wear PJs in public and ignore my kids while I laugh at them – and I made my parenting trophies into a wine rack. Thanks for supporting me, for supporting all of us – but just in case the authorities aren’t so supportive of my negligence and make me move out, can I crash on your futon?

  17. I love this. Being married at 19 and having a child at 20, I can not tell you how much ” advice” or “your doing it wrong” I get. Huge fan!

  18. I salute u, ur futon & ur bar stool! Thank u for being u!!!! U rock. Big smooches, Cyn
    A.D.D. Music Mamma

  19. As a young, scared mom @20 I tried to heed the advice so freely given, even though much of the time it was contradicting. A new batch of littles @40 and the advice again flows freely only now- I don’t give a shhh umm… Crap 😉 They’re all gonna need therapy anyway!

  20. I salute you for the fauxreos, the take it or leave it attitude, and for the inspiration you have given this new mamma. And I just may love you for it 😉 And I mean the type of love that just may have me turning up on your lawn with a wine bottle and boom box blaring.
    Thank you!

  21. Ahh, yes so well written…So who cares if my mascara goes old before I can use it all, right? At least my kiddos are at school, on time, and we just spent 30 minutes LOOKING for the other shoe…

  22. Hats off to you, GREAT blog post!!

    Teri
    Snarkfest

  23. Awesome post and you had me chanting along “YEAH” YEAH” “I HEARD THAT”…”UMMM HMMMM”

    I love the fact that there ARE parents out there that do not try to be perfect all the time. These are the ones I relate to.

    • Debbie, I love when people chant along! Perfection is a myth and if you ever need to sit by a parent who has nothing figured out at all…you can always sit next to me! I’ll even keep the seat warm for you. Thank you for reading!

  24. Is there anything worse than “unsolicited parenting advice by mid-rise do-gooders”? Gosh, your posts just always leave giggling over your witty phraseology and feeling just so darn much more…normal. And seriously, praise God that consensus establishes pajama pants in the preschool drop off line is the way to go 😉

  25. YES. It’s always good to be deaf when you go out with your kids. Grea post.

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