I’ve been a mom for nearly a decade and I don’t pretend to have the slightest clue what I’m doing. I fully admit that a solid 60% of the time I’m winging it. I’m good about making sure they get plenty of sleep—up until a month ago they both(age 9 and 7) had a 7pm bedtime. Now it’s 8pm when it’s still light, but in the winter, more like 7:30p. You get the point—I know how important it is for them to get a LOT of sleep to grow when they are little. We have dinner early, and even if it’s while we’re watching a new Dr.Who, we’re all eating together. They have homework time, and screen restrictions, and times when I tell them to just go out and play, but I don’t have them over-scheduled and stretched thin. I make sure to tell them I love them about 72 times a day, and I get as many snuggles from them as I can. We have staring contests, tell jokes, make art and have a lot of fun.
Yesterday at dinner my daughter throws this at me: “Mommy, are we a LAZY FAMILY?”
The latest and greatest in mom-shaming that I have experienced is aimed at perceived activity level. Here’s the thing about judging a family from the outside—you might not know all the details. For example, my son has a heart condition and is really limited on physically activity because he could literally drop dead from exertion. This is something I haven’t really shared before because kids react based on OUR reactions to things like this, so I have played it off as no biggie. With luck and faith I am hoping that it’s something he will outgrow, and then he can do whatever he wants, but for now I’m not enrolling him in football. Nor is he interested in soccer or baseball.
Ah, sports. We simulcast football at my work every week. I have watched all the reporting on head injuries, and how starting kids in sports too young can result in greater chances of brain injuries later in life….things like dementia. I’ve seen NFL players go mad–shooting themselves &/or family member, and become hopelessly addicted to pain meds. I hear retired players of many many sports talk about how they will never let their children play because the risks are not worth the reward.
Did I mention that my son is also like the least graceful kid ever? He would rather build and create things, so that is what I’m nurturing in him. Grace doesn’t exactly run in the family, and I was not raised in a “sporty” household–I was a band geek and even that was sometimes overwhelming with all the events and travel time, etc.
Hold on, I need my soapbox before I get started on the time it takes. Late practices, early practices, games that fill up an entire weekend. That just does not work in my life. I work alternative hours–if you’re asleep, I’m awake and at work. It might sound selfish to say some activities we pass on just because we don’t have time, but I really DGAF. Unless someone invents a way for me to survive on a nap or two a day, I can’t be running everyone around because I have to sleep. If I were lucky enough to be a SAHM I would totally have them in more activities, but not only do they end up dominating your schedule…that shit’s expensive! We recently lost 2/3 of our income, so find a short pier for a long walk if you’re going to mom-shame me over things that I literally cannot afford.
My daughter did dance for awhile, and I’ve tried to keep her in it, but she doesn’t WANT to do it. Every time I find something low-key for my son, he tells me “I’m an indoor kid, Mom”. I’m not forcing my kids to do shit they don’t like, when they can stay home, hang out with the parentals and do things they want to do!
I had to sit with this for a bit because it did make me feel like a terrible horrible mother who is failing her children. The truth is that while it may sting at first, all I have to do is remember that this is MY family. We do things the way we want. If you want to talk shit about my parenting, I suggest you don’t do it in front of your kids so I have to hear it–I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life. End of story.