Parenting is instinct for me, but it appears that for some of my peers this is just not so.
The parents who waited until the biology almost came to pass. The threshold of high-risk, the fear-inducing forced marker where they were “ready” to start a family, or, when it must have finally sunk in that they weren’t actually going to set the world on fire so their mind twisted its self-absorbed direction and like a Phoenix rising in their womb, the most perfect human to ever live was made. And then the rest of us have to suffer the existence of every embarrassing mommy blog that results from these perfect births. These people have zero instinct, it was taught out of them, replaced with the insecure entitlement of having many masters degrees that never even got them a job they’d actually want. They know diddly squat shit about Character Strengths and Virtues (look it up) and will make a generation of people who are Frankenstein versions of themselves, licking every imagined tiny wound or slight they receive, all the while forgetting about the seven billion other humans here on Earth. Well not me, and not my kids.
What kind of radical crazy-ass mother am I, you ask?
I don’t care where my kids go to school. Blasphemy! I don’t, or I don’t right now. They’ll learn how to read and write just fine and if they have any of me in them, they’ll be freaky good at math. The things I want them to know I have to teach them myself.
MQA presents its parenting style or what would Pippi Longstocking would have wished her mother could have taught her if she hadn’t died.
Lesson One: Tell it like it is. When my six-year-old asked me in a small voice if ghosts were real, I replied, “How should I know? I don’t even know what the hell we are doing here.” She slapped me on the back, laughed and ran off, fear removed.
Lesson Two: (this is huge) Just because somebody said something, that doesn’t make it true. There are no words that will empower my kids more than these when their friend or classmate hurts their feelings. “Your shirt is ugly” or “so and so doesn’t like you.” It works like a light switch, power restored.
Lesson Three: What you believe is your business. My four-year-old is a self-confessed child of science, she doesn’t believe in God or Santa. This brought my six-year-old to tears, fearing something bad would happen to her sister. I told her to mind her own damn business. They are both entitled to process what they are told and see with their own eyes and form their own beliefs. This goes for everyone, they better respect other people’s beliefs, for it is none of their business what somebody else thinks, especially on the other side of the world.
Lesson Four: Don’t listen to the guy whose voice you hear above you in CVS, he’s trying to trick you. Especially when he says on Veteran’s Day, “Support the troops today and get your flu shot!” After I loudly said, “Jesus fucking Christ!?!” in disbelief, wondering who exactly was cashing in on that one or was it a splitzy, I bent down and looked at my girls, pointed up to his voice and told them he was a liar, and don’t ever let anybody make money off of you by pulling your heart-strings. And… just get the flu.
Lesson Four. On the playground look around, if one kid is being left out or shy, include him if you feel like you can. Never join a group of people and pick on somebody, and if you see it happening and feel brave enough, bust it up and always stick up for the weak or outnumbered. (This is the most important lesson of all.)
Lesson Five. When my daughter came home from kindergarten and said a kid tried to cut her arm with those puny little kid scissors two days in a row, I thought good, and told her to speak up for herself. “Tomorrow, look him in the eye and tell him he’s not allowed to do that to you and then tell your teacher.” I’d rather her learn how to defend and stick up for herself at 5 then 25. Plus, something’s always bugging a bugger, ask him what’s making him so angry if he’s your friend.
Lesson Six: Eat what is put in front of you, don’t complain and say thank you. If somebody took the time to buy and cook food for you, learn to be grateful and have respect. This is perhaps the toughest one to enforce.
Lesson Seven: Magazines are stupid.
Lesson Eight: Don’t steal someone’s thunder. Jealousy is ugly. Be happy for other people when they get a compliment or achieve something. Compliments are not passed around like Halloween candy. When it’s your turn, you’ll want your friends to be happy for you.
Lesson Nine: Buy them and their friends candy and chocolate and tell them to scram regardless of the other parent’s rules about sugar. The coolest adults when I was growing up handed you dollar bills and candy and told you to scram. They didn’t discuss how to deal with getting hit by a ball for two hours.
Lesson Ten: This is for the parents out there who forgot they are adults with beautiful, glorious minds… find an interest other than your kid. All this attention you are giving them, either because you wish you got this kind of attention or feel so pressured to parent like every other dip-shit who obsesses over their kid’s happiness, is going to cause your kid to grow up and be really disappointed that the world doesn’t find them nearly as fascinating as you do. They will end up hating you for it. Back off, step away from your kid, and get a grown-ass hobby. Let them figure out how to entertain themselves with their own beautiful, glorious minds.
For us, most of this works out. Of course they fight me and don’t always understand, but it’ll all stick at some point. I want my kids to question everything and be brave enough to be kind, always think of others, and learn how to do the hardest thing of all, forgive. I hope one day they will forgive me for failing them, because I have and I will, and grow up to forgive themselves for not being perfect either.
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