Parenting 101...or 26, 782
Do you ever feel completely inept as a parent? Anyone? Oh good. It's not just me. At least I'm in good company. I read a fantastic article, published in the NYT this week, entitled "The Relentlessness of Modern Parenting."
Within the confines of that article, the author explored how and why we (parents) are stressing ourselves and our children out at higher rates and sustaining that anxiety for longer periods than ever before. I found the following quote astounding: "Mothers who juggle jobs outside the home spend just as much time tending their children as stay-at-home mothers did in the 1970s." Wow! Does that technically mean I'm June Cleaver? :)
We keep pushing ourselves as parents and shoving our kids to reach higher goals, to make higher test scores, to break loftier proverbial glass ceilings. Why? Is it so we share in their glory and pat ourselves on the back while they walk across a stage, receiving award number 48? Is it so we nail down (as if there was any doubt) the reinforced thought pattern that their self-worth is a direct reflection on accomplishments achieved and not just activities attempted? What is our obsession with medals, ribbons, and certificates, anyhow? They're all going to end up buried in the bottom of one of those giant Tupperware under-the-bed storage boxes in the next ten years.
We are raising a generation of students who feel inadequate if they are not "the best," unworthy if they learn a trade as opposed to applying to a four-year university, and belittled if- god forbid- their mommas need to spend "too much" time bringing in an income to sit down and review spelling each and every night or cart to and from select soccer practice each week like those of peers.
Can we give it a rest, friends? Call a truce. Embrace all different types of families and cut the parent- guilting out? It's spreading like a nasty virus, and our kids are feeling it. Every day the anxiety mounts, for both parent and child. That's no way to live. Enjoy each other.