Story by Lesa Crowell
A headline jumped off the pages of a recent issue of USA Today which literally stopped me in my tracks. “Mom Bored To Death With Kids.” I had to buy a copy.
I read the article, and then I read it again. It was written by Helen Kirwan-Taylor, a mother in London, England, who has no patience left for any more birthday parties or team practices and insists that her FULL TIME NANNY stay and read her children their bedtime stories. I guess children’s literature bores her as well.
Ok. Deep breath here — because this may upset some of you– but I have to agree with the bored mom about some of the points she made in the article. The London Mom says she would rather get her highlights done than attend one more birthday party and I have to say “Halleluiah” to that. Give me the name of one adult that likes attending kid’s birthday parties and I will put on a party hat and whack a piñata.
I hate kid’s birthday parties. You know why? It is never about the kid. It is often about what parent can outdo the other parents. Let me break the birthday thing down to all parents who insist on turning their kid’s birthday into a three ring circus: your child and the little anarchists that are in attendance only want cake and ice cream. Oh, and maybe a goodie bag. Eddie Izzard puts it best, “Cake or Death.”
Here is some advice: never come between a group of five year olds and birthday cake. You will be trampled like the idiots who run with the bulls in Spain.
And Kidz Bop!!!! If I have to listen to anymore Kidzbop blaring from the Bose Surround Sound, I will bang my head with the piñata bat I mentioned earlier.
Going back to “London Mom,” I am torn on the team practice thing and the sports event attendance. I am a football mom. I love football more than any sport on this planet, but there comes a time in your child’s life that you have to let them go to practice on their own.
I see parents at junior high and senior high football practices. They are sitting on the sidelines making darn sure that their precious baby isn’t getting too hot, too tired, or most importantly, too little playing time. I have actually had a mother take a water bottle from my son mid-drink and give it to her child. This same mother can be found in the weight room while her child lifts weights. (Her child is in junior high.)
It is time to cut the apron strings people.
The article written by the London mom really “puts the screws” to the parents that hover around their children like a helicopter.
In the article, psychotherapist Kati St. Clair states that child centered parenting is “creating a generation of narcissistic children who cannot function independently.”
Child experts like St. Clair and psychiatrist Dr. Alvin Rosenfeld, author of The Over-Scheduled Child: Avoiding the Hyper Parenting Trap, are begging parents to let their children be children without constant supervision and interference.
St. Clair continues: “The demand for external support is enormous, that they enter the real world totally ill prepared.” To paraphrase my own dear dad: “They can’t wipe their nose without their momma doin’ it.”
... What’s a Mom to do?
A very good book on this hyperparenting crisis is titled Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads. This book is written by psychologist Rosalind Wiseman and focuses on the types of parents in a typical school setting. Wiseman has termed this kind of mom as the “hovercraft mom.” We all know this mom. Deep down we know that her children are the ones who are going to shave their heads and run off with Wide Spread Panic or appear in Girls Gone Wild Spring Break Edition the minute Mommie Dearest lets them out of her sight.
On Urbanbaby.com mom chat about the various “mom” personalities and the child rearing techniques they employ. Some of the moms in the Urbanbaby chats have a yearning for the 70s-type mom — the chain-smoking, afternoon cocktailer, spank-your-butt-and-your-back-talkin friend with a wooden spoon kind of mom. I love this mom and think we should all be a little bit more like her. Not in the chain-smoking way but the more laid back, “let your kid be a kid” way.
Raising a child without self-reliance is in my opinion the worst thing you can do for a child. Our children are on loan to us for a very short period of time and our sole purpose is to raise good and self-reliant children, who in turn will raise good and self-reliant children. This is the big “PAY IT FORWARD.”
Is it really going to matter in ten years that you sat in 100 degree heat to watch your child practice football and kept stats on what he did? Probably not, but it will matter in ten years that your child has graduated from college, is standing on their own two feet and is being a productive citizen.
Last year my son’s football team won the league championship. It was the greatest feeling watching my son enjoy his success. Note: His success, not mine. Zac’s team won that championship on their own with the help of a talented group of coaches. Teach your children what is really important in life. Winning a game is important but it is only a temporary moment in your child’s life.
Jacqueline Kennedy said it best:
“If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.”
Story by Lesa Crowell