Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Friday, February 13, 2009


It is a well known fact that most parents feel that their job is to improve upon the job their parents did with them and be the best parents out there. This involves a lot of work and includes doing all the things their parents didn't do or the things they swore against. Some rules our parents lived by include but are not limited to:

Do NOT sleep with your babies - this will most likely ruin them
Do NOT breast feed in public - it will only frighten people and force men to ogle your breasts
Do NOT let your kids become brats by punishing them either publicly or in secret, but don't forget to punish them
Do NOT let your kids eat between meals
Do NOT tell them they are pretty or beautiful or cute - remember, "pretty is as pretty does" or "beauty is only skin deep"
Do NOT let them stay up late at night or skip naptime
Do NOT let them interrupt, talk with their mouths full or eat with their hands

The list is endless. I am sure that everyone has a great story (or fifty great stories) that includes being dropped off on the interstate when they had been fighting in the backseat and had pushed that last button while their parent drove down the road and parked and waited for them to catch up, exhausted and docile. Or how about the one where they were sent outside to pick their own switch with which they knew their Mom or Dad was going to beat them. Or my personal favorite when we'd go shopping and get dropped off at the TV department in Sears to watch whatever show was on at the time while my Mom shopped. Better yet, in my house the wooden spoon was never used for cooking but we sure went through a lot of them.

Here's what I did:

I slept with both my kids - until they got tired of me and begged to have their own beds.
I breastfed whenever and wherever my kids got hungry regardless of the restaurant, mall or strip club I was in.
I have never given my kids a timeout in a public place - just never had to (yet)
My kids eat all the time
My kids think they are more beautiful than all the Disney Princesses rolled into one
My kids have a bedtime and only one of them currently naps (ooops).
My kids only have to scream "EXCUSE ME" and I stop whatever I'm doing to listen to them talk about their culo liking cheerios or their boogies taste good with milk. I'm not sure if they really are wanting to say something important or they just like to hear their voices in action.

Parenting is admittedly a tough job. It comes with no paycheck, no paid vacation, no 401k and no assurance that your kid will someday find a cure for cancer or win a pulitzer. Quite the contrary. You can send your kids to church, make them attend church school, socialize them with other "good" kids and watch them graduate from college, only to have them one day end up in prison (true story). Or you can foster their artistic side, send them to camps that you've had to finance because they are so damned expensive, find them the best child psychologist to help them through the tough times, only to have them end up homeless and addicted to meth (another true story).

I'd like to say that I'm doing it all right. The playdates, the gymnastics, the ballet, the museum trips, the workbooks, the Baby Einstein and the educational toys are all going to pay off someday. While I currently have no plans on leaving them in the car with the keys in the ignition while I grocery shop so they can listen to the music, I guess I didn't turn out too badly, but I do keep an extra wooden spoon in the upper right hand drawer... for cooking, of course.