Monday, October 09, 2006

And the Gold Goes To...

...the mother whose daughter not only knew all her shapes by age 1 but who got her to sleep through the night while still in utero and found out that her cord blood was so high in intellectual DNA that at 17 months her toddler was accepted into Harvard.

Do any of you moms ever get sick of the brag fest that goes on between other mommies? I have always had issues with this and was recently impassioned again after reading a post on WWW.menosblog.blogspot: Parenting as a Competitive Sport.

There is a difference between talking things over with other parents, which can be extremely helpful, and bragging. It’s subtle, but i know it when I hear it.

The latest thing, now that Em is in High School, is SAT scores. When parents ask me what Em got, i lie and say i don’t know, because 1.) it’s HER news to share, and 2.) they will either be smug or unhappy, and 3.) it’s none of their damn business.

Frankly, I'm bummed out that I was naive enough to believe that the boasting wars continued into teenage hood. I thought if the kids grew up we could, too.

Just read my posts from a year ago and it'll come as no surprise that I was a pretty insecure mama. Two kids in two years... it can make anyone nuts. And while I sensed competition between women, I always thought maybe I was being insecure. After a year of getting back on my feet, and surrounding myself with the best group of kick ass mamas the world could ask for (including many of you blogging babes), I can very confidently say that while my insecurity has shrunken dramatically, The Mommy Wars rage on (Great book, by the way...)

Just go to any kids party and in less than one minute you'll hear about how great this daughter is or that son is. Another thing you can't escape is the gossip about this teacher or that teacher or the latest change in holiday schedule and isn't it just so awful that so and so is making these decisions and bla bla bla... It's shocking to me that not only do grown adults talk about other people to people they barely know, but it's also a miracle of God they are able to articulate with their heads so far lodged up their child's anal cavity.

Call me nutty, but I can honestly say that I still don't give a poop about teachers, whether or not Event A or B happens, or whether the snacks have changed. If Stink was assigned a boring teacher (which I thought he might have been given) I didn't rush to yank him out of that class. It would have been an opportunity for him to learn how to deal with a quiet personality. And I trust that the director, despite being sometimes overly assertive, wouldn't hire someone who didn't know what they were doing!

Did Stink like the food better last year? Probably. But guess what... he doesn't tell me. And do you know why? Because at our house, he has two choices at dinner: Take it. Or Leave it.

Now this is not to say I don't ask my kids about their day and respect their choices. Pip hates macaroni, so I'm not going to force her to eat it. But if she's just being difficult about the hot dog, she can sit there until we're done. The world doesn't revolve around the kids 24 hours a day. They might have to live with olives instead of the fruit snacks at school. Stink is going to have to learn how to keep a kid from bullying him in the bathroom when I'm not holding his weener. Pip is going to have to learn that not everyone is going to be her best friend - particularly those kids whose parents have told them that they don't want them associating with her their mother, the Sunday School teacher, who sometimes uses the word "Fuck."

I just don't get the princess mentality of entitlement where the world is a Petunia Pickelbottom bag full of maids, private school and Pottery Barn sheets all the time. I love all that stuff, and I'm blessed to provide my children with most of those things, but sometimes it's less designer organic food and more a lunch bag with peanut butter and jelly that got mushed by a bike. And despite a smushed tire mark through the bag onto the 99cent store Wonder bread, the sandwich is still edible, people. And it's probably a damn funny story, too.

I think it's okay for our kids to learn disappointment early in life. Today the library was closed, so what did we do? We made sand castles in the parking lot island, ate apple dippers, and watched the dump truck empty the recycling cans. They learned that water from wipes turns gravel into mud. They had their fill of Vitamin C. AND they learned about the environment and how to describe the blue recycle can in Spanish ("Azul!" Which sounded like "asshole!" and made me laugh. Whoops. There's another reason not to let your kids play with mine.) But I'm thinking that regardless of NOT being enrolled in Gymboree and going to private cooking classes, my rugrats learned a little bit about Science, Health and Language today.

Now who's bragging?!

PS: This post was super long. Last year I would have still written it, but worried about boring everyone. This year? I don't care. And as I say to my kids about their dinner, you have two choices. Take it. Or leave it.


Georgia said...

Ah yes. The bad news is that this bragging thing continues ad-naseum clear through old age! You'd think it would run itself out, but it doesn't! I have acquaintences that cannot say enough (ha) about their fabulous grandchildren. I'm betting they are the same ones who knew their kids SAT scores and made someone sick about that too. I'm convinced that we are pretty much what-and-who-we-are by the end of high school. There are some changes that take place after that, but really not a whole lot.

Erin said...

Wow. It used to be bad manners to ask about people's SAT scores. Kind of like how you don't ask people how much money they make. And I'm right there with you on removing some of the padding from our children's perfectly presented little worlds. Otherwise I'm not sure how they will be able to function in the real world as they get older.

meno said...

The Mommy Wars, i'll have to check it out.

Sometimes it's really hard not to participate, who doesn't like to talk about their child? I have to catch myself and say "shut up" (mentally) to myself when i find i am engaging in this.


K said...

Do you give talks to auditoriums full of people? If I hear, "My child is very bright" one more time, I'm going to puke. AMEN SISTER!

War Bride said...

Don't worry about bragging. I take it all as mommy-lessons for myself. :)