Saturday, August 24, 2013
Is There A Cast System In The Parenting World?
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, step right up as I bring to you another mystical tale of adventure, love, heartbreak, vengeance and happily evader after. In other words, I'm going to tell you a story about the things I see and experience everyday. In particular, the things I've observed recently make me shudder and not in that sexy, 50 Shades of Gray kinda way (although I wish it did, wink, wink). No, I'm talking about the whole "one-upping" thing that many parental units do. Not sure what I mean, let me explain.
I was hanging out with my girlfriend recently; she is a mother of two, when we started discussing buying organic. Suddenly, she went into this story about how another mother put her down for not feeding her daughter organic and that she was doing harm by giving her child cow's milk. My friend, still looking very annoyed, said "If I could afford to buy organic and drive 30 mins to the fancy shop to get goats milk, of course I would! But, that's not my reality. And I shouldn't be made to feel less of a mother if I can't do it." I feel like we've all been there. I once wrote about a woman who indirectly called me a bad mother because I only breastfed my son for 4 months and gave him supplements of formula to boot. I knew what my friend was talking about. This imaginary cast system that parents place on each other, like the haves and the have nots. I'm a better parent then you because I buy organic. I'm a better parent then you because I was able to breast-feed until my child turned 2, which is way too long for me, but I'm not judging. My child is in little league, yours is not. My son is in the best pre-school in the suburbs, yours is not. The list goes on and on and on. And this isn't just limited to women, fathers get in the game too. Something beyond competition, this ranking level in parenting is getting out of hand. I've seen it on so many occasions, even in Japan. Each class has a "boss mother", the one who runs everything, the one the others follow. Its her way or the highway...literally. You fall in line with her ideas of what a parent should be or you are an outcast, a bad parent, less then. I remember seeing this first hand for myself and being appalled. "That is so old school, it would never happen in America." I stand corrected. Its not a cultural thing, its a human being thing, rather a human weakness. Putting others down, to feed our own insecurity and power lust. Being a parent, I see it now. What kind of mom are you? Are you the type A mom? The bohemian mom? The lazy mom? The helicopter mom? The mean mom? So many categories that we place on ourselves and each other and all the while losing sight on being an actual parent, trying to keep up a standard that does not fit our lifestyle.
What kind of parent am I? I guess it depends on the day. I get frustrated and inspired. I get tired and annoyed, but I also get clingy with my child and there are days when I don't want to share him with another soul on this earth, even his father. But isn't that what parenting is, a changing sphere from day to day. Never a dull moment, never the same mundane thing. Always new, always different. That is why we are all so diverse as parents. We all don't fit into one mold. We are similar at times, but all so very different. Once we do away with this imaginary cast system and learn to be open and honest with each other, our children will flourish because...that is what they see their parents doing.