Saturday, July 25, 2009

IT DOES NOT TAKE A VILLAGE

IT DOES NOT TAKE A VILLAGE

     So Yesterday I was talking about all of the bake sales, Gymboree classes, swimming lessons, art camps… and the list goes on that we in this day and age of raising children are more or less EXPECTED to have our kids involved in. I do not resent doing a few of these things but it seems every day that my daughter comes home from school I am being presented with some piece of paper “requesting” my participation or involvement in some new endeavor. Room parent, trash bag sales, sports coach, snack provider etc etc etc… So now in addition to every other role we play and every other job we have in our everyday lives we now have volunteer philanthropist on our list of daily chores. I can honestly say that I do not remember my mother doing this for me or even being asked to? I can not remember my mother being the slightest bit concerned if I was involved in an after school activity much less encouraging me to do so and then taking a participatory role in said activity. I am not angry with her. I do not feel cheated. I don’t feel she was a bad mother for not doing these things. It just wasn’t the thing to do then. It was not expected. It was not the norm. Some of the moms did do it. I can remember Mrs. Anthony from my grade school being the all around super mom. But she was the only one and everyone else thought she was like a saint or something. I can tell you that I have not been given Sainthood for doing those very same things in this decade. I am just like every other mom on the block. No one says to me, “Wow your children are so lucky.” It is simply expected. More than that, if you do not do these things with your children in this day and age you are frowned upon, looked down at, JUDGED. You should be doing them and doing them with a smile on your face. Maybe they do not come out and say it but you know they think it. And in all likelihood some one somewhere HAS actually said it to you. I have another friend with and slightly autistic child who’s doctor urged her to get him as much socialization as possible at his early age of 3. Stating that if she did her son would be more adjusted to being in a group setting and be more apt to function in society on a higher and more “normal” level. So she enrolled him in a gymnastics class. Each and every time the class day comes around, he argues and gets upset because he doesn’t want to be a part of the group. She gently and lovingly urges him knowing that it is in the long run what is best for him. One afternoon she was literally jumped by a red faced and very angered mother from the class. She told my friend that she was a horrible and abusive mother and that forcing her son to participate in this class was abominable. She told her she had a good mind to call DFS. This lady was serious and this truly did happen. My friend calmly explained the situation to this woman (which I would have never done) and the woman stuck to her guns and continued to call my friend the antichrist. This really happens folks. I know Hillary Clinton said “It takes and village” but I am wholeheartedly sure she did not mean that you should sit back and play arm chair quarterback to another mother who’s situation is totally none of your business. Besides being absurd, let me ask you what 3 year old do you know that you do not have to force to do what is best for them? So next time when my daughter does not want to take a bath should I not force her? Would this woman find that abusive? If I forced my son to eat his carrots would she call 911? Clearly the best thing for a child is the business of only that child’s parents and that child’s doctors! Not some random mom who believes herself to be Super Savior defender of all children who wish to sit on the sidelines!
     Now I know my mother never had to deal with that. There were ladies in our neighborhood, older moms who thought my mom was young and too hip, thought her parenting skills to be lacking and morality was in question but their action was simply to never ask me to baby sit when I was older or to not invite us to their bar-b-que’s. So what! At least their disgust was quiet and whispered instead of shouted and reported to the authorities. These days it seems everyone has DFS on their speed dials and is ready and willing to call if they think your parenting is in question. Who knows how to raise my kids? Apparently in this day and age everyone we pass on the street and believe me they will let us know when we are not living up. I understand that is important to get involved as a society in making sure our children are safe but where are these same vigilantes when a little girl gets snatched while walking 3 blocks to her home in broad daylight and no one saw a thing? This is when your 911 speed dialing finger should be ready… not when I took my little girl in the bathroom for a stern talk about not throwing herself on the floor in the restaurant because she was asked to try the broccoli? When my actions actually break the black and white letters of the law certainly step in but when your idea or your morality and mine do not mesh you have no business “giving me you thoughts” on the matter. When did we lose this common sense? When did we become our sister’s keeper? When did we become judge jury and hangman to every mother we come in contact with? When did you become the Mayor of my village?