What Would My Mom Do? Not Much That I’d Do Today

Yo, parents! There’s a calling for more laid-back parenting out there in the ether and WE’D BETTER LISTEN UP!

First I read this op-ed piece in the NY Times and then I saw this online article’s headline: What Would My Mom Do? (Drink Tab and Lock Us Outside)

I’ve been avoiding parenting advice since I owned that guilt-inducing hell called What to Expect When You’re Expecting. My ONLY parenting advice for years now? Don’t read parenting advice.

But the NY Times! A German op-ed writer! Tab diet cola! Locked out! I couldn’t resist. But, after reading both articles, I decided to make fun of them with sheer, unadulterated defensiveness and self-righteous indignation. Here are some quotes…

… We rode the bus to school on the first day …

I keep telling my husband to let the bus do its job and NOT drive the kids to school. It’s bad for the environment and he’ll have more time with his mornings. Time is something he desperately needs. Do you know what he said to me? “Driving the kids gives me extra time with them, to talk and connect.” WHAT AN OVERINDULGENT ASSHOLE.

“… We had [only] one Christmas party that consisted of store-bought cookies and cherry kool-aid …”

Remember the CHRISTMAS PARTY? Yeah. So does every fucking Jewish kid whose teacher had the class sing the Dreidel song 10 days after Hanukkah ended.

And — please — get me started on the store-bought cookies. Do I judge those who buy cookies from Shaw’s? Only if they’re a tri-athlete and seeing what’s in their grocery cart makes me feel superior to them in SOME way. Otherwise, buy them! Eat them! They’re delicious. I even appreciate when you feed them to my kid at your house. Why? Because he is at your HOME. (And thanks for having him over.) But bring them to SCHOOL? Why? Because you want the children to be EXTRA focused?

Have the last 3.5 decades taught us NOTHING about being more inclusive and sensitive to differences? Serving cookies and kool-aid in school is NOT something to yearn for from our past. It’s a pain in the ass for every mother who has had to write a letter to their daughter’s teacher reminding them — again — that her kid cannot eat gluten or dairy after a parent and her child’s pet project (albeit, a quite nice one; but where’s the line?) ended with passing out cookies at school. You know what that made me want to do? Have hot SEX with COMMON CORE STANDARDS.

Wait! There’s more…

 They [1970s parents] didn’t worry endlessly, interfere constantly, safeguard needlessly, or overprotect religiously…

You know what else our parents didn’t do? See images of abducted children on MILK containers for decades or watch graphic crime shows. You know what I was afraid of when I was a kid? THE VIETNAM WAR. Now I’m afraid of young girls being sold into sex trafficking.

Wergin (in the Times) tells us that a 1999 study (dated) revealed that only 115 children were abducted by a stranger in that year. While that seems reassuring on paper, if you don’t know where your daughter is for over an hour and you live on a busy street AND behind a bike path, I guarantee that your head will see a rusted van pulled up to the side of the road and your daughter being grabbed and thrown in the back.

We let our daughter ride her bike alone, but ask her check in regularly or be back at a particular time. I do this so I can save all my worrying for other things, like how the fuck we’re going to pay for college and retirement.

Remember the Tiger Mom?! Let’s not go THERE again. Please…parent as you see fit. And let everyone else parent the way they want. Let them build their birthday time capsules; threaten to burn their child’s stuffed animal if the piano piece isn’t played perfectly; wander the neighborhoods for all hours at twilight, but — please — stop telling everyone how you recommend the same. You know what MY theory is? These articles have NOTHING to do with parenting and EVERYTHING to do with trying to get other people to parent LIKE YOU so you won’t be judged when your kid shows up at my house asking for a “bologna sandwich on white bread.”

In the end, telling me that 1970s parenting was fine because YOU turned out okay is kinda like when the bug exterminator guy tells me that the spray he’s using is perfectly safe for humans because HE’S been applying it for years and “Look at him!” That guy has no teeth. [1]

[1] I mean absolutely no offense to bug spray guys; I love mine.

[2] That Dreidel song thing really happened to my husband.

Here is a picture from the 1970s of me, my dad and my sister. I would NEVER let my kid bring a cat down to the reservoir.

Honestly, I mostly just needed a picture for this post.
Honestly, I mostly just needed a picture for this post.

18 thoughts on “What Would My Mom Do? Not Much That I’d Do Today

  1. If the internet and all it’s sneaky,icky bad people were around in my parent’s time, my life would have been VERY different, and I would not have been allowed to set up my “house” under sheltering fir trees up the street that sometime thugs from Schroeder would pass through. Nor would they keep their 17 and 18 yo daughters at home, having them invite all of their high school friends and their assorted beers inside to play quarters with and later feed by going for a McDonald’s run in order to keep us safe. No joke. My parents were the coolest human beings I knew, but I wouldn’t do what they did. Life is different.

  2. Great point, quit telling people how to parent, unless it is your neighbors who keep sending your annoying kids to my house for free babysitting while you sit around not parenting your kid. Also if you could teach him some manners so he doesn’t just barge into his house and take food and drink whenever that would be great. But you know, I would never tell someone how to parent.

    1. hahhhaa! We had neighbors like that, except the parents would call to ASK me to watch the kids. Thankfully, they moved away, which was a HUGE relief, b/c i’m TERRIBLE at saying no. Especially to mentally ill people (she was rockers).

  3. I have to say your JUDICIOUS use of ALLCAPS really SOLD this post for me. it was right around the time you said THE VIETNAM WAR that I got a sudden image of the dad from freaks and geeks lecturing his kids at the dinner table. the content of his speech was actually the complete opposite of what you’re saying here, but the tone is identical (at least in my head). please enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPrNLm9nR3A

    1. Shannon, for YEARS I thought caps were used like italics, until someone DEEP into Silicon Valley set me straight. And then one day, they just came back as MINE.

      It’s 5:33 am EST, so I’m going to look forward to watching this video AFTER the

      Thank you for reading!

  4. body{font-family: Geneva,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:9pt;background-color: #ffffff;color: black;}

    My aunt, after reading this: “OMFG I’m in my office trying to not pee my pants laughing.”

  5. Hilarious post!! I have a husband like yours. I think it comes from being parented in the 70’s. So the kids will grow up thinking Give me some SPACE! And then they’ll parent like they did in the seventies. It’s a cycle!

    1. Karen, You are SO right! Parenting style DOES cycle. It reminds me of how kids’ names cycle, like — right now — it’s all Ben/Jack/Sam and Ava/Addie. Soon, we’ll be back to Mike/Dan/Tom and Jenny/Kim/Cathy. :)

      1. Yes! As for the current names, you just wrote two of my son’s names! Write some N names and you’ll get them all! L! I guess we had to be so trendy…

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