You did not invent motherhood.

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This generation of parents think they invented baby making and parenting. They’re so proud of their little offspring as they push them down the street in strollers or in their little natural weave bags close to their chest. These babies need more equipment than whole Irish families had, steam trunks and all when they moved to America. These babies spend hours watching movies of themselves on their mother’s cell phones. They own their parents cell phones. Give me the phone, they say. Give it to me. And the mothers hand over the phone or the iPad and the kid stares in the screen and is happy. Temporarily. It’s wearying how much time this generation of parents seem to need to discuss every facet of their little offspring’s existence.

So let me give you a little hint new parents: You did not invent motherhood. You are not the world’s first parents. Sure, Adam and Eve had reason to be excited when Cain and Abel and later Seth and the other kids started walking. Surely there was some singing and shouting when Cain first flirted with a girl, his sister, no doubt and Abel first was able to figure out constellations. Minus light pollution that should have been easy. But we’re quite a bit later in the cycle here and there are more than seven billion of us on the planet. We all were babies or had babies or know babies.

Children grow up all over the planet without stuff. I grew up with no television. Instead of a crib, there was just a drawer for me to lie in. (Like a manger only with less hay.) And I lived. My kids grew up with one outfit of clothing each and no television and they were fine. They not only survived, they thrived.

Sure, it’s good to tell your kids you love them but then tell them to be quiet on the plane. Tell them to be quiet in restaurants. Tell them to learn to take care of themselves. Tell them that everyone is not going to think they’re the most special person on the planet. Tell them rather than just getting people to like them, why not do a good job so that whether people like you or not you’re okay? Unless you actually are royalty, tell them they are not a prince, not a princess. You’re a kid and you need to learn to not bug me all the time, to entertain yourself, to do your school work and keep your home space clean.

Do you want to wait on your child your whole life? Do you want your son’s wife to hate you because you created a man who expects to be cleaned up after and cooked for?

Every fall, every whimper, every drawing, every jump is not an act of God. You are not the first parent.

If you want your kid to be independent, to change the world then you have to allow him or her to draw wood and carry water.

Published in: on July 21, 2014 at 7:34 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Reblogged this on tarrsblog and commented:
    It is okay to teach your kids to be quiet and to stay in their chairs in a restaurant. I like this blog post.

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