Are you there parents? It’s me, the one pushing your kid on the swing or otherwise saving his life.
I don’t understand what’s happening in the world anymore. From the senseless rampant violence to the disintegration of basic human rights, things are messed up. There are days when it’s all too much to handle and I just shut down. Then there are days where I look across the park and think some of the bigger ills start right here.
I don’t mean to downplay the serious issues of the world. It’s just when I look at the things I can actively control, parenting is one of them and so many people seem to be taking the easy way out.
I get it parents, I do. I work a full-time job, my husband works overtime, and we have an active 3.5 year old. We’re tired. We’re overwhelmed. Ends aren’t easily met. Life itself is work. Most days, we just want to go home and watch reality TV while we hoover a bottle of wine and answer to no one. Except we gave up our rights to that the minute the sperm met the egg.
So, when you’re at the park with you kid, I know it can wear on you. The endless pushing on the swing, the constant need for
validation of a slide well climbed and the perpetual cuts and scrapes. It’s tiring. For once, wouldn’t it be great if your young child could just parent her damn self? Take some responsibility for her life and think pragmatically about the benefit vs. risk of trying to leap across the expanse of monkey bars? Couldn’t you use a moment of reprieve while your preschooler self-governs his actions around the timid new toddlers?
Yes. Me too.
Only, I can’t have that because I’m too busy being an active parent to my kid…and frankly, to yours.
I know a lot of people talk about not being a “helicopter parent”; I’m the first to admit I’ve become one unintentionally. Only, while you’re there telling me my kid won’t learn independence if I don’t let her sort things out, I’m busy thinking “at least I’m doing my best to teach her and keep her safe”.
For me, that’s what it’s all about (please don’t tell that to the hokey pokey).
So while you sit there enjoying the shade on a hot day, claiming your stance on “non-attachment” or “free-range” parenting or whatever helps you sleep at night, know that I’m judging you. I’m wondering why you think you’re more important than not only me and my child, but than your child. Why you feel it’s ok to ignore your kids plea to push them on the swing, and allow a perfect stranger to do it instead. Why it doesn’t bother you that your 2 year old, who only recently perfected walking, is climbing a metal ladder with rungs farther apart than her legs can reach while you’re far out of arms reach? WHY THE HELL I AM PUSHING YOUR CHILD?
I’m open to many ways of parenting. I don’t think anyone can claim right or wrong. I could learn a few things from people who exercise free range parenting with caution and common sense. However, I’ve noticed a trend of negligent parents these days, and it’s bothersome. I’ve looked into free range parenting, and I’ve never seen “you must ignore your children entirely and compromise their safety”, and so, you can’t just call negligence “free range”. I understand children need autonomy in things, that they need to learn independence, critical thinking and decision making, but don’t confuse your laziness with a lesson.
There isn’t a lesson in everything, there just isn’t. Ignoring your child’s calls for attention so you can try to beat one more Candy Crush level is not a lesson. Creating situations where they can carefully and without harm to others, learn how to navigate this world however, is a lesson.
Do you know the difference? Looking at you head down in your device while I catch your child falling from the top of the play structure leads me to believe you don’t. And just a note, I won’t always be there.
Brandee is a snarky, mama blogging marketing manager who started blogging at www.chillmamachill.com in an attempt to raise her sassy little daughter without losing her pretty little mind. It isn’t really working, which is ok because at least there is always wine. You can find her tweeting @Babe_Chilla when she should probably be working or saving her daughter from the dust bunnies she’s trying to grow into full sized rabbits.by