If you’ve spent any considerable time with me, you know how ugly I think babies are. They’re literally bald, shoebox-sized aliens who do absolutely nothing for themselves and only make the world around them a dirtier place. Admittedly, they start to get cute in a couple of years – right in time to get incredibly ornery and destructive. Maybe the mischievousness adds to my faint appreciation of toddlers. And, true, I do have a weak spot for little native toddlers trying to stomp dance in oversized regalia, or even the little girl I saw running around Hogsmeade in Orlando this past week with a way-too-big Gryffindor cape on.
It’s true – everyone has their own ideas of what being a good parent is. But I think a lot of that methodology is rooted in how you punish or reward a child. Beyond that, I think there are very obvious things that you SHOULD or SHOULDN’T be doing for a child’s wellbeing. It’s not rocket science, and it’s not Greek – and I’ve had classes in both and those weren’t so bad. But really, our ancestors all raised kids. You didn’t find some magical formula. There were a few simple rules followed along the way for all of time. It’s only now that I’m questioning if our “superior” methodology is actually destroying humanity’s future, as ironic as that sounds.
Kayla’s completely theoretical requirements of things to realize if you don’t want to be a complete f*ck-up of a parent:
1. (To the mothers:) You are not a hero; you are not unique.
Sure, every mother is proud of herself for carrying, delivering, and having a healthy baby – but let’s be real. EVERY SINGLE MOTHER IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD HAS DONE IT. They didn’t have fancy books, birthing and breathing classes, pain killers, nutritionists, supplements, acupunctures, or whatever other bullsh*t that becomes part of modern motherhood culture. Oh, wow, this is your third kid? Well, good for you. If it were 100 years ago, you should expect 11 or even 15 more, one after the other, because probably only half would make it out of childhood anyway. And, no, your baby is not the most beautiful thing in the world. No, we don’t want to see embryonic selfies. In fact, I don’t even want to see a picture of your baby until it’s cleaned, back at home, and you don’t look like you sat in a sauna of tears and self-pity. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think any of this is easy. I’m just so sick of my newsfeed filling up with gross photos and statuses about how hard your life is (as you throw back another painkiller).
2. Do you WANT your kids to be abducted?
I know I post a lot of things online, but I’m very well aware of when I am and when I am NOT geo-tagging my information, and I often delay in posting things when I travel so I’m not life-streaming my life. But that’s just me. Then I see these mothers and their horrible photos, their incessant updates,…and all I can think is “WOW, now I know EXACTLY where you live, the names and birthdates of your kids, your name, your birthdate, your spouse’s name and birthdate, your occupations, where you went to school, where your kids go to school,….HELL, I even know what they WORE to school today.” If you were a child-abductor, you would have it made. You could probably even have details like “Oh, Charlie is allergic to strawberries but he loves the raspberry strudel.” And Charlie would love the raspberry strudel. And no one would doubt who is really Charlie’s parent. And Charlie wouldn’t cry because you could lie and say you’re Uncle Fred and give Charlie his strudel. And wow I sound like a practiced criminal – that’s terrifying.
3. Raise your kids like animals, because they are.
I find this last one as very important. It encompasses a lot of aspects to being a human. First of all, I don’t understand why people even have children these days. It used to be the kids contributed to the farm work and child care and the family operated as a small community. Well, now we don’t live those kinds of lives (generally speaking), and child labor also prevents that kind of lifestyle. That’s fine, but then what else are kids good for? For taking care of elderly parents. Right, well how many people are in nursing homes these days? Kids don’t serve any purpose beyond a selfish desire to have a family life, as far as I’m concerned. I can’t even say it’s to pass down heritage because I feel like most friends I have don’t even know where their family came from or any of their traditions.
As we lose our traditions, we also lose our connection with the land and the reality that we are all still animals. So most of this last aspect of where parents fail today revolves around the “nature deficit disorder” concept. I feel like our disconnect with nature also disconnects us with identity, with belonging in family units, and with healthy inputs to our body (exercise, food, exposure to green things). I personally think one of the most terrifying things about parenthood would be feeding children. I am scared as it is just feeding myself, knowing all the stuff that’s out there in our foods. I would be terrified by what my kids are eating when I’m not around. I would have to rely on their own judgments of what is good or bad for them and hope they don’t get addicted to sugar.
In a perfect world, a child would never need to taste sugar apart from maybe maple sugars or natural berry sugars – probably not even honey. Then you look at the junk parents feed kids (AND FROM SUCH AN EARLY AGE!): candy bars, sodas, fast food, packaged food, gummies, lollies, processed bakery treats, lots and lots of cookies, potato chips,… It’s like parents don’t want to “deprive” their children of “childhood treats” – but how can you deprive someone of an unhealthy experience that they’ve never had and which is only detrimental to his/her health?
Parents think they’re loving their children by providing them with all the ice cream and sugary disasters they would have craved as children, roping them in to a bad cycle. The cycle only gets worse. Sweets for good behavior, “finish your vegetables” even if you go without dessert because you’ve been bad…now a child associates happiness with a sugar rush and the fullness of fiber as a miserable feeling. And don’t even get me started on those electronic presents. I think I draw the line with electronics at games like creating electronic music, editing video and photo, and writing stories. I can understand using electronics for creativity such as that – but in addition to doing the same things with their hands. Like learning how to play instruments, draw with charcoal, practice calligraphy,… But so many of these kids spend HOURS a day playing VIDEO GAMES, electronic card games, etc…. Some days never even getting outside regardless of the weather.
Electronic games are just too easy, though. Like the Television. Why teach your child something when you can just turn on the television and do house chores? I’m so sick of all of these electronic games. Parents are replacing being parents by shoving an electronic device in a kid’s hand. I mean, why take the time to actually teach them face-to-face their numbers and words? No, they have a game for that…and now children have a comfort level with electronics and a fear of the unknown in the woods. Some city kids grow up never having seen real wildlife besides a few pigeons. I can’t even imagine it.
Well, this was just a rant that popped into my head last night while watching Portlandia…..so I’m going to leave you with one last thing – an excerpt. And if you’ve never seen Portlandia, you should definitely watch it. It’s so confusing that it’s brilliant. If you feel like you’ve missed something, you probably haven’t. It just makes you feel like you’re crazy – in a hilarious way.