Monday, May 11, 2015

Parenting - Why Can't we Live & Let Live

It's 8.30am on a Monday morning. My son left for school 40 minutes ago so I've been catching up on the news and some social media (cough). I have already read two articles with subtle undertones of parental judging. Why the heck does parenting have to be juxtaposed with what other parents (presumably "bad" parents), are doing wrong? Why can't we just get on with it; live and let live?

The first is the most subtle kind. It's about abortion, but it's not nasty and ranty. It compares the story of a woman who was heartbroken to have to abort her pregnancy with the writer's story, where she chose not to. The writer declares, about reading the former story, "I wept, not out of joy, but out of compassion". But then we read her comments about the first woman "She saw only darkness. She believed she couldn't give her child a good life". Ah, the first signs of something wanting. And then the true colors - "Women who abort their children do it because they say they want a better life. But it's not a better life they want - it's an easier one." Where is the compassion in that? I read nothing but judgment sandwiched between words like "I feel your pain" and "I wept as I read it".

The second was of the "I'm such a bad mother" variety which seems to be the new, judgy trend at the moment. (Just Google "Slacker Mom"). I must admit I only got half way through reading about how this mom/mum sometimes forgets to have her kids brush their teeth in the morning and (gasp) sends them to school with a non-healthy (but only just) snack or lunch. Yawn. While I welcome a mild backlash against Type A mothers who put everyone else to shame, this new movement of self-appointed slackers is possibly more annoying. Their "sins" are so benign, mot of us have been quietly doing them for years. Why the need now, to shout if from the rooftops? And the comments in the discussion thread are even worse, with people signing up for the slacker bandwagon as if they were being offered three weeks in Bali without the family.

Please people. No two parents are alike in their parenting styles and - klaxon - That's OK!

PS. Yes, this is a judgy post, but I"m judging people's judging, not their parenting.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Rise of the Faux-pology

When did we stop apologizing? When did the word "sorry" become unhip? Have you noticed that the faux-pology is everywhere now?

I thought I'd made this word up but it's in the Urban Dictionary (sigh) - "When a person makes it sound like they are apologizing when, in fact, they are just shifting the blame or using twisted logic to argue their way out of responsibility for their actions."

Examples you'll have heard are "I feel terrible that.....", or "If anyone was offended...." and - if you've been following the recent Micheal Bublé sh*tstorm, "For the record, it hurts me deeply that anyone would think I would disrespect women or be insulting to any human being. I regret that there are people out there who found the photo offensive." 

What the heck is that? He's upset? He is almost blaming the people who found the photo offensive. And unless I can no longer read, I didn't see the words "sorry" or apologize" in that so-called apology.  Which makes it not-an-apology. As the Daily Kos explains, what would-be apologists like Bublé should really say is - "I meant my remarks humorously, and to my deep regret, I failed to convey that properly and offended you. Upon reflection, my attempt at humor was inappropriate, and I apologize for the hurt my poor judgement caused."

I was called a racist the other day on Facebook for using a British English word which, due to the accuser's lack of global knowledge, he took to be derogatory. Other people weighed in to explain it (I won't bore you with the details), and when he eventually realized what a fool he looked, his faux-pology was "Regardless, my tone was regrettably harsh." Er, yes, it was. When others wouldn't let him off the hook with that, he did end up apologizing for his "impulsive over-reaction", however when I then explained my context and said we should just move on, he just couldn't resist another dig. Completely undoing the apology. Sigh. 

A real apology (using real apology words) is very effective in preventing an issue from completely blowing up. There really is no answer to a genuine apology other than to accept it and move on. (OK, some people then start correcting your grammar but they're just spoiling for a fight and should not be given any more air time.)

So come on people - if you're sorry, say it. And if you're not really sorry - keep quiet. You're not fooling anyone. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Good Mothers versus Badass Mothers

I swear, if I read one more article by a wannabe badass mother I am going to self combust. Here's the latest, telling us what good mothers do and proudly exclaiming her badass-ness because she doesn't do them. (It seems to be a made-up or arbitrary list of "good" parenting habits by the way.) Interestingly, "reading to your child" isn't on the list of good parenting points. Not sure what that says but I'd do that before I forced them to eat vegetables.

"Bad" seems to be the new "best" way to parent these days. I'm such a slovenly mother that I'm not going to wash my kids for two days. Ooooh. (You'll notice in the article that she's so Un-badass she has to give us a reason. Real badasses don't feel the need to justify.) I hate to pick on this mother in particular because goodness me, there's a post like this almost every week now.

And apparently "bad-mothering" is now a movement, to counter the saintly "good mothers" we used to read about, although personally, I knew very few like that. There's even a bad-mom blogging genre, for heaven's sake. But as this piece in Salon illustrates, the slacker moms (another badass term) are every bit as judgmental as any other preachy mothers. I quote - "The issue with all this bad mothering, besides the culture of reverse bullying it has created, is that it doesn’t do much to undo the good mother myth that it was set up to squash in the first place."


How insecure do these badass mothers have to be that they write books about how bad they are? And let's recognize the massive elephant in this particular room - no real, honest-to-god badass mother is going to sit down and write a book - especially about her parenting style. Get real. She doesn't preach, she just does her own thing. And the kids of pretend badass mothers are probably perfectly "normal" too. It's a bit like confessing that you never take your make-up off at night, when you have flawless skin. You're not going to proudly confess that one if your entire face is covered in zits now are you? Any more than you're going to fess up to being a slacker mom when your first born is in a juvenile detention facility. 

So once again, I say unto thee - Just do what works for you and stop looking around to see what everyone else is doing. My guess is, we're all doing the best we can. 

Incidentally, here's a real badass mother