ever since my kids turned 5, i'm consciously aware that they will remember a lot about their lives from here on out. they will remember this piece of their childhood. they will look back one day and associate the kind of person they are and attribute it to what kind of life they had. what their parents were like. how sean and i 'did' as parents. and maybe they will blame us for who they are or who they aren't.
it's a lot of pressure.
and now, in this day and age we have all this technology and visibility into our lives and our friends lives via facebook and twitter and pinterest. we can actually get a glimpse into how other families operate. how other moms throw birthday parties, how other dads coach sports, how other kids dress for school and how they are doing in school. we can see which mom's volunteer in class, which work, which stay at home, which homeschool, who has nannies, and who makes custom signs for their kids to hold in 'first day of school pictures' indicating which grade they are going into.
we look at all these pictures and posts and pinterest pins and we feel like we aren't doing it all. and we can't possibly ever do it all. and i have a suspicion that nobody is really doing it all and please raise your hand if you're actually doing it all. or maybe you don't have time, with all that doing everything. but come on, pinterest is a dreamland amiright? it's where you hold your dream kitchens, your dream yards, dream dinners and dream birthday parties. it's your dream closet right there on the screen. and we see only these glimpses and we judge ourselves against them and feel failure. last week someone pinned a pair of 'frye' boots that i've been drooling over for years. and i thought to myself, 'so and so got those boots! GRRRRR! I want those boots!' but 'so and so' probably didn't get those boots. me thinks they are in her virtual dream closet just like mine.
when i look back on my childhood, albeit i was a child and oblivious to anything that didn't revolve around 'planet carrie' i don't remember my mom feeling this pressure. i don't remember her making me pose to take 15 photos to get that perfect shot she'd post online where all three of us girls were wearing coordinated outfits and smiling and looking at the camera ALL AT THE SAME TIME because she probably knew that that was effort ill spent. i don't remember her caring or feeling pressure that we were in 3 sports while juggling dance and karate. i don't remember her obsessing over what we ate and if it was all organic, and vegan and gluten free and sugar free and void of anything that was, or ever could be harmful 40 years down the road.
and i don't remember my mom telling me 'just a minute' 15 times and hearing her tell me to HURRY UP all day long. i don't remember life being so rushed and busy and chaotic. but, again. 'planet carrie' is probably a lot different from 'planet earth'.
i've been pondering these things as of late and i want my kids to have the same memories i do as a kid. i want them to remember playing outside in the dirt for hours, not being in the car THEIR WHOLE LIFE or being entertained to death and rewarded at over priced pizza places with lame rides for being what should just naturally be expected of them. i want them to remember playing board games with their mom & dad, not mastering candy crush. i want them to remember camping trips, and beach trips, and have those be some of their fondest memories. i want them to have imaginations and creativity and not an over abundance of structured extra curricular activities. i want them to remember their first day of school, not the annoying photo op and argument over what they were wearing that came before. i want them to remember that they were loved, and validated, and nurtured. not obsessed over. i want them to remember a mom that appeared to have enjoyed being a mother as much as they remember loving to be a kid.
the other day, sean and i were texting each other from the same couch. it's ridiculous. but so was the movie we were watching with the kids on family movie night. so we were complaining to each other about how horrible the movie was. so the next night we did family game night instead. and we played 'life'. you know, the game where you have a job and a salary and you buy a house and get married, and have little kids you get to put in your car? i love that game. mostly because i drew a career more awesome than mine and a salary WAY more awesome than mine and it's fun to pretend and live in dreamland for a second.
and it was so fun!
it was so fun to engage with the kids without electronics, and talk to them about jobs and the importance of a salary. we had a real life talk about how the mortgage get's paid, and why mommy and daddy go to work. and we talked about who wanted to get married and who didn't. we talked about how it's okay if ian wants to marry a boy and have only boy kids because he only likes boys and doesn't want girls in his car. we talked about how it's just fine to be a policeman, an artist, a teacher, or a doctor. and i only lost my temper once when ian kept cheating and spinning the dial every time he landed on 1. and we counted money and realized what a math whiz ian is. and we talked about loans and student loans the choice between college and just heading out into the workforce. and i walked away feeling great. and that we for real parented in a fun and educational way and then i posted a picture of family game night on facebook.