Live Dangerously, Laugh More

     

I am not a mom who identifies as a snarky slacker mom or anything that would imply that I don’t take raising my child very seriously.  I think about him and what he’s affected by constantly.  And while I do my best by him, I don’t think any decision I make for Roan is the universal truth, that everyone should do what I do, or that I’m an example of anything to aspire to.  I just try to do right by him.  That’s it.  Even so…..

 

I am getting tired of being told about all these things I should be concerned about.  I am tired of it mostly because I just am not afraid of the things that seem to be the talking points of big looming dangers. I’m not afraid of Internet predators, and I don’t really think they’re coming after my kid.  I’m not afraid that letting Roan play video games will turn him into an ultra- violent maniac.  I’m not afraid for Roan to eat food that kids love and I’m not afraid to let him play with big brightly unnaturally colored plastic toys.  If Roan is feeling a beat in any particular song, I’m going to turn it up, and he likely only washes his hands twice per day, and probably changes his underwear three times per week.  (Yeh, I said it.) 

 

Trust me I know everyone has what’s important to them and I’ve probably just gotten some big eye rolls and totally grossed out half of you but I just want to say we all need to relax, just a little bit.  I need to lighten up when my husband tells Roan that part of the good thing about going to the dentist is that you get laughing gas, (though I maintain for the record, Anson, that in the future I’d prefer that you not try to bribe our son to go places with the promise of drugs).  And the rest of the world would benefit from giving up the anxiety to adhere to every single truth out there.  Sometimes we can follow all the scientific, hygienic and psychological guidelines without fail.  And sometimes we just need to enjoy raising our children without guiding principles looking disapprovingly over our shoulders.

 

I grew up in a time when you could leave your house and run barefoot over five blocks crossing two streets to your friend’s home, then eat neon orange Cheetos, crème (?) filled Twinkies and pop rocks washed down with chocolate milk, while wiping your hands clean on your polyester 100% synthetic pants and finally calling it a day cuddled up in bed inside a cozy lead-paint based pink room.  That was my childhood and you know what?  I’m ok.  You know what?  So are you.  I’m not saying we haven’t found out some new things and that these changes haven’t been made for good reasons. But the hum of anxiety over doing everything right has reached a fever pitch.  That can’t be healthy.


My challenge to you: choose one day to just enjoy your time with your kid.  Try to say “yes” more than “no”.  Before you say “no”, ask yourself why you need to say it.  Laugh at things that are questionable, stop cleaning up after them, turn the music up, be their friend and don’t be afraid of eating inappropriate food, or modeling inappropriate behavior.  It doesn’t mean you can’t keep them safe, it just means they may enjoy you a little more while you do it.  Live dangerously with your kid for a day.  Let me know how it goes.

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41 responses to “Live Dangerously, Laugh More

  1. So from what I can gather here, you constantly need to be patted on the back and told what a good mother you are, since the blog appears to be about nothing other than every movement, word, scribble, facial expression, and thought produced by your child. You sat your son down to explain to him that the drunk man on the subway was not bad, as the other mother has explained to her child, because there is good in this world and blabbity blabbity blah. You live in New York, appear to be the typical pretentious “we let our child make grown up decisions” type (don’t correct his misspelled words, let him decide what the family eats, etc) much like Sarah Jessica Parker and her “our son has hair down to his elbows because he doesn’t want to cut it” BS that appears to be some asinine trend. Your brother is Fat Cyclist (surprise!) who probably told you of the lucrative biz of blog writing, although that will be denied because no one makes money off of blog writing, right? lol.I came here to check out your site since it was nominated for a Bloggie and I found the most self-serving bunch of “I am the greatest person on Earth” BS I could ever imagine. Now go ahead and think up some “your so evil” garbage to explain this response then sit your son down and tell him that anyone that does not love every scribble he makes may not be a bad person, just misunderstood, and not everyone can be as full of BS as his mother, then go dye his hair and put lipstick on him again to foster his creativity some more. Good God…

  2. I think it is the 33% of people who voted that they did not like this post (as of right now) are the ones who need to loosen up the most. Funny how that works.

  3. I have no children of my own, but I’ve observed the same paranoia that’s been foisted on you, Jodi. If I did have kids, I’d like to think I’d raise them just as you’re raising Roan. Kids *should* sometimes get hurt, sometimes get stomachaches, and sometimes get in trouble for doing the wrong thing. How the heck else will they learn to enjoy life and think for themselves? I may very well forward this post to every parent I know.

  4. Amen!!!My kids are grown (Lynn Husum which is why I connected with you). You’re just an amazing writer and with every column I thank Lynnie for telling me about you. Looking forward to the next …..regards, MaryAre you OK after your surgery. I don’t believe you mentioned it. Hope so.

  5. I think of the way I roamed a square mile of pasture, timber and creek at a fairly young age, and yet cringe when I cannot see my granddaughter in eyesight. The world is different? Or the media options exploit the evil in mind-numbing ways? I wouldn’t want to be a parent of young kids today. Not so much for what seems right to me, but for what others might turn me in for, doncha’ know. But I was thinking just this morning that if kids still ate dirt, they might have stronger immune systems. Just wondering.

  6. I love posts like these. So much of what you say is true – people need to calm down about things with children these days. I love blogs like ‘Free Range Kids’ and ideologies like unschooling. Our world is changing, sure, but some things, like eating dirt (having dirt to eat) shouldn’t change. On a note like that though, I never ate dirt as a kid – what little I had from my hands to mouth totally put me off eating dirt. However, I was a chronic booger eater until I was about 12. I’d like to point out that I get the flu about once a year for about one week and then I’m fine, and maybe three minor colds during the entire course of a year. This is nothing compared to the rest of my friends, who get sick every other month it seems. Yay for living dangerously.

  7. I think this post is amazingly true. our daughter is three, and I’ve never been afraid to just let her be a kid. She gets dirty, she falls down and gets hurt from time to time. I let her play with shoes and my keys when she was an infant. She ate a piece of dead butterfly and we once caught her licking daddy’s nasty work boots. She’s fine. She’s healthy, and never had anything worse than a cold. I love that she thinks farts and burps are funny. Yes, our jobs as parents is to provide for our children and keep them safe – but at what point does our desire to protect them from the evils of the world prevent them from enjoying the simple things in life? It’s a fine line, one I think about constantly. Thanks for the post – I want all my friends with children to read it!

  8. A-F*cuking-men. The overprotectionism of some parental units these days drives me nuts. My nephew gets “kissed” by the dog at least 3 times a day, eats mud pies and picks his nose and eats it and he’s one of the healthies and happiest kids I know. There is such thing as healthy germ exposure.

  9. I’m on board with letting kids be kids, eating and doing things that we did as kids… I also believe that we can help them be healthier and help this planet be healthier and have a rip roaring good time doing it. Why feed’em food laced with mercury (high-fructose corn syrup) when they can have the best chocolate brownie covered in ice cream made with organic ingredients? I’m just saying….

  10. Thanks for the good reminder Jodi-Just yesterday, my flu baby Phin and I made an entire gingerbread house (out of season, I know), ate half of it right then and there, and watched TV naked for a good portion of the day. I did make him drink nasty tasting medicine, but he got to wash it down with honeyed-up tea. I tend to think that the joyful expression and loving acceptance of life’s ambiguities helps me to hit the mark more times than not. Lately I’ve had a million voices in my ear, telling me what’s best for my 12 year old with existential angst. Kinda distracting when I’m just trying to listen to the voice of my own heart. Call me a starry-eyed optimist, but I still think love will get us through the dangers of life in the 21st century.

  11. Thank you for saying that so well. You seem like an incredible parent. And no one sitting behind their computer should feel the right to demean your parenting skills. again Thank you and well said.

  12. I’m so glad you wrote this piece today because here’s the deal for tonight’s sleepover with Roan: movies. Lots of movies. The big surprise? Banana splits. (Shhh, don’t tell Roan. It’s a surprise, after all.) More movies. Popcorn. Soda. More soda. Oh, and I’ll guess I’ll try to feed them something healthy at some point. Maybe. Stay up all night talking all thing HSM and then way over-sugared cereal in the morning. Hey, I’m just livin’ out your advice, Ms. Jodi. 🙂

  13. Couldn’t agree more. My son is one and gets messy, falls down and I hope is learning that he can depend on me but doesn’t need me by his side 24/7.

  14. Dude – It is rare that I ever think I want a kid – but Im hooked on the radness that you exude as a mom. You make me think if I ever got an accidental stork visit, it would be a neverending fiesta of crazy and fun (and otehr stuff too – but mostly fun)YOU ROCK!!!

  15. I love this post. I am with you 100%.

  16. I forgot how I discovered your blog, but I did, and I love it. I check in daily. I am also relieved that there is someone else out there who seems to have the same parenting philosophy. My four year old daughter, “Os”, is an eccentric little spirit (with pink hair right now). I think that you are doing a wonderful job. We are actually residing in Southern Utah at the moment, and the constant criticism wears me down sometimes. But then I remember that Os is growing to be an individual, happy, creative and comfortable with herself. Keep doing what you are doing. Roan with thank you for it later.

  17. Ahh… so funny my post got deleted for not patting you on the back. I said nothing insulting, just a “wow you are one self-serving woman who jumped on the blog writing bandwagon” basically. Glad to see you proved me right though. Keep the messages that pat you on the back while deleting any that disagree.

  18. Well I usually don’t engage like this but sometimes I just can’t help it:wowjustwow – listen. You can disagree with me all you want, I certainly don’t think I’m perfect. By me writing, I invite people in, and not all of them will like me, I understand that. But your original comment personally insulted my brother (?) my son (??) and Sarah Jessica Parker (???) That’s just ridiculous to think I’ll let that happen in my house. Sorry. If it makes you feel better, though, your comment is the first I’ve ever had to delete outside of the Penis Enlargement, ones I get. I’ll leave this one. One more thing: would you please tell me how the “lucrative” world of blogging can be entered? I’m a fool and haven’t made a dime. Damn. And thank you to my other peeps, for the kind words and encouragement. Mary Topf – I love your daughter! And yes – the surgery went really well, and I’m back to kickboxing and recovering nicely.Happy Valentine’s Day!

  19. This is the first time I read this blog but it won’t be the last. Excellent! I’m a mom to three boys and a third grade teacher and I couldn’t agree with you more. Relax, people.

  20. I heard there was a self-service penis enlargement bandwagon over here? I have a friend who is interested. Please contact me ASAP, preferably by the end of Valentine’s Day.

  21. I raise my fist in solidarity to this post too. My son is 14 and I’ve never been afraid to let him just ‘be a kid’. I have a SIL who is absolutely f-ing manic about protecting her children and thinks I am insane for letting mine wash his hands with *gasp* a non anti-bacterial soap!!But then when he’s rarely sick and she’s running to the doctor because hers always are, I kinda feel smug.Keep it comin’ girl!

  22. Thanks for this post. It’s a good one and straight forward. My wife and I are in the process of raising a 10yr old kid who’s never quite “fit the mold” and that’s a-okay with us. She goes through rough patches in the world, but we have open communication with her. She understands things and possesses wisdom, which is great. She’s respectful of her parents and others. In this “me first” world (US only?), it’s working out.Some things are important and somethings aren’t. Let’s see what we can collectively do to improve the country and the world and not worry so much with the -isms of how others raise their kids…

  23. If I told you that when the kitchen sink is pile high with dirty dishes I’ve been known to go to the supermarket to get meat and veges for dinner and return home with another 6 place settings to avoid the washing up. When all the dishes are done we have enough dinner plates to last the 5 of us for 5 days. Which is problematic because we only have enough silverware for 3 days. But hey, the kids are getting pretty good at eating mashed potatoes with their fingers. And it’s best we don’t discuss the laundry…

  24. Hi Jodi! I have really enjoyed reading your blog. I love what you allow Roan to do and I absolutely love what kind of a mom you are. You love your little boy so much and cherish him so much as well – that is so apparent! The philosophy Daren and I have always had is they are only little once, you never want to look back with regrets. He is our life, our main priority, and he comes first at all times. I see that you and Anson feel that way too. Also, as far as letting kids be kids and eating junk food, etc…, I agree. We all did that as kids and are just fine. We have never worried about junk food and bedtimes at our house, and guess what, Ryan gets the right amount of sleep and really does not like junk food at all. Candy will sit in this house forever. guess it is because he has complete access to candy 24/7. I can always tell the kids that never get candy, though, because when they come to our house they stand over the “candy drawer” and shovel it in their mouths and also shovel it into their pockets. I cannot tell you how much I have loved reading about all of the things you do as a family and just how precious of a mom you are. Let kids be kids. They are treasures and should be treated as such! I am with you, say yes more and no less. Let kids run outside barefoot in the snow minus a coat and shoot hoops, but most importantly be out there shooting hoops with them (yes, we do this, and other moms are horrified. Oh, well!). I think all parents can really take a good lesson from you on how to raise a little one and how to raise them right (and make them happy). Thanks again for your blog – it is great! I hope you win.

  25. I don’t have any kids, but I wish more parents would take a chill pill, just like you described. I think you’re exactly right.

  26. How incredibly astonishing that you over reacted. First of all, I did insult your brother, your son, or Sarah Jessica Parker. I *compared* you to SJP, so unless you do consider yourself garbage, it was not an insult. I spoke about your blog being nothing more than a way to make everyone tell you “awww you’re such a good mother” and pat you on your back because the entire thing revolves around his every word or scribble. That is not insulting your son. I mentioned your brother only to say it was a surprise. I mean, here is a guy that has made a name for himself with his own blog, then suddenly you pop up, write about your son’s every movement for a few weeks, get 5 regular readers and you’re nominated for a Bloggie award. So yea, there was a sarcastic “how surprising he’s your brother” – but again, unless you consider yourself bad, that’s not an insult. I love how a commenter replied “The overprotectionism of some parental units these days drives me nuts”. You know what drives a lot of other people nuts? Kids that wind up in therapy in 20 years because their mommy put die in their hair when they were 5 and told them the world is nothing but butterflies and rainbows – which usually happens about 5 minutes after reality smacks them in the face for the first time.But please, continue to fish for those pats on the back. You desperately seem to need them.

  27. Obviously that was supposed to say “I did NOT insult your brother….”

  28. Hey wowjustwow – you are the most bitter, unimpressive, sterile color-in-the-lines person I have ever seen try to make people feel bad for loving life – hey here’s an idea – don’t read fun blogs about poeple who love their kids!!YOU are the one with issues – someone should have given you a bright pink mohawk as a child… you’re BO-RING and angry.. ha!

  29. PS – Im not the Jodi that writes this blog… perhaps you put that together.

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  39. I have a little sister. After the death of my parents, we went to california to my uncle. She was just 4 years old that time and I was 15. We never restrict her to do what she wants to do in a positive manner. Always tried to encourage her. As a result she topped in the california universiy in the year 2005.

  40. It is true–“Try to say “yes” more than “no”. Before you say “no”, ask yourself why you need to say it.”

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