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.