I really do.
Their posts roll down my Facebook feed and they pop up all over Pinterest. So many sweet pictures of backlit kids running down the beach, or they’re wearing tiny aprons and stirring cookie dough in bright mixing bowls, sometimes they’re flying above the playground at the apex of the swing with a sunny instagram halo behind their organic, unvaccinated heads. School lunches have become brilliant little works of art and nutrition, filled with sandwiches that look like sushi, fruit kabobs, and cheese cubes cut into three dimensional letters of the alphabet. Life is good. And some of these Mamas are working overtime to make it look even better.
|Cute. But really?!|
I don’t know how they do it. It honestly looks exhausting.
There are braid tutorials so complicated they make me stand up and praise God for the XY chromosome that prevailed time after time in my womb. When I was a kid there were two kinds of braids; regular or French. If you really wanted to go crazy, you could roll up a regular braid on each side of your head, like two hairy cinnamon rolls, and all the other girls would be like whoa. Now there are 8 thousand braids. And there are a gazillion “tips”. Y’know, tips? Like “10 tips for getting your toddler to eat hummus.” “5 tips for teaching your kindergartner to write a Haiku.”. “25 ways to help your baby do things it will probably learn to do on its own no matter what.”
Tips are great. When my kids were small, I could have used tips on how to get them to quit pooping in the bathwater and stop eating their boogers, and I’d have loved some tips on how to keep them in bed at night without considering psych ward restraints. Tutorials would have also been helpful: How to break promises, How to find the library book you lost over a year ago, How to get goo off stuff. …I once called my mother-in-law to ask how to remove chewing gum from a 2 year old’s penis, but she was as stumped as I was. Ice? Peanut butter? If only I’d had the internet to tell me.
Mom and Pop bloggers have changed the culture of child-rearing and opened up a world of resources for other parents. I honestly believe that today’s parents are more informed, more educated, and hopefully more encouraged than we were, back in the day, when I began the journey of parenthood. That was 20 years ago, when it seemed like all mainstream Moms had to choose between was working or staying home. Now parents are wrestling with more questions – home birth vs hospital, to vaccinate or not, local vegan fare vs Quacker Oats and SpaghettiOs, home school vs somebody get these kids away from me. There’s a lot of junk to think about, and Mommy Bloggers are leading the way in these good (sometimes hard) discussions.
I love that.
But still, I worry.
I worry because every last one of these darling, finger-painting, nap-loving, veggie eating babies are growing up fast. Soon they’ll be awkward middle school dwellers, then they’ll be high school haters. They will drive cars and get jobs. These kids are going to turn 18 and there is not damn thing their Mama can do about it. She knows it’s coming, but it’s still going to bite her on the ass so hard.
Today, they’re writing a funny anecdote about how little Chevy Legend and his sister Trixie Tulip poured a whole box of cereal in the toilet and tried to eat it with a spoon. But tomorrow (Seriously, it will feel like tomorrow!), Mommy Blogger will run into Chevy buying cigarettes at Target and she’ll find a condom wrapper in Trixie’s waste basket. And while she’ll be super happy that they’re healthy eaters with good cholesterol and a low BMI and that they never died of Polio, she’ll still wonder if she’s parenting them well… if she’s saying the right things… or not saying things at the right time… she’ll speculate as to whether or not her kids will still be speaking to her in 10 years. She’ll search the internet for natural remedies for acne (both for herself and her teen) and she’ll find herself googling the effects of energy drinks on adolescent brains. She will have a deep internal battle over how much control to exercise over her teenager’s internet usage and gnash her teeth wondering if and when and where they’ve looked at porn. She’ll pray a hedge of protection around her kid’s genitals, “Protect their junk, Lord, from pregnancy and STDs!”, because while she’s hopeful that certain integral family values will reign supreme in her kids lives, it is now up to them to decide how to live. And UGH!, that is the worst.She’ll anguish over their broken hearts and dashed dreams and stupid decisions.
There’s a reason there aren’t very many blogs from Moms of teens. It’s because as they grow, they become like a magnifying glass to all your fatal flaws and the myriad ways you screwed them up as children. Who wants to read about that?! It’s depressing.
|Fly, baby! …But not too far.|
When they’re young, you’ve got it made, so I long for the days of the Mommy Blogger. How I would love to go back in time to when my kids were small and the crap they said was cute and hilarious. There are moments when I would give anything to trade arguments over poor grades and bad attitude for battles over how many bites to eat and how many books to read before bed and why the Roly Polies have to sleep outside. Some days I think it would be fun to go back to before they learned to pump their legs and jump off the swing like brave little warriors, to when they still needed their Mama to push them higher. On hard days, I wish I’d been a Mommy blogger, so I could look back at the stuff I thought was important but turned out not to be, and the stuff I ignored that was pretty crucial.
Mommy Blogger, you are precious. You are giving life and hope to other Mamas. Keep doing your thing. I mean that!
But when your kids are big and grown, when they have exchanged their fake tattoos for real ones, and they smoke a pipe in the back yard, and they introduce you to their romantic interests, and you think you might just die because they are so huge and smart and in charge of themselves… Call me.You are going to want to talk. And your kids aren’t going to want you to do it on the internet.
I’d say “Ask me how I know.”, but I can’t tell you here.
…. …. ….
Oh, Parents of Adults, tell me you survived…. Ok. Now tell me how.