Before I had Zeke I had noble ideas about how I would raise a child. Bilingual schools, master a musical instrument by the age of 5, he’d debrief me on the New York Times headlines before we left for kindergarden and most importanly, NO TELEVISION ever. Those of us who have kids know this is all a bunch of bullshit.
It was all too easy to to pass judgement before I became a parent. To scowl at the mother of twins struggling in the grocery store, be disgusted by the parents letting their kids eat only french fries at a restaurant, ask the desperate mother on the airplane to keep her baby quiet. Then, it happenend to me. Everything I hated about other kids and how parents reacted was now my reflection. Talk about a reality check.
Zeke’s dad and I share custody and both work full-time. By the time we pick him up from preschool and walk through our respective front doors we average 2 hours a day with our son. 2 hours. Heartbreaking. In that time I am supposed to cook a healthy dinner that he will actually eat, sit and have a discussion with him about his day, feed the other animals and clean the cat boxes, fold the laundry and set the coffee pot (probably the biggest priority), bathe him and get him in his jammies, read him stories, lovingly tuck him in and close the door. All this is done with a smile and zero resistance. MY ASS.
The reality is that like many of you, we have very stressful jobs and by the time we get home from work we are exhausted. Sometimes I can be the Good Mother but sometimes I just want to be left the hell alone to have a glass of wine and fn relax. I have vivid memories of bombarding my own mom with questions about dinner and friends and homework and softball practice the minute she walked in the door from work. How did she handle it? She told us, “Just give my peace!” That makes me smile now because I GET IT. I completely understand where she was coming from. She was a great mother most of the time and a human being all of the time.
I recently read an article on Salon.com about how scientists studied preschoolers and determined how TV rots young minds. Yeah, I get it. I read about that all the time, along with all the other things I am not supposed to be doing. I wonder how many of those 25 year old Ph.D. students doing the research have kids. I agree, TV shouldn’t be a substitution for parenting and I try my damnest not to let it be but for God’s sake, can you cut us some slack once in a while? Enough with the judgement. Any parent will agree with me when I say we are doing the best we can.
Now just give me my peace.