Monday, August 16, 2010

Dropping Out of the Competition

Last night when I was at the World's Most Earnest Bookclub, another mom started telling me all about the different activities she does with her kids and how she is sorry to be going back to work because she loves staying home so much.

I fixed her with my Larry David staredown and said "But do you really? I mean, honestly." And she told me that yes she did and it has been such a blessing. I must have had a skeptical look on my face because the activity ideas started coming. And I felt bad, but I had to cut her off with:

"I am sure that they are easy. Honestly, I am just not that interested."

And with that I dropped out of the best mom competition.

The thing is, I thought I would be awesome at this. I totally believed I would be the type of mom to have a crafty activity each day and have my kids help with the cooking. But I am not. And I am okay with that.

I'm happy with too much TV and random fort building and telling my kids that something fun is throwing rocks in the front yard. I am down with keeping expectations low so that cutting peanut butter toast into star shapes is met with looks of wonder akin to Christmas morning. I am a supporter of crackers for snacks and garage sale dress up clothes.

I am the mediocre.
Hear me yawn and get another cup of coffee.


  1. I lost that race many moons ago. Also? I hate that woman who thinks there is an award for star shaped homemade bread and garden grown jelly.

  2. LOL! For some people I'm sure every life's dream and expectation is met with kids, but it's not realistic, nor do I believe those freaks fall in the majority of parents, surely not my own. I hate people who put on a show of parenting like that, and I'm sure her kids will grow to hate it as well. That or they'll be so structured they won't know how to deal with real life.

  3. Ya but you know all those activities are expen$ive!! So, uh, I don't think we could afford to do all those things either if I stayed at home. I don't remember doing ANY of those things when I was a kid, either. From what I recall, we played in the yard and the house for like 10 years straight. I don't think we ever did any crafts. And we both turned out SO AWESOME. :-D

  4. When I was a kid, "Go outside and play" (heavy emphasis on OUTSIDE) worked. Some sticks, rocks, dirt, and maybe an empty cardboard box was enough. Was it fear that drove the "schedule every moment" phenomenon? The fear of kidnapping (don't go outside)? The fear of a 'lazy' child? The fear of apparent parental failure (what, he can't do XYZ yet?!?)?

    We hear from parenting experts that structure and routines are essential, but why? It's usually presented as a given. I think this mindset is a facet of confusing the symbol with the thing. Structure and routine are conflated with security, to the point of undermining real security for a child. Fact is, you can provide a child with security directly and immediately. No accessories or activities required.

    So yeah. Go ahead. Unless you understand and can explain what the prize is, what the rules are, and why the rules make sense for you and your children, drop out of the competition.

  5. I have a confession. I have taken the boys out by myself once in their entire lives. We don't do playgroups. If I pack them up to go anywhere I'm usually headed somewhere where I have help- I'm a total slacker Mom. Until I went on maternity leave I think they thought their nanny was their Mom. Now that I'm around all the damn time they are finally coming around a bit more. Makes me want to quit my job in a bad way. I'll still be a slacker and taking them out in public by myself gives me the shakes, but I've got to do this on my own at some point. If my husband can do it and my 90 pound nanny can wrangle them in public, surly I can do it. Right?

  6. Here's the thing, I like being I don't do all the outdoorsy stuff I wish I wanted to with Alexa. I am looking forward to glitter and doilies and crafty crap, but she'll be in daycare by then :-)

  7. Reading your blog, I feel very similar to you. I as well hear of all thw wonderful things parents do with their children, but with 2 under 2, 1 VERY rambunctious toddler, and a very demanding infant, all I wanna do is stay home and go NO WHERE!! I think the people that do all things with their kids have help with housekeeping because there is no way there is time for it all!

  8. yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes!!!!! I, too, am happy to be one of the mediocre moms :)

  9. i love it! i am so there . . . EVERYDAY. -beth (from ECFE)