gentle parenting

The pointy end of parenting

Muffin-tin meal Claire-style

Muffin-tin meal Claire-style

I know anxiety is scratching at my door when the Perfect Mom Blogs start affecting me. I don’t need to see this shit about muffin-tin meals and crafternoons that people put up in some wack Pinstagrammed version of real life. No one is doing that stuff all the time (unless they’re paid to, surely!?). Ignore, ignore, ignore. And yet, some of the ideas are great, so I keep on clicking through…

But sometimes I reach a sort of critical mass when it all gets too much and I start feeling inadequate and grumpy. Because I don’t WANT to do all that stuff, most of it is just silly bits from the pointy end of parenting, or should I say motherhood (are any dads doing this stuff?). The 2% – where it’s like, the kids are fine, smart, happy, well fed and, by dint of their lucky, lucky birth, in the top 5% of the world’s wealthiest people anyway. And we’re also white. And (in my kids’ case) male. So, basically: life’s birth lottery won, and rest-of-life odds stacked massively in our favour.

And then there’s this final 2% of parenting where you’re not meant to say “good job” you’re meant to say “I’m impressed by how hard you tried” or some bullshit, just to tweak out any final flaws and ensure these perfect human specimens who are happy and obedient, but not too obedient (because they need to be able to say “no” to drugs and bad sex when they’re 15 – or something). And so they’ll always know that we love them unconditionally but what about when we sort of hate them because it really REALLY is time to turn off the TV and come to dinner now, and I just stubbed my toe on your toy while trying to get you to come to the table, you ungrateful little twerp. And they say “No” again and you just feel so much rage because you’re tired and they’re always undermining you and, and, and… And then they finally do the thing you want and then the love comes flooding back. I mean, that’s not unconditional love is it? Maybe it still is.

And you know what? The kids are fine. But they’re going to end up with a bundle of neuroses and insecurities, and feeling like they’re unlovable and getting too drunk and having bad sex and getting underage tattoos no matter what probably because: teenagers. And they are people and that’s what people do. And so they should. Or else there would be no art, no music, no writing, no politics, no cars, no iPhones, no science, no moany blog posts, no geography, no online reviews of mountaintop jacuzzis, no poetry, no love. No progress, no devolution, no society, no me, no you.

I am actually secretly worried that we’re yet to see the first generation of “gently parented” kids attain adulthood. I mean, what if by never raising our voices, we’re raising a generation of empathetic monsters who are so mutually understanding of each others’ boundaries and stuff that all that art, culture, politics and taxi drivers just disappears into one big puddle of polite political correctness (gone mad)? Nah. You know it won’t happen because, as I said. We’re people. They’re people. They will grow up no matter what we do. Even if they end up crying to a counsellor one day about the interminable crafternoons of their childhood… The kids are alright. And I guess I am too.

This post is dedicated to all my mum friends who don’t think they’re doing enough. You are. X