Last week someone sent me a link to an article titled “Why French Parents are Superior”. She asked my thoughts on Twitter and it really didn’t fit in 140 characters, so here it is.
I don’t really care how the French parents are doing it. There. That’s my opinion. I also don’t give a flying fig about the Tiger Moms either. I’m not belittling the way these moms are raising their kids, although I think the Tiger mom could benefit from a martini or two, it’s just that it simply doesn’t appeal to me. I am neither French nor Asian. Culturally, I am completely unable to relate and on many points I don’t want to. I am also getting a little tired of trying to be made to feel like I’m an inadequate parent because my children make fart jokes or don’t speak four languages.
At the same time, I giggle a little when people infer that I have some parenting expertise. I suppose it’s because I put myself out there on a blog, but for the record, I am fumbling through this gig like everyone else. I have no book length wisdom to impart, just a few things I stand firmly on. But if the French and Asian moms are jumping on, why not a mom who’s head is in Pleasantville.
- Sleep is one of the most important things I can give my kids. There are way too many kids walking around like little zombies. Sleep first. Everything else second.
- I don’t care if my children become world-class athletes. I only care that they make the connection between a fit body and a long life. I have a special contempt for “those” parents who are jerks from the cheering stands and push their kids down paths they don’t want to take. You know who you are.
- If it’s their dream, I’ll help them chase it. Unless, it’s fame. I won’t help them chase fame. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemies.
- I absolutely refuse to beat my children over the head with homework. Yes, it’s important, but so is balance. You may insist your little rocket scientist spend hours outside of school solving equations, but are they happy? Emotional IQ rules the roost.
- Just because I don’t chase after my kids with books, doesn’t mean they get to strive for mediocre. You want something, work for it.
- Screen time is very limited. It’s not a daily amount because it varies. But some days there can be a couple of hours and then none for a couple of days after that. Screen time includes all iThings, computers or television. I remember what life was like before technology ruled the world. I want my children to have a firm grip on that feeling too, so they know what it means to be truly disconnected. This is a crucial life skill to teach your children. Too many people will not know how to do this in the future.
- I love my children unconditionally. It is for this reason that they have chores, that I don’t do everything for them and that they have their own money to spend. I’d rather they learn how to do these things now, under the safety of my roof, than watch them flounder as young adults. Plus, I want them to move out someday.
- You know when I’m most proud of my kids? When they can crack a joke in a bad situation. Life is infinitely better when you have a sense a humour. I try hard to make sure my kids have one.
- I think sleepovers, summer camps and playing loud music with your girlfriends in your room is the good stuff. I encourage it at every turn.
- I am a flawed being, raising flawed little beings. To expect perfection is ludicrous and stress-inducing.
- Mommy needs a break. Sometimes their whiny, little voices make me want to drink, vats and vats of alcohol. No shame in admitting it. It’s when we suffer in silence that true damage happens. When my kids are driving me nuts, I tell them. I also get away from them.
So, if you want, go buy a book about Tiger moms or French parenting and try to be something you are not. OR, take a few minutes and write down your own parenting manifesto. Put down what you know for certain, then step back and take a look. Chances are you’re doing a damn good job mom.