Nap Time Ponderings: Dear Internet, Please Stop “Helping” Me Raise My Child

I stupidly read a post this morning that someone shared from The Huffington Post called “10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12.” I knew better than to click on it, but if something is going to harm my child, I should know, right? The fury that ensued after finishing the article was just as I expected.

I have a very large problem with this article, and articles like this in general. I would venture that the a good portion of the people who will read and listen to this article are the parents who just made it past worrying about their child dying of SIDS if they did or didn’t do a numerous list of things and parents who are already overwhelmed because their kid only likes cheese food product and spits out the locally-grown, organic baby food. 

I remember all of the articles/books that mentioned SIDS when Lillian was tiny. They made me lose what little sleep I was getting by piling on a fresh layer of worry. But, as we enter into full toddler-hood, I notice a new type of article emerging—articles that trade the acronym SIDS for the phrase [gasp] developmentally delayed and [double gasp] obesity.

While there is nothing wrong with wanted to make sure your child is healthy, fit, and developmentally on track (just like there is nothing wrong with you not wanting your child to die of SIDS), by constantly throwing new worries in our face, the Internet and social media is [sometimes] frankly taking the fun out of parenting.

 Here are just some of the problems I have with this article:

  1. The overall tone that if you don’t ban technology from your home, then you are a bad parent who wants a lazy, obese, developmentally delayed child.
  2. One conclusion that this article specifically makes is that a child under the age of two should have access to no technology. At all. Nada. Now, if your house is like our house then Veggie Tales (or other cartoon) has been the only reason dinner was cooked on time or your hair was combed. In fact, in our house, Lillian dances any time a song comes on (exercise…ish! score!).
  3. Governments should ban this?! REALLY?!? I’d personally much rather see them ban GMO’s or energy drinks or a number of other things.
  4. The article gives little room for exceptions, such as Face Time with grandma or grandpa or perhaps Skype with a deployed father.  

So to the authors and publishers of these “well-meaning” articles, please stop. Just stop. Stop making me feel guilty. I already have enough on my plate. I’m trying to make sure my child is healthy, safe, and loved, and frankly you’re taking away from that by bogging me down with worries of my child being “developmentally stunted” and “obese”. And, instead of empowering mothers, you are just giving us more piles of feces to fling at each other in judgment. I’m done with you. Maybe you should be banned. And, I still feel guilty over the non-organic lemon yogurt and Cheerios I gave my child for breakfast.

Nap Time Ponderings: The Politeness of Love

There is so much that I want to write about, that I hardly know where to begin. It’s like life has handed me a smorgasbord full of opportunity, and I don’t know what yummy morsels I want to pile my plate up with first. So I’ve decided to settle the matter by letting through the words/ideas that seem to want out the most.

I’ve been mulling a few things in my head recently. That means that the poor husband has been forced to listen to my excitement over MULTIPLE “ah ha!” moments. It also means that I will further mulling these things over the only way I know how—pen and paper (or keyboard and MacBook, if you will). And I will write them out during nap time, hence the name (and unfortunate grammatical errors). 

A few years ago, I wrote a blog entry on purpose and love. I loved writing that blog post because it let me wrestle with the dichotomy of love and purpose, which I had been wrestling with in my head for quite some time. Now, I want to again touch on the subject of love:

First, I want to look at myself in the mirror.

Love is patient. I am not patient. Love is kind. I am not always kind. Love does not envy. I sometimes envy more than I care to admit. Love does not boast. It is not proud. Just two days ago I recall bragging to my husband about my “darn good chili” (more on that later). Love does not insist on its own way. But what if I really want it that way? Love is not irritable or resentful. Um, oooops. 

But, I am called to love. So, why am I so bad at it?

I will admit that it is a seemingly far-reaching conjecture, but I believe one of the reasons is this social norm we call politeness.

Think for a moment what it means to be “polite.” And then take a look at the definition of “polite” from Merriam-Webster:

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Even the definition of the word is confusing. Is being polite being respectful? Or is it being socially correct and proper? And what if those two are at odds with each other?

 Here are some of the ways I have recently seen “politeness” pan out:

  • We give people unsolicited advice on a number of issues in their life, but when someone is truly hurting we leave them alone because we want to “give them space” or “not be rude.” I am certain that anyone reading has lived long enough to have experienced the loneliness that comes with going through a painful time.
  • When we do help others, we do so superficially, and gossip about it later.
  • We smile at our frenemies with hatred. We HAVE the word frenemies.
  • We tolerate others putting people down. Sometimes we help.
  • We are well-mannered individuals who care about being socially-respectable, and frankly, don’t want to be associated with “them.” This to me is one of the worst. And, unfortunately, it’s the one that I catch myself doing the most. For instance:

Our dryer is currently out, so I had to venture to the [gasp] dreaded laundromat. I brought enough stuff to make sure people knew I didn’t “belong” there. My own snobbery is so shameful.

Where do we get off thinking that we are better than others because of their race, religion, socio-economic class, life choices, etc, etc?

I cannot think of this as acceptable any longer. So, from here on out, I will do my best to redefine politeness in my life. I will be respectful. I will look into the eyes of everyone. I’ll strive to be nice, but not fake. I will get down in the trenches of others’ lives. And I won’t talk about it later. I will love. Will you join me?