Yes, I’m on my iPhone

Over the past couple of days I’ve seen countless people I know sharing the post aptly titled, “Dear Mom on your iPhone.” It starts off innocently enough, but within a paragraph it’s carefully explaining to mom all the magical moments she’s missing out on while engaged with her phone.

And I get it. LORD do I get it. I see families in restaurants where the whole bunch is engaged with an electronic device. I see teenagers who can’t make eye contact or hold a conversation because they’d rather text a person sitting right next to them. I completely understand that that we are a society obsessed with our phones.

But I don’t agree with that blog post.

I disagree with it for a whole host of reasons. Probably the most obvious is that it uses shame and guilt to make a point. In my opinion, there is nothing more insidious than mom guilt. It starts when you’re pregnant and permeates every facet of caring for our children. Don’t eat this. Don’t drink that. When Charlie was born so sick, so broken, I blamed myself. If only I had done something different.  What, exactly, I wasn’t sure, but I knew that somehow I had failed.

Eventually, however, I had to accept that people who make a lot of “bad” decisions have healthy children. And people like me can give up every substance on the planet, make it to every appointment, take every vitamin, and still have children who aren’t healthy. We are a guiding force in our children’s lives, but we aren’t the only one.

This doesn’t stop people from trying shame mothers, though, and worse yet, we spend far too much time shaming each other. Not one father shared that post on Facebook. I didn’t see any of them sharing the companion post, “Dear Dad on the Recliner” either. Every decision mothers make is held up to the impossible standard of motherhood: the food you serve them, your music choices in the car, television watching, whether you work, vaccinations, breast feeding, and on and on. I notice no one is sharing posts on Facebook about Dads who go hunting for the weekend. Or about how Mom is missing precious moments while cooking dinner or scrubbing toilets. Why is it OK to engage in those activities, but it’s not OK to laugh at an E card on Facebook? Or send a text to your best friend? Must we sacrifice all joy and sense of self because we have chosen to be mothers?

I’m calling BS on all of it. It is our job to keep our children safe, to keep them fed, and warm, to care for them when they are sick, but it is NOT our job to subjugate every part of our being for our children, and frankly, I’m tired of people saying that it is. No child is served by having a slave for a parent. Children need parents–not another playmate. If you lean in the biblical direction, read it: a mother’s job is to mold and discipline her children–not to give up everything in their lives for them.  As a kid, I explored and played with my friends in the neighborhood. My mom watched her favorite soap opera every day. I never received the subliminal message that I wasn’t good enough or wasn’t as important as Hope and Luke. That’s just ridiculous.

My opinion, I realize isn’t worth a whole lot, so I’ll add a few other little facts to this rant of mine. Last August a study was published that showed that “intensive parenting” actually makes mothers more depressed. This year another study emerged showing that helicopter parenting may breed depression and incompetence in children.

Let your daughter spin. Let your son swing. And let yourself look at pictures on Istagram. We all need a break sometimes–to enjoy the fresh breeze, to feel the sun on our faces and to take a few moments to be ourselves. Our kids will be just fine if we let ourselves enjoy the moment too.

Not Political, Personal

Alternate title: The post that makes everyone mad.

By now you’d have to live under a rock not to have heard that Ann Coulter called the President a “retard” on Twitter after the debate the other night. I was doing my usual that evening–reading twitter, watching Netflix, just relaxing–when that word started lighting up my Twitter stream. There it was–again and again. I was lucky because all of the people who re-tweeted it were angry about it. They were disgusted and wanted to let the world know. I saw the whole thing as a desperate grab for attention–one that had obviously succeeded–and did not get in on the retweeting fun. Later, I did tweet that I thought that using slurs about the disabled for attention pretty much made you the lowest life form on the planet, but I was careful not to use Ann’s name or handle because I honestly believe nothing would have satisfied her more.

I left it at that.

But then I got to thinking and the more I thought, the madder I got. I’m pretty sure madder isn’t a word, but that’s never stopped me before.

So here’s the deal: The Special Olympics–a pretty fantastic organization–has spent the last SEVERAL years and I’m assuming some significant dollars trying to educate the public about “the r-word.” They did this because their athletes said that the word was hurtful, they didn’t like it, and they wanted people to stop using it as an insult.

So then Ms. Coulter, a woman with considerable reach and power, takes that word, takes the years of work that has been done to try to educate the population, and she politicizes it and uses it to her advantage.

I watched Twitter very carefully last night and I checked Facebook regularly today. I was re-tweeted many times about Ann Coulter and pretty much all of the people who re-tweeted me were also vocal Democrats. When I tweeted about my local radio station using the r-word, I got like two retweets. The same is true for Facebook–all of the people sharing the story were again, vocal Democrats. Suddenly, not calling people a retard because it is offensive is Republican/Democrat thing as opposed to what it actually is–A NOT BEING A JERK THING.

Using respectful language is not and should not be political, and I hate the this woman–who is obviously just trying to court controversy (she has a new book coming out!)–is making it that way. I don’t care who you vote for. I don’t.

But when you decide that you can’t call someone out because y’all vote for the same candidate? I notice that and I do care.

And when you’re suddenly the biggest supporter of the cognitively impaired because it suits your political agenda? I notice that too.

So stop. Stop riding on the backs of people who have worked for many years to make a change that has to do with dignity and not politics. I can’t take it any more.

Mad As Hell *Updated*

You know what? I’m pissed.

I’m not usually one to go there. Frankly, life is full, I’m busy, and pretty much nobody wants to hear it. I get that. But this is my blog and today I’m venting.

There’s a local afternoon radio program in New Orleans. It is, at best, mediocre. It also comes on the radio station with all the Top 40 music that Charlie loves so much. So, despite not loving the program, when we’re driving an hour each way to Feldenkrais therapy, I will occasionally have it on.

Imagine my dismay today when I heard one of the DJ’s call the other “retarded” on the air. There I am, riding in my car with my disabled child and THAT comes on the radio. I immediately changed the station, but the damage was done in my mind. A black mark on the already stressful adventure of taking four small children into the city.

At the first available red light I tweeted my dismay.

As I expected, the radio station didn’t respond to my tweet. Why should they? Who am I? Nobody. About three people responded and two retweeted me. I wrote a tweet about my cat throwing up on my dining room table once that garnered more attention.

And that was fine with me. I made my complaint. It was my fault for listening to the show with the kids in the car–I shouldn’t have expected anything different.

But you know what frosts my freakin’ cookies? When people defend stupid choices. When people say things that are hurtful and then get all bent out of shape when they get called on it. I mean, really? No part of me thinks that DJ was completely unaware when she uttered that word. She knew exactly what she said, but rather than apologize, the station posted this:

And then this:

I get that it’s a free country. I get that we all have freedom of speech, but freedom of speech is not the same as being a jerk and never getting called on it. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean that people have to listen and not say anything.

So I’m saying something. Here, in my space, and if you don’t want to read it, then don’t. And if you don’t agree, that’s fine too. I’m tired of being quiet about this:

It’s not cool to use the word retarded as an insult. Not cool at all. Defending the usage in a public forum? Ridiculous. Inexcusable.

This is a city where earlier this year we heard how just one person uttering that word can ruin a child’s entire experience at Mardi Gras. No one who lives here can say they have no idea that those words can be hurtful. They know.

I don’t expect that DJ will apologize and the station she works for probably won’t either. If anything, probably a couple of people unfollowed me on Twitter for making a big deal out it.

I’m fine with that. People being ugly is one thing–institutions defending the practice is another.

It’s not right.

**The DJ at B97 post an apology on both Twitter and Facebook. I’ve been told there was an on-air apology as well, but I didn’t hear it.  I’m posting the Twitter apology below–it appeared exactly the same way on Facebook. Some people don’t love the apology, but I’m happy one was issued. I think we always hope that a better understanding of the issue will be a result of talking about these issues, but a step in the right direct is still a step in the right direction. **

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...