Each parenting generation has been different. Each has ‘learned’ from the other.
But let’s face it. THIS generation, our generation, is so vastly different to, example, how my grandparents raised my parents vs. how my parents raised me.
In “the old days”, which really, in essence, spans two generations of child rearing (i.e. my grandparents raising my parents vs. my parents raising me), things were so “normal”. So everyday… so bring-and-braai-kids-sleep-on-the-floor…
I think that my grandparents raising my parents vs. them raising me had its differences, but compared with todays’ day and age, it’s leagues apart. Right now, OUR generation raising kids is damnwell Back To the Future stuff, were you to make any direct comparisons.
I am, naturally, referring to technology and social media.
Growing, when I think about technology, my distinct-ess memories are of when Betamax changed over to VHS. We had scalelectrix (excuse my spelling). I cannot remember the gaming system – but is was DOS based and it was a huge plastic gadget which had to be plunged into a receiver in order to play. The most “high tech” thing I recall, is those hand-held gaming things … my old memory fails me now with exact names, but the most popular one was brown, it clipped open and involved a monkey banana grabbing something. It ran on BATTERIES (i.e. no wall charging) and it was FUN. It was AMAZING, because it had two separate screens, yet the monkey or character could move from one screen to another.
Let us fast forward now to 2016. I refuse to do the maths because (a) I don’t want to do it because it would make me feel terribly old* and (b) my maths is just TERRIBLE!
*my parents are building a new house in Langebaan and my poppy has decided to fill his ‘man cave’ with old stuff -one is a traffic light and the other, I was asked to source – a parking meter. I found one, won the bid on it and two weekends ago went to my brother for a gathering so that we could present it to daddy. My 14-year-old nephew looks at this contraption after we’ve all gushed over it and says “What the f*ck IS that thing anyway”. Instant deflation. Instant grey hairs. No dude. NO!
My intention with raising my child is to NOT expose her to too much social media / high tech ‘stuff’. I want her to have as much of a childhood – within reason – as I did. I say within reason, because there is absolutely no way in sweet poop that I would ever allow her to climb on her bicycle (the way I did, we ALL did) and just cycle around the neighbourhood for, what, TWO hours plus?).
I err on so many more ways with the way I intended vs. the way I do now. TV? Instant baby sitter. She has a TV plus DVD player in her bedroom – both of which she sorts out from A to B, herself.
HUGE judgement on that front. BUT, please allow me to defend that, because I too, judged when I heard that parents did that.
No, I don’t limit her TV time, unless it’s a gorgeous day and then I will throw her outside. BUT, my child (like me) loves WORDS and phrases and sentences and rhyming. So, more often than not, the things that spew forth from her mouth will not only be from momma, but from something she’s picked up (and understood, put into context) from TV. So, for the moment, I think that we have that balance piqued.
And then off the technology thing. My intention was that I’d always read to her. Mom read to me, and – I stand corrected – but by the age of 5, I could read smaller words. By 6, in Sub A, I was already reading Afrikaans.
I’d hoped to instil this in my own child, but this was a hashtag-fail of mine. In my defence, the reading only really stopped in the last 18 months…………
We’ve both just joined the library, so here’s to some changes… And she’s being introduced to Afrikaans (YAY!!!!!!!), so yes please.
Okay. So now the ‘other’ thing. The thing that I have been ‘shouted’ at about.
I AM “THAT” MOM. I am that mom who will throw my entire self at, for example NOW, a birthday party. I will do every little thing myself – except entertainment. I hire people for that shit. But I will do the cake, eats, décor, hunting for goodies, etc. I purchase and plan at least a year in advance and I’ve had mothers playfully (??) roll their eyes at me for doing so. My fingers and my body are literally worked to the bone for this once-a-year (thank fuck) event – because I will live off cigarettes and beer / wine and one meal a day.
People comment on how “lucky Isabella is” or “oh, you are SO creative” and and and and and…
While I love those comments (especially when they come from my kid), a part of me cringes for the mom’s who don’t do that. The mom’s who hire people to do EVERY LITTLE THING.
But. The THING about those mom’s is this. And don’t think of it otherwise, because I will always defend them. (A) They don’t have the time or (B) they don’t have the inclination (which is SO NOT a bad thing) or (C) it really is just not their thing or (D) it’s easier to just hire someone – and that’s not bad either because regardless of how you approach your kids’ birthday, you are going to all lengths to ensure that it is memorable!!!
I’m sorry to the mom’s who come to my parties and see all my shit and posts on social media; I’m sorry that it might ‘appear’ that I’m throwing my entire being at this event.
Just hear this.
Just because I do it, doesn’t make me a better mom.
Parenting is not a competition or a race to see who can do more or best for their child. You and I, as parents are insanely unique and individual; as are our children. At the end of the day, all ‘business’ aside, haven’t we all just strived, in our own personal capacity, to make a day such as this (or any other, for goodness sake!) a memorable one for our child/ren???
In ending, what I’m trying to say is this. Our generation of raising kids in a social media world, where eeeeeeveryone gets to ‘see’, firsthand, how we raise our child, has a bloody full plate. Everyone is watching. It’s almost as if there is some kind of unspoken race to see who can do the best, hire the best planner, bake the best cake.
And isn’t that sad? At the end of the day – as my brand new sister-in-law just told me – our biggest critic is our own child.
So. Question: who matters more? Your followers and the bloody judgement which you know you’re sure to get, regardless? Or… your CHILD, who, ultimately, you want to create memories for?
(Edited to add that this is just in my HEAD and my INTUITIVENESS – it has absolutely nothing to do with all the beautiful comments I’ve received on my pictures leading up to tomorrow’s party!! Gawd…. when you have to tread on eggshells, just in case!!!)