I am a product of the seventies. In fact, I’m so proud of the fact that I was born in the seventies when the devil-may-care attitude of parenting was triumphed above all others. Why? Because we were free. Freedom reigned in the seventies. Freedom to be, to live, to dwell, to drink, to eat, to act in whatever way we wanted. Without judgment or shame.
Mommy shaming is so 2013, don’t ya think? Social media has brought all of our mothering faults screaming to the forefront–to the point where we could all say we are *THE* worst mother ever. Don’t you feel that way?
When I grew up a birthday party consisted of the four food groups: Kool Aid(usually purple so that our face was stained for days), hot dogs(of no known meat origin), angel food cake(out of a box) with pink fluffy frosting and pop rocks. THAT was the epitome of birthday party success! No party bags for guests, no carefully crafted decorations or reserved party spaces. No, we ran and giggled and maybe played PintheTailontheDONKEY with REAL tacks!
*sigh*……the seventies were awesome.
No car seats. No seat belts. No helicopter parenting. No rules. Just a lot of love and joy.
I’ve done a lot of things in my parenting career that would likely have me jailed and my kids taken away. I’m not using hyperbole here. I’m dead serious. And I love my kids. I actually think I’m a GOOD mother. I have four kids who range from 14 to 20 and they’re all healthy and happy(well, as happy as teenagers can be at any given moment). But I did some stuff that, at the time, was what I felt was right in the moment but it would have been held to scrutiny and judgment. And I didn’t feel reckless or careless with my kids’ lives.
But here we are in an age when it seems quite appropriate and expected to shame other parents into being as awesome as we are. Because clearly, *WE* are perfect and *THEY* are not so therefore *WE* must enlighten them to the error of their ways……or something like that.
Recently in our news there was a story of a mom in Winnipeg who was being charged with child abandonment for leaving her 6 year old home alone for 90 minutes. We can debate the appropriate age where children can be left alone for days but in every single case, the ONLY person who will be the best judge is the mom. Yes, there are moms who use poor judgment. Yes, there are bad moms. But you know what? The bad moms of the world likely measure up to less than 1% of all of the mothers who are just trying their best. They’re good moms.
I was babysitting at the age of 11. According to new laws that would be illegal. I was IN THE CARE OF SMALL CHILDREN at eleven years of age. Let that sink in.
My mom was a single mom. She would get someone to stay with us if she was going to be out for several hours the first year we moved into the city. She really didn’t need to. We were all quite capable and self sufficient. But in 1980, in **SCARY** Regina, SK she felt it necessary. We were 7, 9 and 10 years old. And for an hour or two we would have been fine. And we were.
My mom had to retrain herself and went to school in 1982. She would take the bus everyday and we would walk to school. We would walk home at lunch and after school. ALONE. We cooked, cleaned, did our homework. ALONE. And we lived. Imagine that?! We lived. And we’re fine.
My mom would have been put in jail now.
The car seats we had when my babies were born were pretty basic. Two positions- up and down. Not much for adjusting the seat belts and no 3 point installation system. You didn’t need a book. Or a degree. Or a stop off at the local car seat inspection clinic. You put your baby in, and drove away. If you post a pic on FB or Twitter now, of your baby in a car seat, there is more than a 78% chance that at least one of your *mommy friends* will comment on how the harness is secured. It will be too tight, too loose, incorrect all together or they will be inboxing you suggesting you remove the photo in case social services is called. You know I’m right – remember the cute baby singing in her car seat and HALF THE COMMENTS were about her car seat being incorrectly installed???!!!
I’m thankful for raising my babies in the FB free world where I actually nursed my babies IN A MOVING VEHICLE! *GASP*!
Don’t worry moms, your secrets are safe with me.
I know you leave your sleeping baby in the car while you go to the ATM. I know you lock the doors and are well aware of the temperature inside and out.
I know you’re walking down the street to collect your wayward dog while your toddler plays in the living room. Unsupervised. I know.
I know you just spent 45 minutes weeding the garden while your preschoolers played with playdough, inside, in the kitchen, where there are knives and scary things. I know.
I know you’re having a bath while you’re reading this. And the door is closed. While your 3 preschoolers are watching a movie. I know.
I know that you’ve left a 3 year old unattended in the bath while you ran to make sure supper wasn’t burning. I know.
I know you’re considering leaving your 10 year old home with the 6 and 4 year old so you can run to the store. I know.
I know you’ve let too many kids jump on the trampoline while you watched one more episode of Downton Abbey before supper. I know.
I know that you’ve fed your kids Cheese Whiz and Cheetos and COKE all in the same day. I know.
I know you’ve put ginger ale in your baby’s bottle because the puking all night is more than you can take and you just needed a break. I know.
I know you gave your baby Motrin last night even though she didn’t have a fever because you don’t know what else to do. I know.
I know you’re a good mom and you cry every day because you’re trying to do the right thing but someone always seems to be showing you up.
Stop. Look at your kids. Do you love them? Do they love you? Do you make their favourite meal whenever you can just to see them smile? Do you sacrifice sleep and health and cleanliness just to keep the family ball rolling? You’re a good mom. And you’re in good company. Because *ALL* the good moms are doing it too.