Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Let them be

I caved the other day and bought one of those Mom Calendars. I frigging hate them, the way it's a mom calendar and not a mom and dad or even a Family Calendar. I mean, what do gay male parents do? Cross out all the moms and write dad? I digress. I hate the calendar because it reminds me of all the mommy culture crap, with it's competitive and very marketed nature. It's cartoony, which bugs me, I don't see why I would want my calendar to be colourful and cute. It isn't how I like anything in my life but of course since I'm a mom I should have the calendar along with my wineglass that says Mommy's Juice Cup (seriously, there is such a thing).

I needed the calendar though. See one of the things I do (or don't do) is be able to see the big picture. So I continue to sign the kids up for stuff and schedule dentist appointments and book my haircut all at the same time until I realize everything is bumping up against each other and I can't physically do it all. Let alone if I've got to this point, I can't do it mentally either.

This year I am ensuring a smoother (smoothish?) ride by writing it all down, putting it on the fridge, and studying it as though I'm doing the LSAT. It's taken my family planning confidence level out of the dumps, where it was, and elevated it drastically. So it isn't the planning I hate, or the organization. No, I need that, it's what will keep it all moving. Nope. It's the shitty calendar.

The thing that bugged me the most is there is a quote, right on the September page, that my daughter read to me right after I hung it up. Something like, "Men are made by their mothers."

What the fuck? I mean, seriously. Pardon me?

I don't think so, sistah. Men are made by their mothers biologically, so if that's what they meant my apologies all around. But somehow I think the point was more pointed. More along the lines of if you just do every single thing perfectly, you will make a wonderful man. Which can, of course, be extrapolated to whatever your daughter grows up to be, it's pretty much your fault. The saying is meant to come off harmless, uplifting, even. I imagine a woman reading it, her little guy at five years old, ready to head off to kindergarten and she's feeling a little weepy of course (although she might be also relieved, deep down inside). And here she reads this on her new, shiny calendar where she's planned that on Thursdays they will have pot roast, and it makes her feel all warm and cosy because it means that all the Effort, and I do mean effort with a capital e, all that effort will mean something because he will grow up strong and manly but also gentle and kind and he will never go crazy or hurt a girl and he will be everything he ever wanted to be.

Well, if it were that simple.
We are who we grow up to be all on our own. If you grow up and treat people like shit, it's on you. You. You can of course examine your life, your background, your upbringing. Examine the shit out of it, if you will. Learn from it. Dissect it. Pull it apart and put it back together again, if you need to. But if your mom was a bitch or your mom was the saint of all mothers it really doesn't matter. All that matters is how you deal with it and what kind of man (or woman, this applies all around) you become.

The pressure on mothers right now is incredible and more than a little ridiculous. If you breastfeed or bottlefeed you are somehow screwing up you child. If you homeschool, public school, private school, let them eat carbs, don't wash the fruit, put them in advanced math, buy them too much/too little, no matter what you do, really, you are setting yourself up for some pretty heavy judgement.

And don't you think we need a little, or rather, a lot less than that?

I do.


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