The Parenting Package
We did Easter over the weekend.
I do Easter. It's one of my holidays. Who am I kidding, they're all my holidays. I'm a holiday celebrator to the fullest. And when people tell me they don't celebrate a certain holiday for anything other than religious reasons, I'm dumbfounded. Like, I can't even talk to that person.
I am extremely nostalgic. I do things on holidays to recreate tradition and fun things that happened in my own childhood. Easter, specifically, is a holiday that my mom made happen despite not having any money to do so. It always felt like a bigger deal than it was. So I try to recreate that for my kids.
So I was talking to my friend and asked her if she planned on dying eggs with her kids. She said no. Um, WHAT?! What are you even saying to me right now?!
She explained that she didn't have time or any desire to do it so she was going to skip it this year. I didn't have any real desire to do it either - I mean the actual act of dying eggs, which takes, I swear, like five hours. But it's tradition! I have pictures of me doing it when I was my daughter's age. It's a tradition, dammit!
So even though she was completely revolting against everything I believe in I forgave her and moved on and decided to talk about her on my blog instead. I'm a really good friend like that.
But then I sent another text to a different friend asking her if she was dying Easter eggs with her boys and the answer, again, was a big, fat, NO!
What is this world coming to? I mean, really! If we don't have the traditional dying of Easter eggs, then what the hell do we have, people?!
One of my Easter hating friends did explain to me that her boys were covered in blood and dirt from her weekend of baseball so she really couldn't see dying eggs. See, she hangs out with her boys all weekend doing baseball stuff. All weekend. She hangs out at the baseball field with her kids. She takes them to baseball events and they love it. She's a baseball mom.
Nope. Not part of my parenting package. Before I had kids I always thought I would be that mom. But I'm so not that mom.
I got to thinking about how I was borderline offended by my friends' choices not to take part in my tradition. I mean, this is America. Jeez. But aside from that, I started thinking about things they did with their kids that I didn't do. Nor did I want to. Just like they didn't want to be American and dye some flipping Easter eggs.
On a more introspective note, I started thinking about different parenting styles from these two Easter egg conversations. I thought about the moms who do up holidays and the moms who don't and the moms who hate the moms who do. I started thinking about moms who are class moms and moms who work, moms who take their daughters to ballet (me!) and moms who take their daughters to karate. I thought about moms who take their kids to church every Sunday and moms who take their kids to Gramma's so mommy can have alone time. I thought about breast versus bottle feeding, staying at home versus working, vacationing away from the kids versus vacationing with the kids, having a beer in front of the kids versus not (which is just crazy), it goes on and on.
Things that I feel so strongly about, things I've judged other mothers over, it's all because it's just not part of my parenting package. It doesn't make it wrong. I just have a specific parenting package unique to me and my kids. It's what I know how to do and what I feel is right. It's what I learned from my mom. Her parenting package included tea parties in the backyard, going up to the mountains with blank canvases to paint nature scenery, and camping trips with just us. It didn't include sports, dedicated practices and tournaments, or even matching clothes. I thought I'd be different but I'm not. Other than being a dedicated matcher, I'm not.
We all do different things and make different choices based on our parenting package. I bake with my kids and make sure holidays are huge deal but if someone else will take my kid to all day spring football tournaments and bring him back without me having to go and sit in the hot sun, it's a good day. I can't do it. It's not part of my package. That probably sounds like a terrible thing to say for some people but I'll have homemade chocolate chip cookies waiting for him when he gets home. If you don't like it, it's okay. It's not part of your package so you can get over it.
Just like Easter eggs weren't part of my friends' packages this year. I still love them. And not for a second do I think they're bad parents. Quite the opposite. We just do what we can with the tools in our package. Nobody has a perfect one, and if we're being honest, we're all just crossing our fingers that we won't royally screw up our kids in the long run.
What's part of your parenting package?
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