Sorry You Feel Bad,
But Don't Tell Me Not To Celebrate.
I was debating about what to write on this much awaited Friday.
Should I go light and fluffy or should I get a little edgy and uncomfortable and maybe a little unpopular?
So I decided to go with uncomfortable and unpopular.
But don't worry. It's about mom stuff. I'm not leading a march or anything.
Back in April I wrote a post about the Mommy Wars and how I'm over them. So cliche, I know, to write a post about Mommy Wars, you know, being a Mommy and all. But my whole point was really about why we feel the need to compete and why we can't feel secure in our own decisions.
I guess I feel like I see a lot of mothers who are insecure and defensive about their own decisions. I'm not excluded. I'll cop to that. But I've seen this, for some communities of moms, turn into shaming the other side.
What do I mean by this?
Well, my post on the Mommy Wars was fueled by a shared article on facebook. I can't even find it now but there are plenty just like it so I'll just give you the synopsis. It was basically a mom complaining that other moms are making it hard for her because of their incessant need to celebrate every holiday. Particularly, in classrooms.
This mom's problem was with St. Patrick's Day. She claimed that the other mom in her kids' classrooms were making it hard on her because they were setting unreasonable expectations with her own kids. So the other moms were building leprechaun traps, leaving chocolate gold coins under pillows, and making a whole deal out of a somewhat benign "holiday," if you can call it that.
Her main message was asking other moms to scale it back. Her kids were waking up expecting gold coins under their pillow left by the magically delicious leprechaun and they were upset when nothing was there.
So this mom felt guilty. She said she was too busy reading to her children, teaching her children, spending time with them, to follow along with every holiday. So could other moms please just stop with the over celebration of holidays. It was too much for her and too much to let her kids down when all the other kids were getting over the top celebrations that spilled into the classroom.
She got a lot of You go girl! comments. Hundreds. And so did the shared version on facebook. I've seen articles like this everywhere. They're not unique. It basically boils down to a request to moms who do crafty, over the top activities, color coordinated parties, holiday gifting, and the celebrating of every holiday listed on a calendar to stop. Because it makes other moms looks bad.
And my answer is no.
I believe everything you want to celebrate should be celebrated. Life is short. And parts of life can be really crappy. Why not celebrate? Why not make a big deal of things?
I don't build leprechaun traps or leave gold coins under pillows. That honestly sounds like a melty mess. But it certainly doesn't make me feel bad if other parents do it. I pick up where I can. I try to leave over the top Easter spreads because I felt like my mom did and it made us feel special. It made childhood feels special. No, I'm not going to stop doing that because other moms don't. And their kids get sad.
Well, other moms do a library playgroup every Tuesday. I don't do that. They enroll their kids in tennis. I don't do that. My son's friends live in big houses and will probably get cars given to them in the next few years. Probably not my kid. But will I ask these parents to stop? No.
And, by the way, if you don't feel like doing something, kids can hear the word no. It's okay for kids to be disappointed by not getting melty gold coins under their pillow. Life goes on.
And, me? I bake. I like to give gifts. (I mean, seriously, if you've been reading this blog, you know this about me.) I bring cookies to my kids' school meetings. I bake brownies for the teachers at the end of the year. They got a cake pop bouquet for Christmas.
And, dammit, we celebrate.
You know why?
Because my kid almost died four years ago. I try not to pull that card often but it tends to keep things in perspective. I will CELEBRATE everything. We will celebrate a random Tuesday with cake and frosting if we want to because that Tuesday for him might never have existed. We'll bring goodies to his teachers and my kids will get over the top celebrations as far as we can afford (which, isn't a lot, believe me) because it's totally worth it to parents who were faced with the prospect of not having something to celebrate. And sorry I'm not sorry if you feel bad about it.
You know what else happened? Tornadoes hit schools of kids. Evil people try to blow up others at marathons. Life is so fragile and we have a lot of bad and sorrowful parts. Why wouldn't you celebrate the good parts? And if you don't want to, no big deal. But why complain about those who do?
If you feel inadequate or annoyed or whatever you want to call it that other mothers are making a big production about seemingly unimportant events, that sounds like it's your problem. And take a moment to consider why celebrating is so important to that mother. Don't assume it's because she wants to kiss up to a teacher or make other parents look bad.
She and her children just might rightly deserve it.