Friday, July 11, 2008

Summer Camp Blues

Missing your loved ones. Crying over it. Failing to enjoy the freedom that summer camp brings. I'm not talking about kids here, I'm talking about their utterly wussy, wimpacious parents, as mentioned in this piece that appeared in SF Gate.

The article describes a woman who, on bidding adieu to her 8-yr-old for 2 weeks, noticed that it wasn't the kids who were crying: "There were no children crying—just parents." The piece continues with the following:

These days, camp leaders and family counselors say it's an increasingly common dynamic. It used to be the homesick kid begging to come home from camp. While that still happens, they've noticed that it's often parents who have more trouble letting go[...]They call it "kid-sickness," a condition attributed in large part to today's more involved style of parenting.
Kid-sickness. Barf. But I'm not surprised. We live in a wimpy-parent nation, where parental wimpiness abounds and, as such, will be disseminated to the children, wo in turn will either wimp our completely or, one can hope, rebel against their parents' clingy ways. Here's a real kicker of a paragraph:
The time and energy camp directors put into preparing parents for camp is now equal to the time they prepare children for camp," said Peg Smith, head of the American Camp Association, which works with about 2,600 camps nationwide.
I wrote a little something about summer camp. Mind you, they call it "Camp" but it's just school and only for 4 hours a day and not (unfortunately) a sleepover scenario. I wrote about how thrilled I am to have this time of mother-child separation, which I absolutely need and which Crabtot absolutely needs. As expected I got a comment in there about how love is about being with your kids and some other tiddly coddlewash nonsense.

Oh, America! As a foreigner I have always admired and sublimated your practice of summer camps. As a child, I longed to attend one. The lakes! the horse-riding! The bunk beds in cabins! Meeting your identical-separated-at-birth twin! Having s'mores (so exotic to the foreigner)! The American Americanness of it all! And now we have parents wailing and gnashing their teeth. No wonder their kids weren't crying. They couldn't wait to get away from Mom and Dad and I don't blame them.

I think the clingy attachment-parenting-gone-berserk behavior exhibited by such parents smacks of selfishness entirely and love, not at all. Your job as a parent is principally and finally to encourage your child to live in the world. You do that by fostering independence. You give a hug and a kiss and tell them you can't wait to see them. Then, idiots, you let them go. That's what love is, not making kids feel they are the constant and total center of your universe, even if they bloody are. After they go you run off and do something grownup that you've been longing to do: like smoke in your car, or read some seriously uninterrupted Tolstoy or have a really big party or do something notable and grownup (or something very childish), or, fine, cry in your car if you must. The point is, you put a smile on your face for your child's sake and then go and get a life while you can. And if you can't think of anything to do with your time, then I'd say you have a problem.

But that's just me. I mean, I totally respect that we all have different takes on child-rearing. *cough cough* Seriously, camp parents who literally need counseling from the camp peeps when they say goodbye to the kids? What a bunch of tits.

On an equally depressing note, I now have to go do situps because I issued a challenge over here at my bloglet to do 5 mins of work a day on my "mom-flap." What's that? you say. Read and join, my lady friends...I have 21 people signed up at yahoo (where the Cookie bloglet also appears). Crap! I loathe, loathe, loathe tummy crunches almost as much as some folks loathe the advent of summer camp. But I'll go to great lengths to keep my bloglet job...and if this means crunches and push-ups, so be it. Gotta make my readers think I'm not allllll negativity and misery! CRABMOMMY CAN BE INSPIRING TOO!


20 comments:

Laura Neely said...

Love it! I LOVED camp and I absolutely CANNOT wait until my two boys are old enough to go to camp for a week or 2 or 10! Is 4 yrs old too early? jk...
:) LSN in atlanta

Alexis said...

Here here! I am disgusted by the idea of parents needing counseling when their kids go to camp. You know what? Camp isn't mandatory. If you really can't hang, do even let them go!

PS I like all your suggestions for things to do when they leave (except smoking in the car since I am the worst kind of non-smoker--the ex-smoker!)

DoulaMomma said...

I'm with you on this. On of my sons is away right now & received several emails & calls from friends asking if I was OK & if I needed a hug or a drink to cope - I'm happy to hang out, but let's celebrate! He felt great about going & I felt equally great about sending him. Jeez louise.

The Boss of You said...

Here's a window into what happens down the road with the hovering. My mother was just in my father's home country settling matters related to his estate. I have long taken note of the indulgent parenting practiced there. My mother sits down to dinner with a family friend, someone she's known over 40 years and hasn't seen in, oh, 20 years, the guy's 30 year-old son calls from a concert and asks him to bring his camera to the concert because he forgot it. GUESS WHAT papa interrupted dinner and brought grown son his camera. Unbelievable.
I would nip this parenting style in the bud before you spend your retirement delivering electronics to your progeny.

Daisy said...

My parents came in for some criticism when they "let" me go to Girl Scout Camp for two weeks when I was 10. Guess what - I loved it! My over-protective uncle couldn't believe I let my daughter travel to Montreal and Quebec with her French class in middle school. Let her? I encouraged her! My shy girl had a great, great time.

Daisy said...

Sorry for the double comment - my disabled child (blind, high-functioning autism) goes to Lions' Camp next week. He's been attending for so many years that now, at age 16, he could run the place. Parents - let go. Really. Cut those apron strings.

Michelle said...

I just found your blog and what a wonderful breath of fresh air you are! And I completely agree about those pathetic, weepy parents. Honest to god, what is wrong with parents today??

Crabmommy said...

gals, right on! am glad you're all with me on this one. Seriously, wtf is wrong with this collective wimpathon out there?! Luckily there are still a few of us left who don't want our kids and ourselves to get so heavy about matters so light. SHWEESH!

Crabmommy said...

p.s. bossofyou: that's seriously freaky stuff. daisy, your boy should really teach these wimparents a thing or two about toughening up. I think, in fact, that there should be a boot camp to toughen up modern parents today, complete with partner exercises in which parents practice punishing their kids through "role play"...(and then we all go and have Snack and Recess). Crabmommy's Boot Camp for Wimparents! :) Can anyone see a gap in the market? Will I, finally, make a buck on this parenting stuff?

kim said...

Screw summer camp....bring on boarding school! I jest. My kid's not old enough for Summer camp, but I am really really really looking forward to kindergarten.

GRAY MATTER MATTERS said...

Alright, I was with you up until Tolstoy. Don't get all erudite (which I had to look up to spell) on us. God created People magazine for a reason.

Anonymous said...

So I am wondering what happened to your blog on Cookie Mag about Amanda Peet and the vaccine debate. Why aren't you blogging about that here?

Two Mittens said...

lmao...thanks, I needed that!

Anonymous said...

You know, I was wondering about that blog too. All of a sudden it was yanked off of Cookie Mag. Do you really believe that parents who don't vaccinate are "parasites." You did quote Peet in your blog and stated that you wholeheartedly agreed.

There are many vaccine damaged children out there, which is why they actually have government office to pay out families whose children have adverse reactions to vaccines. I am so curious about what you will say about this on your personal blog.

justanotherparasite said...

I was absolutely appalled by the blog you posted on Cookie Mag. So, all the "parasites" who don't vaccinate should move to an island, specifically one with out an airport, huh?

Parents who don't vaccinate their children do so for a reason. They have a medical history or predisposition to vaccine reactions, they don't trust doctors to administer vaccines safely, they don't trust the ingredients, their children have had adverse reactions in the past. You make it sound like people flip a coin to decide whether or not to vaccinate.

The fact is, many doctors aren't careful. You can ask for a mercury free shot, but if you don't read the package, you may not be getting it. I know more than one person who asked about this during flu season, and their children almost received a flu vaccine with mercury in it.

There is a direct correlation between the rise of autism and the rise of the number of vaccines that children are getting. There is no proof that our vaccines are safe. I can tell you, I haven't met a mother who has withheld vaccinations who didn't feel like they wished they had an alternative. We all want our children to be safe, but the facts are that mercury is being replaced with aluminum, and many vaccines still contain mercury. The AAP doesn't want you to question this, just keep on giving your kids the shots.

frisian_mom said...

i'm with you, sista. overly coddled children have problems with self-esteem and can become indecisive, codependent adults. you're not doing them any favors by hugging them so tight they can't breathe.

cathy said...

Well, I guess I'll be the slightly dissenting opinion. I have such mixed emotions when I drop my child off to camp. First, I'm a little sad. Sad because he's growing up SO fast and the years are just flying by - though at other times it feels like each second is a year and can't he just grow up FASTER. (But I can promise you I don't cry. Tears are never even threatening. I'm sad, but not crazed!) Then I'm proud of him for his independence because he just LOVES going to camp and does perfectly fine without me around. But last, I get to the car and I rejoice at the little bit of time to myself. What a gift for both of us!

So, while I completely agree with you that parents need to suck it up and let their kids experience independence without being blubbering fools, and while I absolutely love and need the break that summer camp gives, I also understand the sadness. Though I might not feel such sadness with my second child who is still too young for camp - just relief to have a break from my little spitfire!

Oh - and I'm bummed that I didn't get to read the vaccination post on your Cookie blog. Sounds like it was right on!

Crabmommy said...

Those who came querying my disappearing Cookie vaccination post: I just posted a new piece on this today, so please go to that for more if you want to know why I removed the post and what my vaccine views really are.

Mercy Kidz said...

I needed that, i have never laughed so hard im my entier life! Oh my mom was/is that mom that cried! I was so embaressed. She would say if you died I woud die! TALK ABOUT PRESSURE HUH! Lol, love it! that was funny

Inky Ink Inc. said...

I couldn't help but notice that you said 'What a bunch of tits.' Like it's a bad thing or something.