Thursday, August 21, 2008

When Parents Attack, Part 2

A while ago I alluded darkly to a scuffle with Perfect Urban Motherhood on my return to city life from Crabtown. I waited a while to write the story, hoping time would give it a comic gleam and thus something unpleasant would be entertaining for my readers. Alas, it just isn't funny, but write it up I did, finally, here:

Beware the barking hippiemom at the gate!

My anecdote is a parable really, revealing (to me anyway) the seamy negative underside of Positively Perfecto Parenting, the vanilla fascism that is our current mommy culture, where all mothers must speak to their small children in the same perky and patient way. Nothing like one incident to make me generalize and stereotype hugely, but there it is. Okay, so this was just one wacko chick but...yeesh. Second time I've been reprimanded in public for my momming style by some supposedly well-meaning woman. What's next? A Crabmommy stoning on Nancy Grace?

Crabmommy no longer goes to a certain Teva-sandal-heavy part of Crabcity, where the streets are paved with hippiemamas, craft stores sell placenta print kits, and wind-chimes tinkle from every porch. Okay, so actually I do go to that part of town, but I bring my mace, just in case.

(Hippiereaders, relax in your Prana slacks: I have my crunchy side too and usually I fully dig your Mayan sling!...I'm just...still....smarting, k?)

As promised, soon to come, part 3 of my pop star bad photo series: Rod Stewart next!


Jill said...

My SIL is one of those sweet talking moms. She claims that she disciplines her children, but there are never, ever any consequences when they do something wrong. Usually nothing more than a distracted "Joey, stop that." Which is sooooooooo effective, as you imagine. So while her children are running around screaming and treating people and things with absolutely no respect whatsoever I, in comparison, look like Atilla the Freaking Hun when I insist that my three year old follow the rules, not talk back, and generally behave like a civilized human being. I once took away his birthday cake eating priveleges at a family celebration when after he refused to eat his dinner and I explained to him that the consequences would be no birthday cake he still opted to get down from the table without eating more than two bites. You would have thought that I was denying him the right to breathe by the reaction I got from my ILs. It simply blows my mind. My kids are the ones who are well behaved and enjoyable to have around and yet I still get guff for being stern and strict. You can't win! I seriously had to go into therapy for it all. Leave me and my effective parenting choices alone already and do something about those wild animals that are your other grandchildren!

Phew... that felt good. lol

Amander said...

I couldn't comment on the cookie post, because I didn't want to register.

I had to chuckle at your "softmommy" comment. Those are the parents I think are doing the biggest disservice to their kids.

I am a therapist for "at-risk" adolescents, and I see far, far more "softmommy" kids than "crabmommy" kids.

Crabmommy said...

jill, hear hear! Good on you for your toughmommy ways! The great irony that softmommies don't see: there is a dark road ahead for little quinny when the world doesn't handle her with kid gloves.
Amanda, thanks a ton for reading the Cookiemag piece. I know, the regi thing is hella irritating but I so appreciate your going to the post.

Crabmommy said...

jill, hear hear! Good on you for your toughmommy ways! The great irony that softmommies don't see: there is a dark road ahead for little quinny when the world doesn't handle her with kid gloves.
Amanda, thanks a ton for reading the Cookiemag piece. I know, the regi thing is hella irritating but I so appreciate your going to the post.

DoulaMomma said...

Not commenting on the parenting, just the many references to placenta prints lately! Crabmommy - they're cool, OK? I know they aren't for everybody, but I happen to think they are quite beautiful.
I will admit, however, that they freezer burn like everything else & tend to smell a bit meaty (in a bad way) when they are old and thaw out. TMI?

Amanda said...

I can see how some peeps might think them cool. But Crabmommy has a dang job at Cookie and there are only so many things I haven't written about when it comes to new(ish) momhood. I thought them prints would get people all jiggy with opinions, one way or the other. And yes, I'm a prude when it comes to my placenta. Thrilled to bits I never got to see it.

mommyknows said...

Indulgence is child abuse! Do your kids a favour and raise the bar.

MommyKnows ... really I do.

The Boss of You said...

My friend works out at a club with daycare. The woman who runs it a Japanese immigrant with a German married name. She has a gentle sternness about how she runs the realm and it earns her the ire of a lot of softmommies. She insists that the children say 'hi' and 'bye' and 'thank you' and 'please'. One mommy got angry because the sitter insisted that her daughter say thank you to another child. The mother had already heard her child say thank you, but the daycare lady hadn't and wouldn't let the child go before she heard the thank you. Mommy was super upset over that (like saying thank you twice is a bad thing) and hasn't taken her tot back. Boy, that really showed her!

Another mommy calls her the dragon lady and recounts a time when her precious bundle was reprimanded for her rambunctiousness. She objected because it didn't fit into the way she does things which is more about negotiating. Well, OK, but this woman is taking care of infants, toddlers, and children all at once. She's got to have rules in order to keep that running smoothly and safely.

My friend, a little more old school, loves this 'dragon lady' and appreciates the discipline and kindness. I think the other parents need to get over themselves.

Anna said...

Wow, I read the Cookie post. Let me tell you, if that had been me, the police would have been called, for sure. Assault; me hitting her. Softies are not doing anyone any favors, least of all their own children. As the mother of a drama queen, I thoroughly empathize with that incident, having hauled my screaming tot from similar settings. I am usually patient with my girl, but upsets happen, you know? Any parent who thinks discipline is harsh, or that it works the same "right" way for every child really needs a clue.

Oh, and for the record, my placenta stayed in the freezer for a year before we buried it with a tree on the girl's first birthday. Yes, we eat those plums. Yes, it was a little squishy, but what else is a card-carrying home-birth enthusiast supposed to do?

Crazy Mom of 3 said...

A newborn swaddled to her chest? A newborn who only eats, sleeps, and poops? That stays in the spot that she set's him/her? Check back with softmom when she has a "spirited" or "energetic" 3 or 4 year old. You did good. Next time a mom like that tries to enforce their mommystyle just become a badgirl and say POPOFF!

po said...

Gosh it's so wierd how discipline doesn't exist these days. In SA you can still smack your kids!

I don't know what I think about smacking not being a parent myself, but I do know kids need discipline, without it they lack direction, boundaries, respect, well everything!

Weak, kind parenting is bad parenting!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great post. For a new mother like me, this will be very helpful for me. I have a baby turning 2 this January. Hope to get more tips from you.