The other day I was talking to my beautiful friend Mari. Mari has an only son – and he’s a great kid. Polite. Responsible. Smart. Helpful. Considerate. All the things that we all want our kids to be. Mari goes to baseball games and school recitals and Church and she facilitates play dates. She’s definitely doing A LOT right.
She told me that recently she was in bed reading a book and drinking tea. OK, knowing her she probably said wine but I can’t remember so I’m sticking with tea so as to make her seem extra “good”. While Mari was reading and drinking “tea” her boy was in his room playing. He was content.
Mari told me that she felt guilty about taking that time for herself. She said she thought to herself:
Should I be making cookies or something? Is he going to grow up and think back on how he went to his friends houses and their moms did fun science projects with them and made things off pinterest? I don’t even cook anymore. He’s been having hot dogs and pizza for dinner every day this week.
The other day I was in Target with my 2 sons. They had each earned some money by doing chores and it was burning holes in their pockets. Ace quickly made his way to the Lego isle. He knew exactly what he wanted. Jay perused the stuffed animal area but nothing grabbed him. He wanted a seal and there were no stuffed seals that day. Go figure. He started looking around in other areas and came across some wooden ABC blocks. Jay’s 2 big loves are animals and the ABC’s.
“Is this for babies?” he asked.
The packaging did look baby-ish. The look on his face made me sad. He knew that technically it was a baby toy. But he was willing me to tell him that no it was not for babies. He really wanted it.
Should I be making cookies or something?
Is this for babies?
2 questions that essentially ask the same thing. Can I do what makes me happy and feel content or should I be bending to what “society” tells me is right or acceptable?
I emphatically say we need to spend more time doing what brings joy and less time worrying about what other people think we should be doing. Obviously I mean that as long as we’re not breaking the law or hurting anyone. Why shouldn’t Mari take some time to drink her wine, I mean tea? Why should “they” make me feel bad about picking up a box of Dunkin Donut munchkins for a school party instead of baking home-made goodies? Why should Jay feel self-conscious about playing with ABC blocks if it makes him happy? Why should boys be told that their toy is a hot wheelz car and girls be told that theirs is a fairy princess. I’m talking to you McDonalds. When we purchase a happy meal, why not just ask us whether we’d like a car or a doll instead of asking if it’s for a boy or a girl? Suppose there’s a little girl who would rather play with a hot wheelz car; Does her Mom have to say into the drive-thru speaker, “it’s for a boy.” How will that make her feel?
Stop making me feel bad about not being “Super Mom”.
And to hell with both age-appropriateness and gender stereotypes where toys are concerned.