Welcome to the twenty-first century of parenting: I’m in my thirties and not only do I barely have any friends with kids, I have NO friends with more than one kid. It doesn’t matter what colour I dye my hair, or how many tattoos I have, I am officially the most traditional person in my circle of friends because I am married with two kids.
And two kids is fucking hard. I find myself trying to convince my inner judgemental voice that it should not be this hard. My partner is a very involved parent, and contributes to maintaining our household. My mother had three kids, got zero parenting and household upkeep help from her partner, and did a fraction of the complaining I do on a daily basis. Oh, and she also worked every day, bringing home the bacon, and feeding it to us too. How? After much soul searching (in the form of many pity parties), and comparing myself to my incredibly hardworking and glorious mother, I have some thoughts.
Firstly, I have no doubt my mother was better than me. At everything. Especially not being lazy. She didn’t have a smartphone, social media, candy crush, anything in her hand that wasted time. When she wanted to keep her hands busy, she crocheted or knitted. People that keep this tradition alive get so much respect from me. So let’s put our phones down when we have spare minutes to ourselves and MAKE something. Making and fixing clothes is officially a political act in this time of fast fashion exploiting resources and human beings.
Secondly, my mother had great time management skills when it came to feeding her family. No matter the time of day, there was a big pot of food on the stove that we could eat, or not eat. Until that pot of food was empty, that’s what there was to eat. If I didn’t like it, I could make my own meal with what was available. My kids get a fresh prepared snack and meal every time they say they’re hungry. What kind of stupid shit is that? Half my day is feeding my kids. Maybe more than half. One pot meals, that’s what new parents need to master. For their time and their wallets. And frankly, their family’s health. More home cooked meals = fewer processed foods. Again, a political choice we need to make for our health and sustainability (we are drowning in the garbage from processed food packaging and takeout containers).
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, and this one is hard for my self-deprecating brain to handle: we are better parents than our parents were. We are more concerned than ever with the well being of our kids. We limit screen time. We get down on the floor and play with our kids. We track their development. We don’t put whiskey on their gums when they hurt, we rock them and feel their hurt and give them the space and strength to cry. We KNOW our kids. How many of us can say our parents truly knew us when we were small? My mom worked so hard and every day she did her best, but she was busy all the time. I was a sad lonely kid and that’s something I never want my kids to grow up and say.