I Can’t Rage Against the Machine

As I sit here on day 5 of a 7 day school break, I start to ask myself certain questions. Like- Is it wrong to drink before noon if you’ve been cooped up with kids for 5 days? Am I a bad mom if I stop fighting the electronic obsession that all 3 of my kids have? How many days can the kids go without bathing before it is considered neglect? So many questions. But let’s get back to the electronics one. Seriously. Obsession does not even come close to the right word. Addiction.

drugs of choice

My kid starts jonesing as soon as his eyes open. I can find him under his sheets pretty much every morning mesmerized by the creative world he has built in Minecraft.

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All three of my kids are Animal Jam junkies, but it’s National Geographic so it’s ok, right? Remember when the kids were babies and you would put them in front of Baby Einstein videos and think- this is good because it’s educational. Then you’d read all the backlash of how it causes ADD or some shit like that? I just wanted to take a shower and now I’ve given my kid ADD. Cue the mom guilt.

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But seriously- was it that bad? Are there redeeming qualities to playing these games? My kids are interacting with each other (“Meet me at Mount Shiver…Hey check out my den.”) It’s more than parallel play. They are creating things. Minecraft is a game about survival. You have to make shelter, find food, kill zombies (of course.) They talk about it constantly. Strategizing and sharing.

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“The War Room”

I can remember being obsessed with Super Mario Bros on Nintendo. The old school shit, yo. I’d skip my last class (study hall~ that explains a few things) to run home and play Zelda too.

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In 4th-7th grade I’d spend my weekends at the skating rink and work for the high score on Frogger AND Donkey Kong AND Ms. Pacman. (Am I dating myself here? Damn.) PS- I lived in a small town in Mississippi- the skating rink and neighboring video/hamburger joint was the social scene. Don’t judge me.

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My kids get plenty of exercise. They have outside interests. They are social. I’m sure there is a ton of research on all of this, but let’s be honest; I’m not going to go look for it. Ain’t nobody got time for research unless it is posted on Facebook. I did find this though.

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“research”

I try to limit my kids’ electronics. Lord knows it is my go to disciplinary action. And on long Thanksgiving breaks when little people are under foot 24/7…it is a nice way to get some peace and quiet. Until of course they are screaming at each other “You stole my food! You killed me on purpose. Nobody is coming to my den!” Then it’s time to shut it down and kick them outside- even if it’s raining.

Until then though, I’ll believe that all this addiction to technology and electronics can have some positive impact. I’ll enjoy this time and text some people, update my Facebook, and send out some tweets. 😉

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mom guilt

I yelled at my kids right before dropping them at school. I forgot to send them with jackets. I bought lunchables instead of making nutritious all organic lunches. I said “because I said so” instead of taking the time to explain my reasoning for saying no to yet another sleep over. I didn’t stay long enough at the skate park. I didn’t take them to the skate park. I said the skate park was closed.

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Mom guilt.

It starts early.  You let your baby cry in her bed while you finally take a shower after a 10 day hiatus. You called him a fat ass when he wouldn’t stop crying in the middle of the night. (Only to your husband who didn’t even hear it because he slept through the crying, but you still feel awful.)  You fed her store bought baby food instead of mashing up organic avocados and bananas. Mom guilt!

It sucks.

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Every mom I know suffers from some sort of mom guilt. We have been conditioned to think that every single thing we do or don’t do can impact our child’s very soul.  I stressed because I didn’t carve pumpkins this year, and I definitely didn’t roast any damn pumpkin seeds. I don’t bake or cook really. I don’t enjoy the park. I hate reading with my kids.

Shit. My kids are screwed. (and while I’m confessing…I didn’t breastfeed. Oh shit. Double D screwed!!)

Except that I do other things. Maybe it’s not the traditional way of bonding, but dance parties, and super awesome indoor tents are something, right?  You have to know who you are and be that person. I don’t use the oven much but I’m not stingy when it comes to hugs and kisses and praise.  I can create an impromptu musical with my kids about homework. “Every day this week, we try to geeeeet our work done. Geeeet our work done….” Chorus line…Anyone?Anyone?

I heard a great Ted talk the other day from Brene Brown and she said:

” Our job as parents is to make our children feel worthy of love and belonging.”

Did you read that? It did not say our job as parents is to sit on the floor playing hours of barbies/legos/petshop.  It did not say it is our job as parents to take them to all three Chipmunk movies the day they open. Good parenting doesn’t mean baking from scratch! And Lunchables were never mentioned!

I actually googled Brene Brown after watching this. Apparently she is a big wig in the self help community. I’m surprised I didn’t know her sooner since that’s where you will find me in any bookstore. She has a great book: The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting. I haven’t read it but I did read the synopsis. Hey, that counts. Plus, did you read the title? Hello!brene brown bookBasically she says we have to embrace our imperfections. It shows our kids that it’s ok. We need to be who we really are. For me that means, I’m not a baker, a butcher or a candlestick maker.  It’s exhausting to keep up the charade anyway. I am pretty sure I’m not fooling anyone. It’s ok that I don’t bake cookies from scratch! It’s ok if I give a little processed meat.  It’s ok if I don’t want to hear my daughter sing “Rolling in the Deep” for the one millionth time.

We all have our own ways of making our children feel worthy of love and belonging. It doesn’t have to be the same for everyone. And it will never be perfect. Stop feeling guilty. In the words of Barbara Streisand and Barry Gibb: You’ve got nothing to be guilty of….”

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