When young mother Stephanie Metz (she's 29) says "My kids are not the centre of my world, and that's quite simply because they are not the centre of any world, anywhere," my old, wizened ass (I'm 31, and most decidedly not a young mother) would like to point out that this sentence actually doesn't make any sense.
Sure, the two sound good together, and both may be true, separately, but in no way would her kids not be the centre of her world because they are not the centre of any world, anywhere. The two thoughts do not flow together. Her kids not being the centre of the world in general is not a condition upon which their being the centre of her world is dependent.
She said, "If you're feeling adventurous today, feel free to read on. I'll forewarn you though, this post contains subject matter about which I feel very strongly."
Great! I am feeling adventurous! Hit me with your edginess, you young mom of sage and wit!
So there I am, all hyped up for adventure and what I get is a little whinefest about how her kid can't bring a toy gun to school. Talk about a let-down.
Metz, in meandering, soft-handed prose, laments about her decision to bring her boys into this weak world full of nincompoops. Though how this has to do with their not being the centre of her world is not yet made clear. Let me dazzle you with a few of her words:
"In completely selfish terms, bringing my boys into this world was such a great decision -- for me. They bring me so much joy, they fill my heart, they make me happy. But I often question whether or not it was the right decision for them. My boys are typical little boys. They love to play guns. They love to play good guy versus bad guy. They love to wrestle and be rowdy. That's the nature of little boys, as it has been since the beginning of time.
How long will it be before their typical boy-ish behaviour gets them suspended from school? ... How long will it be before one of them gets upset with a friend, tells that friend to go away and leave them alone, and subsequently gets labelled as a bully?"
I'm sorry, is she saying that because she feels her boys will eventually be suspended from school for "typically boyish behaviour" she shouldn't have brought them into the world? First of all, what the hell, and secondly, there are plenty of real reasons why individuals feel they shouldn't bring children into the world -- poverty, life complications, a world recession, overpopulation, individual choice, etc. I am surprised to see "could be suspended for liking to play good guy and bad guy" on the list.
She then makes a huge leap into bullying, somehow trying to equate "boys being boys" with bullying, or the 'fake bullying' she sees going on in this newfangled world of social media and wimps.
She complains that when we were kids bullying was being stuffed in a locker and having your lunch money stolen, and tries to make a case for why that should still be so, today. Toughen up, buttercup, and etc. As if the strides we've made in society to equalize marginalized voices and promote kindness have been a massive mistake. OK.
Apparently, in Metz's world, when a girl calls another girl a "bitch," the one being called that has no right to her emotional response. Apparently longstanding bullying of this nature is clearly all in our minds, and we need to stop the "worldwide pity party."
Is this where I'm supposed to feel adventurous? That old chestnut of buck up and get over it? No new ground is being broken here. Only the same old shitty diatribes we've all heard since childhood.
She goes on to list these atrocious "real-life" situations in which Debbie, Donna and Billy fail miserably.
In her scenarios, Debbie can't handle college because she got a bad grade, Donna can't handle work because someone didn't like her idea, and Billy can't handle work because he can't follow vague instructions.
And this is all your fault, so fucking stop it, OK?
Only the whole thing is ridiculous because I know hundreds of "modern" parents, and even those far more indulgent than I am are working incredibly hard to instil survival mechanisms in their kids. Is the white-knight syndrome there sometimes? Sure. Is a parent caring about her child's feelings after being called a bitch on the street going to turn that child into someone who cannot fathom a way to go on after getting a bad grade on a paper?
I think we're stretching a little, here.
I mean, the reason parents are trying to be more mindful of their kids is because society is progressing in such a way as to allow them to do so. This is not a bad thing. We can spend time with our kids, play with them, hell, like them even, in this day and age, because some of us have the time and energy to do so.
Then she says, "Everyone parents differently, and I respect that." And I laugh and laugh, because what the hell did I just read, then?
She says her kids will know the value of hard work and will accept failure and move on, and I'm all like, so will everyone's kids because, welp, they're alive. I mean, that's kind of what being alive entails.
Some kids won't have as big a helping of "bootstraps!" from such a young age as hers, but I'll venture a guess as to them being just fine.
She ends on this note, not tied to anything else in her piece: "My kids are not the centre of my world because I love them enough not to allow them to be."
Which would sting if any of her previous writing had actually done what it was supposed to do and told people how not placing their (neurotypical) children at the centre of their world would help them grow into well-rounded human beings.
My kids aren't at the centre of my world either because I am a person who does people things, too.
But I also manage not to be a complete asshole who tramples all over a parenting style I've chosen not to understand, or who makes broad generalizations and hyperbolic forecasts for the future of children who are not mine.
It can be done. Go figure.
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