A story started circulating the other day about another amazing, crafty parent doing something over-the-top to please the kids in the house. We know how these usually go. It's normally a dad into photography or who has access to special effects video software reaping enormous praise for being a good parent. Here are a few top comments from when a father made a "trains in space" project and uploaded it to YouTube:
"What a fabulous dad!"
"Way to go that! better than entertaining your kid by just giving the smart phone or the ipad to babysit him! [SIC]"
"cool dad award"
Headlines about dads doing zany, complicated projects "for the kids" include:
"Awesome dad photoshops 1-year-old son into video games"
"Dad Photoshops Daughter Into Movie Scenes - BEST DAD EVER!"
So what about this new story circulating? It's about a parent who made a detailed model of Hogwarts using 400,000 Legos. I've seen comments under the article itself as well as Facebook shares that all have a curious, common theme.
"Someone has lots of free time and lots of disposable income"
What's the difference? Oh. This parent is a mom. Let's continue with the comments:
"What kind of mom has time to do this?"
"Very neat; but she couldn't find ANYTHING better to do with her time or money than to spend five years building a Lego castle? ... In her "Lego room"! Come on people, how is this news worthy? If she had just done it for her kids that's one thing, but when you publicize it and setup a photo shoot, you're looking for recognition. At that point, you put yourself on display and deserve whatever the public throws at you. Way to waste your time!"
"Were her kids allowed to play outside ever;) And why are so many people defensive, as if this is the epidemy of good parenting? In terms of factually supporting detail, this is much more a story of a woman's pursuit of her fantasy obsession, than it is a story of her mothering capacity. Considering that a statistically small portion of the population exhibit associations with her activity, and that her fervent preoccupations cause her to deviate from a number of social norms, we can certainly conclude she's weird."
Did you hear that? WHAT MOM HAS THIS MUCH TIME AND MONEY!? WHAT A WEIRDO.
By contrast, every single comment I received on my Facebook page was positive when I revealed the nursery I made for my younger two daughters. I hand refinished the changing table, dresser, bench, crib and accessories as well as sewed a set of curtains that didn't make it into the final room. It took Lego Mom and I both about a year of dabbling to complete our projects. I imagine neither of us spent all day working on it. We all take breaks. We all work hard. We all love our families.
So what's the difference between a Lego Hogwarts and a cheery nursery?
When moms put enormous effort into something domestic - creating fabulous living spaces, dressing or looking amazing (do you know how much time it takes to wax and preen all that together?) or make bento box lunches for their kids, it's okay. Wait. It's expected. That time and money is somehow well spent and means we love our families more. But find a mom who dares play with Legos and it's all "ZOMG WHO HAS THE TIME??"
The answer here is to stop caring about what's between the legs of a person pursuing their passions. The lady likes Legos. I like to sew. Heck no is it all about the kids for any of us. I could throw some Target bedding on a pre-made frame and call it a day but I don't because I'm doing something that I enjoy and the kids happen to love it. Some dads do Photoshop, others cook, some people spend days on end playing Candy Crush and leaving nasty comments on the internet.
We have to stop setting the bar so low for dads and the path so narrow for moms.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to the hardware store to refinish a desk.
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