I heard about a lady today who quit her job to be a grandma. She had her kids young, so she couldn’t be more than mid-40’s herself, but the pressure to work and earn her World’s Best Gram coffee mug was too much. The parents of the grandchild were perfectly capable, and I certainly understand the enthusiasm, but I’m still kind of like . . . stay-at-home grandma? Is the natural conclusion to the mommy wars the question, Are You Grandma Enough?
Just as Pinterest and Facebook have dialed up the expectations of the mom game (thou must carve bento box lunches! Pie Day is a thing! etcetera) so will it color our ambition as grandmas. For better or worse, this is our generation as moms. We’ll be tiger momming and asking each other what our excuse is into grannyhood. And we’ll wear really big panties while doing it!
When I first read I’m Done Making My Kid’s Childhood Magical I gave it a high five. Later I realized, though, I actually enjoy doing a lot of the things I do. I do them when I feel like it and any guilt of not doing the childhood magic ruse should be abolished. But most of the time? I do it. I’m tired and probably broke, but I’m gambling on the side of too much rather than inflict the pain of not enough. This is a 2014 mom. We’re the Pinterest generation of parents.
Maybe when I get old and my kids have their own kids, I’ll say, “my work here is done, it’s your turn to move the Elf now, suckers!” Maybe I’ll have enough sense to mind my own damn business and take up GILF hobbies like eye rolling and martini-throwing.
OR MAYBE I’ll be the best gram ever. I’ll sew frocks and let the kids hold the mixer when we make cookies because hey, it’s not my floor. Even if it is, I’m old, so no one judges me on my crumbs because none of my friends can see that far. I’ll allow finger paint and not mind if raisins get spilled because if you leave them there long enough, they dry up and are decently easy to sweep. I’ll take my crafting game of 2014 and amplify it times ten!
By the way, my craft game is already on point. This is how we’ve learned to parent. Our identities are tied into our cupcakes and theme parties. In the next few short decades this style of motherhood is going to bleed into our identities as grandmothers. We’re entrenched. The great mompetition of the 2010’s will be the granny wars of 2030.
If you haven’t read the brilliance that is If 70’s Moms Had Blogs, I’ll sum it up thusly: They put their kids in play pens. They cooked from boxed mixes with aplomb. They fed from bottles without a hint of defense. They worked if they needed to and felt no shame staying home. It was all “long hair, don’t care” about parenting choices.
I took a page from this thought and composed my own. If 80’s Moms Had Blogs:
I had a late meeting, so Stephanie and Ashley let themselves in again. They ordered Domino’s pizza for dinner and had Purple Burple to drink. I hope they tipped the pizza guy and didn’t let him stay too long. I instructed them to give the baby his formula after his bath. Those Mr. Yuk stickers should keep him out of the Ajax by the tub. I don’t pay them $2 an hour for nothing, you know. Thankfully they don’t smoke marijuana because THAT would dangerous!
Parenting before the internet seemed to be something you did, instead of something you did as a hobby. It’s comforting to read about. You know what? That was them. We’re sanitized and overprotective and crafty, sure, but we’re just doing us. My own mom hasn’t even met one of my daughters. I’ve had to let it go, Elsa-style. My parenting (and eventual grandparenting!) is a choice to be different. We can’t glorify the 70’s moms or simpler times because they all have their finer points and hardships. We ubermoms of 2014 are doing what we think is best.
We’re super moms now. We craft and write letters to fairies and exhaust ourselves with homemade fondant and three-tier birthday cakes. We do theme outfits. Me, I taught my kids Rummy because that’s my game and they’re fine. (I never said I was perfect, I just said I was active.) There’s nothing wrong with just being who you are, even if that person is a little heavy on the glitter and Pinterest projects.
I’m not saying my ubermomming is special. I’m saying it’s worth talking about because I’m not special. This is motherhood now. This is what we do. And we’re going to do it forever and be ubergrannies.
Part of what’s going on here post-internet is there are just so many ideas, so many milestones and complicated ways to celebrate them. People are starting to complain about us and feel pressured to shift the tide. I get it. I do and I agree.
However, some aspects of parenting naturally suck (the perma-pooch, the picking other peoples’ boogs) and so you have to take your joy where you can. Ever-cutesier gender reveals, day-of-the-week hair bows and cornucopia favor bags are the good stuff in a sea of exhaustion, crisis, worry, bills, appointments, outgrown shoes, bullies and boogeymen.
It’s okay to dial it down, but there’s nothing wrong with us if we admit to relishing the moments either. We’re not 70’s parents or 80’s parents or 50’s parents. We’re mom enough and it will follow us forever until we’re grandma enough.
Hey, it beats being dead.
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Filed under: Raising sisters