I have to laugh and roll my eyes a bit when people feel the need to label everything they do as parents. There's child-led weaning, baby-led feeding, and elimination communication, not to mention a bunch of other things that many of us just do.
Apparently these things have special names.
Who knew that giving your kid food on their high chair for them to pick up had a fancy title? I thought it was just called "eating!"
I'm not quite sure when just letting your kids play outside by themselves became "Free Range Parenting" or sleeping with your baby and wearing them in a carrier became "Attachment Parenting."
But suddenly, everything we do as parents has a label.
I understand the idea of finding your tribe and having some way to defend your choices. I've used that tactic more than once with my in-laws.
"It has a name, it's called "BREASTEFEEDING" so I'm not crazy! Take that!"
It can be mind numbing when you make a parenting choice and people, other parents even, raise their eyebrow at you or give you a look like you just made your kids walk barefoot on hot coals.
And when you find someone else who lets their 2-year-old leave the house in a ballet outfit and patent leather dress shoes, you can sigh with relief and have a communal "Two-year-olds are bat shit crazy OMFG" moment.
So, to join the scores of parents who ascribe to a certain parenting philosophy or an eclectic mix of a few, I've decided to start my own.
I'm calling it "Survivor Parenting."
No, I'm not forcing my kids to eat live bugs and boiled goat testicles in order for them to earn some pizza, a couple of Snickers bars, and a phone call home, although I will say it's crossed my mind once or twice.
I'm just doing what I can to make it through another day with my sanity in tact.
The Survivor Mom's Motto: I will not be voted off this motherfucking island.
Around here that means baths every other day or every two if they happened to play at the water table.
Close enough for me!
Sometimes we eat breakfast for dinner. I'll pretend to be their server and take their order to make it more interesting.
"Over easy, Sir!" Margot will tell me.
Apparently she also thinks I'm a man, but hey! Better than "asshole!"
I often just plant Bridget on the floor and throw various things, like Duplo blocks, wooden Easter decorations that still haven't been put away, even remote controls in front of her to keep her occupied.
I think this might be called "free play" but I call it "please give me one more minute to make dinner without crying."
I have no philosophy, no researched approach, no books to guide my every move.
I just make sure my kids are healthy, safe, fed, clothed and happy. And that at the end of the day, I'm still standing.
This weekend I did a massive overhaul of my Twitter followees and Facebook friends. My apologies if you happened to be part of the fat that I cut.
If I didn't recognize your name in my Facebook friend list, I removed you. No hard feelings.
And let me be honest. You're not missing much by not being able to see my page. No naked photos of my lopsided breastfeeding boobs.
Too bad, huh?
As of late, I've felt the overwhelming need to cull down the information seeping into my life because I just don't have any more room for it.
The age of social media has indeed made my life better. And as someone who is primarily in charge of it for my job, I live it every single day. Sometimes every single hour.
And that part I actually like.
But when social media is your job, the lines become blurred. Very very blurred.
On one hand, I'm intimately connected with people that I would have never met otherwise, like moms of four (or more) with whom I can commisserate.
I limit my personal Twitter followers to 300 or so of my closest friends or people that have truly interesting information to share which means when I go to events and see people who I follow on Twitter but I haven't seen in awhile, I know exactly what's going on with them.
Odd, perhaps, but thus is life in 2011.
But outside of that, I don't have the time or the eyesight, really, to take it all in. The twitter parties, cryptic tweets with five hashtags and "text" talk that I can barely understand, not to mention the multiple Facebook updates about how you went to the bathroom and "Look at my pretty pictures of the bathroom!" have become noise to me.
I can barely hear myself think let alone attempt to process and decipher the rapid fire messages of, let's face it, people I don't necessarily care about.
And really, my attention, focus, and few remnants of brain power are needed elsewhere, for people I *do* actually care a lot about.
I haven't read an actual book in years, yet here I am, reading this list of tweets about stuff I don't even really understand.
I'm the first to admit that I've neglected some of my own needs, as well as familial and friendly relationships. Not my immediate family that is, but others that I should spend more energy on but under the guise of "work" end up passing by.
I am busy, but the question I had to ask myself is exactly what am I busy doing.
So this weekend, I downloaded a book on my yet-to-be-used Kindle for iPhone, put on some metaphorical headphones, and turned up the beautiful music that is my life.
Even though Georgia is still very much the deep south, because it's been infiltrated by hordes of Yankees, it doesn't really feel that way most of the time.
We even have Rita's "wooter" ice. Except they call it "Wahter Ahce." Tastes the same to me.
But every now and then I'll forget that I have to specify "unsweetened" tea or I'll ask for the vegetable selection at a restaurant and get my choice of "mashed potatoes or macaroni n' cheese." Other than that, it's pretty close to home.
But lately, my oldest daughter has taken to calling me "Mama" and it's driving me completely insane.
Like most moms, the first time your kids say the word "mama" is pretty magical, although soon thereafter, you're wishing they would say (or if your kids are like mine, screech) "Dada" a bit more obsessively, particularly at 3am.
And I admit, the "Hey sexy mama" from the guy in the beat up Datsun at the grocery store a few weeks ago was almost as endearing as it was offputting.
But when it comes to my kids, once they hit a certain age, they're supposed to transition to "mommy" and then "mom."
Except we live in the South.
And once a "mama," always a "mama."
Thus far, the southernisms have been few and far between. There was the time a few Christmases ago when we had to convince her that it was indeed "BethleHEM" and not "BethleHAM."
And every now and then we have to remind the kids that words like "hair" and "there" are only one syllable, not two.
But no matter how many times I ask her to just call me "Mom," it doesn't quite seem to register.
So for now, I've relented. Call me what you will, kid. Because "Mama," no matter how you say it, has a much better ring to it than "That mean bitch."
And we all know that's coming sooner or later, whether I like the sound of it or not.