On parenting and living in fear

I’m often surprised by how different people try to parent their teenagers. They either seem astonishingly naive or unbearably controlling. Don’t they remember what it was like? Instagram and Snapchat or not, teenagers have always been teenagers. Maybe this is because my kids aren’t there yet and I can’t quite understand their position. Maybe it’s because these parents are often ten or fifteen years older than me and they really can’t remember their teen years as well. Maybe it’s because my teen years were more wild than theirs and I can’t be shocked.

But I was a bit shocked when I caught up with an old friend over the weekend and she vowed to never let her daughters do some of the things we did. Not to put too fine a point on it, but our parents didn’t exactly “let” us do those things either. How did that turn out? I expect my kids will do those sorts of things. I also expect I won’t like it very much either.

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A mild rant about the Beyonce-Jay Z linkbait used to shame me

Something happened to me last week and I’m still annoyed. I’m bothered enough, in fact, to write this blog post about it. I should probably be writing a humdinger of a post that employs insight, humour and the parenting issue du jour ,and wraps it all up in an eminently shareable package that will garner crazy mad pageviews. That’s what I usually do. But today I just want to complain on my blog and not even bother with a big shiny image and the perfect metadiscription, like it’s 2008 or something.

Here’s what happened.

I was messing around on Facebook because I was either procrastinating or taking a break when a link caught my attention. It said something like, Following the Jay Z and Solange saga? Want to see even more pictures? Clearly the answer was YES. There are more pictures?! I only thought there was a video. This is going to be perfect. I can’t think of a better way to trick myself into thinking that I’m not actually avoiding work than by staring vacantly at more pictures of the Knowles family.

You would have done the same thing.

But there were no more Jay Z pictures. There was only an overly moralized scolding about how we’re not paying attention to the important things in the world and then there were pictures taken from other news stories this past week. There were pictures about the kidnapped Nigerian girls and of arrested Iranian youths and, I don’t know, like, Vladimir Putin or something. I didn’t really look.

At first I was mildly disappointed and then I was slightly annoyed. Then I became downright irked. You didn’t just use Beyonce-Jay Z linkbait to shame me, did you? Why don’t you just rip the magazine out of people’s hands at the coffee shop and ask why they’re not reading real literature?  There are people right now playing volleyball at the beach instead of volunteering at soup kitchens. Quick, set up a beach volleyball league so you can lecture everyone who shows up about how selfish they are and throw aprons at them.

I will not even get into the hypocrisy of using the entertainment news story of the day to score pageviews for your own website and then scolding people for falling for it.

But it’s not just this one story. I don’t even remember what it was or how it came into my Facebook feed. It’s several times a day across various social media platforms people complaining about how the rest of us are shallow, celeb hungry idiots who aren’t paying attention to the real news and issues and events. Even if we do start talking about a serious news story, the choir comes out wonder why we only care about this story and not that story or that other one.

If there are important issues and stories some people wish would get more attention, I don’t understand why they don’t just start talking about those issues. Do they think tricking people into listening to them and then smearing them with shame is a more effective tactic?

Are we not allowed to do both? To sit down quietly and catch up on all the important world news stories that are reported on faithfully by all the major news organizations every single day AND ALSO to steal five minutes of mindless pleasure scrolling Facebook for baby pictures and celebrity gossip?

What else is the point of the internet?

Hey, Rebecca! Can we talk about bullshit Internet baby advice?

Hey Rebecca,

A fellow mom in my mom’s group was horribly sleep-deprived, sobbing and feeling emotionally bombarded by all the bullshit on the internet that tells her she is to blame for the night-nursing her ten-month-old baby is doing. Can we talk truthfully about what it’s like to breastfeed a nearly-one-year old?

Signed,

Sick of the web

sleeping baby

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