As our children get older (5 and 9 in a few days), I realize how right everyone was when they tell you it doesn't get easier. I feel like we are constantly faced with moments where we have to respond to some question/issue/challenge with the kids, and you feel the weight of making sure you say/do the right thing. Sometimes I swear I could be in a cheesy movie...waiting for things to freeze and the narrator to debate various responses and their implications. Unfortunately, there often isn't a "correct" answer. I am thankful that Tommy and I have similar parenting styles, and that I have awesome friends and the "What Would Mama Kyle Do?" hotline at my disposal.
A recent example of one of these scenarios (but not the one that prompted this post...I'll get to that in a minute) occurred last week. My 9-year-old wants to still believe in Santa. Apparently some 4th grade boys at school were ranting about how stupid kids who believe in Santa are. I was in the shower, and she asked if we could talk. This question always makes my heart drop a little. I am so glad that she talks to me, but I'm waiting for the question that I can't answer, or the conversation that makes me sweat. Ok...you want to talk about Santa? No problem. (Movie narrator: "Say the wrong thing here, and you could totally ruin the holiday for your sweet daughter).
Me: "People get into wars because one group of people believes in something that the other group thinks is stupid."
Me: "If you believe in Santa, it means that you believe in the spirit of the season. Christmas is all about giving, and caring, and being generous. That is what Santa is about, too."
Me: "Those are stupid boys- I can call them stupid, you can't. You should always stand up for what you believe in, but if you know they will tease you for believing in Santa, don't even talk to them about it. They aren't worth it....and they might get coal in their stockings. Does that help?"
S: "Yes...what is for breakfast?"
Ok, so that was an easy one. Maybe not therapeutic for me to call the boys stupid, but oh well! Today was the episode that has me more and more irritated as I think about it. One of the other Moms, we will call her Ms. X, often volunteers for recess and lunch duty.
S: "Today at recess, Ms. X told us all about the last Twilight movie since she knew I would not see it. She said it wasn't too bad, though. There was no s-e-x in it."
Excuse me? You are a parent of a 9 year old girl. Exactly when did it seem appropriate to talk to the girls about a movie that is not appropriate for their age, and to use/spell the word "s-e-x". The main character gets knocked up by a vampire, and then turned into a vampire. Totally appropriate for the girls!!!!!! I am not naive enough to believe they don't hear about it at school, but from ANOTHER PARENT????? If I thought the girls were discussing something like this (without parent participation), I would probably pass along to the other Moms so they can determine what they want to discuss with their child. I'm irked that someone who wants to be her daughter's friend rather than parent feels this is appropriate behavior with all of the other children. I appreciate the input from some of my go-to Moms (whose parenting styles and opinions I respect immensely), and will be following up on this.
No one said it would be easy, but it would be nice if other parents didn't make it any harder.