Perfect Parent Syndrome: The Age of Parent Shaming

I love social media. It’s what I do for a living and it pays my bills. But there is a sub-world in social media that is both a blessing and the devil incarnate. It’s a world that many parents find to be a sanctuary for great advice, camaraderie, a good laugh, a good cry and where “Perfect Parents” go to shame us all.

From TV time/screen time to organic foods, gifts from Santa to letting your kid play in the backyard by themselves. The “Perfect Parents” are always there to tell you that you suck as a parent and a human being, your children are doomed to become drug addicted mass murderers, you are completely wrong, and you should be ashamed of yourself constantly. Oh and if you are doing “X” then you “Shouldn’t be a parent”.

There is no room for mistakes in the world of perfect parenting. There are no excuses. No grey area. If you are not perfect, then you do not deserve the honour of raising children. Period. Full stop.

10319799_10154037859845321_1000483012_oThey would never forget it is their day to pick up their child. They would never forget to pack a lunch. They would never forget a birthday party on the weekend. They would never forget a doctors appointment. They would never laugh at their child who got into the bum cream and smeared it all over their face hands and ate some because their child would never be alone long enough to do so. They would never be so tired that they forget to put on pants to go to work. (Thank God for mirrors at the front door). They would never because they are perfect.

These “Perfect Parents” want you to know how perfect they are cause they are right there in the comments section of every parenting article, parenting group, your twitter feed and instagram posts and they are going to shame you until you hand your children over to the nearest police station because you are unfit!

It’s is a phenomenon that is crazy to me! I mean, how quickly they forget that we are human beings that are flawed and we make mistakes. But not them, cause they are perfect!

I remember the summer before grade one, I had a friend who was a grade ahead of me named Shannon. We bowled on Saturday mornings together and we would also meet at the pool in our apartment building and swim together. I remember we used to have these races and she was always so fast, a much better swimmer than I was. That summer, Shannon went camping with her Mom, her little brother and her Mom’s boyfriend near Wasaga Beach. And Shannon never came home. She drowned that weekend. Her mother looked away for a few seconds, maybe minutes to tend to her little brother and that’s all it took for her Mother’s worst nightmare, any parents worst nightmare to become reality.

No parent in our community shamed Shannon’s mom, they wept with her. I remember after my Mom told me what had happened to Shannon she hugged me so tight it actually hurt. Because it could happen to any of them. They were not negligent parents. Shannon’s Mom wasn’t negligent, she was human. Accidents happen, that is why they are called accidents. And our parents 

understood that and supported each other. So what happened to us?

If that were to today, the story of what happened to Shannon would be plastered all over Facebook with the “Perfect Parents” all over it with the “How could the mother allow this to happen?”, “She is a horrible Mother, I hope her other children are taken away from her!”, “This should have NEVER happened, her mother should have paid more attention!”, “That woman should have never had children!”. And these people feel justified in writing this.

I read a great blog by Melissa L. Fenton on her site 4boysmother.com called Stop BLAMING Parents for Accidents. Please. This blog stuck with me because she touched on something we are often told: if you can’t say it to a persons face than you shouldn’t say it at all. She basically asks these “Perfect Parents” if they have the balls to walk up to the parents who have suffered the loss of a child at the funeral for their child and repeat the comments they are so quick to make from the comforts of their own homes hidden behind a phone or computer screen? I’m willing to bet that none of them have the cojones for that.

And that is on the extreme side. What about the memes or posts telling people how many presents they should be handing out to their kids at Christmas, or shaming parents who encourage a belief in Santa telling us that we psychologically harming our children. Give it a break already! I get that it takes a village to raise a kid and our village now includes social media, but every village has a Mayor who makes the rules and I am the Mayor of my village so I make the laws and if you don’t like it move to a new town!

It is getting more and more ridiculous! For example, I’ve seen a Mom in a parenting group ask “How long should I allow my little one to cry at bedtime before I check on him/her” and I’ve seen Mom’s start jumping all over her calling her a horrible mother for letting her child cry it out and list off all the ways she is traumatizing her child. Um that was not the question, thus your answer makes you an asshole, I’m sorry, I meant a “Perfect Parent”!

The question was, in case you missed the subtext: “Help me please! I need reassurance as I cannot stand to sit outside little Billy’s door while my heart is breaking listening to the person I love more than anything get used to being on his own in his crib to fall asleep. What is an acceptable time frame of torturing myself before I can break down his door, wrap him up in my arms and kiss his tears away? And please tell me we are both going to be ok!”

And the appropriate answer if you don’t agree with her parenting choice (cause newsflash it’s not your business to agree) is “It will be OK, you go in when you feel you need to” and if you have used similar parenting method then give the woman a time frame!

And if someone asks an open advice question, lets just all agree to give our own personal advice and not tell other commentators how wrong they are unless the advice phyically harmful like:

“Just do what I do! I slap Billy upside the head six times, tell him to grab the eight ball off the top of the fridge and rack up some lines. Then I make sure he gets my beer while he’s at it cause Mama’s feet are aching from carrying this baby around all day in my belly and I need a little ‘pick me up’. Now sometimes I gotta repeat myself with the little dipshit and tell him to hurry up and bring me a cigarette and to not to forget to light it for me this time. These 4 years olds, I tell ya!”

Perfect Parents are not just hurting the parenting community with the fights they start with other parents who had enough of the shaming it’s also about who else is reading their sanctimommy/daddy stuff. It’s parents who suffered similar losses, had children harmed in accidents, or are just struggling and the last thing they need is this BS. So give it up already!

Parenting is so hard, no one is perfect at it, not even these “Perfect Parents” and let’s be real they aren’t fooling anyone but each other.

*Please note: I got my Feature Image from fellow Mommy blogger dianth. I found her while researching “Perfect Parents” and now I am binge reading her blog. She an amazing blogger and Mom who shared her story of the time she accidentally left her son in the car once. If you got a minute check it and her out!

Random Thought: Who is the Buffy Starlet in the Joss Whedon Affair?

A few weeks ago, a guest blog penned by the wife of my ultimate favorite writer, producer, director Joss Whedon appeared everywhere online outlining his disgusting treatment of his wife, including multiple affairs and exposed him as a feminist fraud.

I had a hard time with it, for so many varying reasons; from curiosity to disgust, to disbelief. Not that I didn’t believe Kai, I did. My issue with it all was I couldn’t reconcile how the man who created, in my opinion, one of the strongest, strategic thinking, complex, female character’s who carried an entire “universe” for almost a decade could be “that guy”. And it wasn’t just the character of Buffy, but almost all of the female characters on that show were kick ass, strong women.

And I now had to separate the man from his art, which was/is hard because he made sure it was so entwined.

In my process of doing this I also let my nosy curiosity take over and the sleuth in me started to wonder…who was the “beautiful, needy, aggressive young” woman on the set of Buffy that he had an affair with? And then I proceed to give it far too much thought; so of course I have to share my speculations in order of probability*:

Note: I am going to rule out Kristine Sutherland and Robia Brett LaMorte as they are around Joss’ age

Dawn
Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn):

That would not be an affair it would be child molestation.

Michelle was a young teen when she joined Buffy in Season 5 and she did a LOT of whining back then and screaming and she was just…ugh. But “ugh” in a way that little sisters are “ugh” so we loved her anyway and for that reason alone and the threat of jail time I think is a big no go zone!

Buffy
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy):

Sarah had been around Hollywood/New York Entertainment scene since she was a young child, she knew what was up and she was not playing that. She was a sought after actress so she did not need to be validated by a first time TV showrunner.

Also, Joss may be a pig but he is obvi not stupid enough to risk getting his ass handed to him by a woman who knew Tae Kwon Do and could put a stake through the heart of his show by walking away if he crossed the line.

willow
Alyson Hannigan (Willow):

While beautiful, she is not aggressive and also too self aware and smart to be manipulated by Joss’ power. Now that I know who he is, she would intimidate him and she has far to many physical similarities to his wife. But the biggest reason Alyson can’t be the affair women is he wouldn’t risk her talking about it in one of her “Band Camp” stories.

Tara
Amber Benson (Tara):
Similar to Alyson, she doesn’t fit the description. Also, Amber is a known feminist and he wouldn’t risk outing himself. She may have played mild mannered Tara, but Amber is a beautiful force to be reckoned with.
Cordy
Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia):

She was originally my first suspect, only because she went from Buffy to Angel and I thought Joss may have “favoured” her.

But I ruled her out because she is/was very secure in her sexuality and didn’t strike me as “needy”. And while all of these women are forces Charisma packs an extra punch and would eat Joss alive and not break a nail.

Anya
Emma Caulfield (Anya):

She definitely fits the beautiful description, I can’t really see Joss attempting to manipulate her. And while she wasn’t as known prior to her role as Anya and within a good age range at the time, I find it highly unlikely due to other “evidence”. Also, after playing an ex-revenge demon for so long she probably picked up a few tricks that would scare him off.

Faith
Eliza Dushku (Faith):

I think we have a winner here folks and I will state my case.

She was young, beautiful and experiencing her sexuality for the first time away from home. There is also a story where Joss felt the need to do a “career intervention” with her because she was doing too many horror movies (SMG was doing the same at the time, but received no such attention) and thus Dollhouse became their project.

She was missing from the 20th Anniversary reunion that included Wesley who was a far less important character on Buffy. And according to Kai, Joss had already confessed to her at this point about the affair as they had been secretly separated for sometime. Could the decision not to include her have been to keep the peace?

I also noticed how over sexualized Eliza’s characters were in Buffy, Angel and Dollhouse – almost like he was leaving Easter eggs that he wanted us to find.  Like the creepy Mayor/Faith relationship storyline…ew.

Last point, Eliza has a thing for older men, gorgeous, delectable older men. So Joss fits part of that MO being…well …older.

Also if I look back to Eliza then (not now) I think she was a prime target for him. She was just legal and starting her career as an adult which an idiot would say that is needy, her outgoing personality could be misinterpreted by an insecure male as aggressive and there is no denying she is beautiful.

What do you think?

*Please note: This is just me sharing my crazy random thoughts on this. I understand these are real people involved with real feelings and my intention is not to hurt them. I did this to make light of what a lot of people are wondering when it comes to the affair revelation.

Who he actually had an affair with is none of my business, and honestly if it is or isn’t one of these women it doesn’t effect how much I love them or their work on the show. As far as anyone knows he could have had an affair with the caterer.

I also applaud these women for not making any public statements about this. I don’t see it as protecting him, I see it as protecting each other and the legacy of strong women they built together. This post was purely for entertainment purposes.

Starting School Is a Huge Milestone

My baby boy starts school this week and I’m completely freaking out! I have mom friends who will tell me to stop being overly dramatic, or “it’s no big deal”; but I’m not about that. I don’t care what anyone says, to me starting school is a huge deal.

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I have been dreading this moment and excited for it all at once since I first held my little man in my arms the day he was born. I’m excited because he is about to embark on the most life forming adventure of his life – the beginning of his educational career, one that I hope will lead him to NYU. (As you can see I have lofty goals for him)  But, I just hope he makes friends, that he doesn’t get bullied or become the bully, that he loves books, that he doesn’t have a hard time picking up French, that he enjoys math (unlike his mother), that he is creative, artistic, that he enjoys sports and ultimately finds his passion that will lead him to a happy life.

I feel that it all starts with school.
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