So, word on the street is that it’s cool to be a ‘bad mother.’
I really feel compelled to applaud this shift in parenting culture, since for the entire 7 years that I’ve been a mother, I’ve felt and seen great pressure on moms and dads to do everything perfectly.
There’s a tremendous amount of judgment and the standards are very high.
So I think it’s a breath of fresh air to hear that the trend is now sweeping the other way.
I like elements of the way I was raised in the 1970s and I feel like the announcement of this shift cuts me a little slack to indulge in things like expecting my child to find ways to entertain himself and not making myself sick over the fact that he’s almost 7 can’t ride a bike without training wheels.
My mom would kick us out of the house until lunchtime, then kick us out again until dinnertime, then again after dinner, on weekends and all through the summer. We knew the rules of how far we could go and where and who not to talk to. She trusted that when the street lights came on at night, we’d know we’d better get back or she’d lose her mind with worry.
Many experts today now say kids were better off with lots more leash as we were back then. We were learning so much about relationships and life and making mistakes and having natural consequences.
I still can’t imagine giving my son this kind of free reign, but I’m very much attracted to a move toward a much less intensive parenting approach.
I love more son more than anyone but sitting on the floor playing Lego with him for hours isn’t my idea of fun and I resent the pressure I feel to always be putting his needs before my own. Of course consideration of him comes before everything fundamentally, but it’s very hard to get all you need to get done in the hours you are not at work while also doting on your kid every moment as our culture of late would have us do.
And that’s not to mention actually feeling like you’ve had some down time yourself!
What do you think? Are you glad to see the arrival of the Bad Mom trend?
Karen Bridson is a journalist, TV producer and author of Stunned: The New Generation of Women Having Babies, Getting Angry and Creating a Mothers’ Movement (HCI, 2009). She blogs at http://angrymamas.blogspot.com She also produces a parenting show for Canadian Public Television.