Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Friends Don’t Let Friends Commit Bad Parenting

I’ve mentioned here that my kids really want a pet and I don’t and my husband doesn’t either (though not as badly as I don’t), yet we feel guilty and like bad parents for this reason. Lately we’ve been seriously considering getting one again and my girlfriend called me, “Do NOT let them guilt you into getting a pet,” she said, “You’re not a bad mom for not having one. My cat that we’ve had forever pooped on the floor today – you don’t want a pet, seriously.”

I thought, God I love her. While we’re on the subject of letting me off the hook I tried, “Oh and J wants me to have a birthday party and invite his friends.”

“You have to do that. Get busy his birthday’s in a week,” she said.

“You’re not going to give me a break and tell me I’m a good mom even if I don’t like to have parties?” I begged.

“You heard me, order a cake and just get it done.”

Why do kids have to have birthday parties? Actually I don’t mind the concept, I’m just not much of a party organizer/thrower. My mother is – I never should have moved so far away from her.

So in a feeble attempt to kinda sorta get organized, I asked J what kind of cake he wanted and he said he wanted an “army” cake. At first I thought, an army cake? What will his friends’ parents think of me? And then I remembered it was their damn kids who introduced him to the concept of “army guys” in the first place, which is the reason I have a million soldiers (some of them wounded and such – really gross – whose idea was it to make that crap anyway?). On the other hand they do seem to learn some life lessons from playing with them. Little One had several guys all lined up and told me the story of what was happening. I said, “But Honey, why are the good guys the ones who are captured and the bad guys winning?”

He shrugged, “Well, that’s just the way it goes in army sometimes Mama.”

So it does.

J’s friends seem to know quite a bit about World War II, and I didn’t think much of it until one day he said that Germans are bad people. Wait a second, I said, the Germans are just people – it was the German army during a specific time that was bad. And then I got to explain that yes the Americans were “good guys” – that is, unless you happened to live in Nagasaki, in which case I imagine you wouldn’t think they were so good…

It’s rather quite complicated for a kids’ game.

Before my girlfriend hung up the phone she said, “You know, maybe you should get a dog. People really love their dogs and then they don’t mind how much work they are to take care of.”

“I dunno,” I said, “I love my kids so much I would chop off my own legs for them, but I begrudge all the work I have to do to take care of them like six times a day – minimum.”

“Oh yeah,” she said, “I forgot. Don’t get a dog.”

Just as I thought, how wonderful to have a friend who doesn’t hold your weaknesses against you, she said, “But I mean it, Blondie, have a birthday party.”

4 comments:

Mommy Brain said...

I'll warn you now that birthday parties are one of my sore spots. People were shocked that I didn't have a party for my daughters' second birthday.

However, I got excellent advice from my cousin (mother of 5) who said that they never threw a party for any of their kids. They might invite one or two of their friends over for a low key cake or have the grandparents there but since they're a big family it was like a party just to have them all together in one room. It really made me realize that I shouldn't feel pressured to throw a big party every year.

Lori at Spinning Yellow said...

Don't get a dog! Or a cat. And absolutely not a hamster/gerbil/rodent.

Get some fish.

Too much to say on the birthday thing. Yes, you have to do something, but as low key as you can get away with is my motto!!!

Anjali said...

Oh, I'm so with you on birthday parties. I just combined my middle daughter's birthday party with her younger sister's baptism. I didn't hear the end of it from certain relatives...

Pendullum said...

Okay...
I come from a long list of pets...
My kid has had rabbits, hamsters, budgies, canaries and geckos....
The easiest by far has been the dog... I rescued him from Pet rescue.com... Highly recommend it...
And where the fish, the canaries and budgies are a thing of the distant past...
The Gecko is not so bad in the way of pets...
But the dog has been the BEST pet by far....Love him... Four years of having him... and I have not regretted a single day...
Never had a pet as a kid, nor had my husband... But our wee Elvis, our cockapoo rescue dog has been the love of many many a kid in our hood...
Hypo allergetic, doesn't shed... Just the right size(17lbs) so my kid can walk him... and loyal beyond belief... and so bloody smart... and can swim... Oh the list is endless... and he is my daughter's confident...He has been worth his weight in gold...