Facebook Perfect Parenting

I am a millennial. I put it all out there. I bake with the kids and snap a photo. Pack them a cute picnic. Another photo. Art projects? Same. Swinging? Laughing? Just sitting, looking cute? Snap, snap, snap, goes my camera. And I don’t care if you think I’m over-saturating your online lives with my pictures and stories about the kids. I truly don’t. Well, I do a little. I do think about how I am really quick to share all of the picture perfect moments, and fewer of the raw moments. For me, it’s more than just being a millennial that causes me to overshare. I don’t have any close family to speak of and connecting with friends and relatives on FB makes this sometimes oh so isolating task of parenting…less lonely. Moms are quick to jump on and give me advice and I eat it up. I don’t have a mom to bounce ideas or worries off of. So I have a gang of moms on facebook to reassure me.

So today, the kids woke up in awful moods. They were mean to each other, bossy–dirty looks were being shot from one side of the house to the other. There’s only so much I can do to remedy that–or even ignore it. The kids have a daily summer “to do list” to make sure they keep to a productive schedule of chores, playing, helping family members, being creative, reading, etc. Once the kids started working on their lists, moods did not improve. Then it was time for us to go outside. They have an enormous play structure, a pool–so much to do, but I hear: I’m bored. Ugh. I could feel my blood pressure rise as my blood sugar started its descent. Think. Think.

Scavenger Hunt.

It worked like a charm. Their moods improved and we played until lunch time. I, of course, posted about it on facebook, being the millennial oversharer that I am. And I got a lot of compliments. That’s when I needed to share a reality check. Do you know that when my almost 2 year old is throwing a tantrum and I am yelling, you can hear us from a few blocks away? I know our neighbors must hate us. And when it comes to calm, patient, Glenda the Good Witch parenting, complete with the soft voice? Ha! I am a yeller–who is more sarcastic than you could ever aspire to be.

Things aren’t always pretty. I can somehow manage to get all three kids to help me bake some muffins, and then an hour later, I want to sell them on Craiglist. We can have a beautiful family story time that ends up in tears and kids being sent to bed. I can do it all…sometimes. And other times, I yell and hope my neighbors don’t throw their dog poop in my yard (that happened!).

So if you are feeling overwhelming pressure to be a perfect parent–and to “seem” like one, too, on social media, please realize that life is messy. Anyone who “seems” to be put together with their perfect kids are just really great at social media and should switch careers to marketing. It’s ok to laugh and cry and yell and groan and be mad. And take those damned pictures. At least that’s what I tell myself.

(No, seriously. My toddler is sleeping with mashed potatoes in her hair. Life.)

Summer ’17

GrayMama

Summer is a bittersweet time for this Mama and teacher. Oftentimes, we don’t have the money to do all of the fun things available with our kids–and then towards the end of the summer, we are especially strapped for cash because Mama gets paid in June and then not again until September. Money sure has a way of adding  quiet, stifling anxiety to summer vacation.

The teacher part of me needs to get up every day at 5:30, have a purpose and goals set, and work towards them all day. Come home at 5, make dinner, do mom stuff, and relax. I need schedules, goals, plans. And it took me years to figure this out. Summer vacation would come around, ambitious fun would be planned, and then two or three weeks in, it’s not so fun anymore. It’s more like…have I seriously worn these same yoga pants for three days in a row now? What is that stain? Ina Garten, why are you so pretentious? (That’s me on a Food Network binge.) So for several years, I could never quite figure out why summer vacation was never…fulfilling. And always steeped in latent depression and anxiety. Guilt for not being productive. No relaxing whatsoever. Ah ha!  I finally realized that I do need to stick to a schedule and that is perfectly normal.

All of that being said, I am in kind of a slump right now…although I did shower and am wearing clean yoga pants. I have had killer allergies and bronchitis going on six weeks, so going outside and doing things truly is miserable.

So, on the couch, I am. Toddler is napping in her big girl bed. And I have an enormous glass of homemade raspberry iced tea I made a few days ago. Iced tea always brings back summertime memories. My aunt used to take us to the 4-10 Cafe in Grandview, WA, where she would do pull tab gambling and I would drink glass after glass of weak, sugary ice tea. My brothers would drink what Aunt Shiela called “milk pop.” This was her way of giving them a treat, without actually giving them an entire soda. She told the waitress to fill the glass nearly to the top with milk and then add a splash of Pepsi. My brothers thought they were living the high life with that stuff.

Henry and I went to the coast a few days ago and spent the weekend in an RV we rented from my colleague. It was just me, Henry, and the toddler–and each morning, I would venture out to the nearby coffee stand to get us coffee, and a hot chocolate for the kid. One morning, I forgot the hot chocolate that, apparently, Henry had been talking up in my absence. Damn it. So I had to improvise. Milk pop it was. Man, she really thought she was getting away with something, drinking that with breakfast.

Happy Thursday, friends! I will get back into blogging this summer. For dinner tonight: chicken tostadas and homemade pico de gallo!