Wednesday, January 12, 2011

On a Tear

Know what really jumps in my craw and sticks there? Pharisaical Pomposity.

What in the world is that, you ask? It's having the misguided idea that as a superior thinker you know what's best for me and intend to show me the error of my ways. Some folks simply believe that they know better than you do and that you need to be told what to do and what to think, and that if you don't think it and know it as they do, you are clearly an idiot.

Who are the biggest offenders?

1.) People with no kids who want to tell me how to raise mine. Yeah. Okay there, Buddy. Sling that parenting advice somewhere else, because if I have four children and generally no idea what I'm doing over here, then as a non-parent, I know you can't possibly have anything to add to the equation. (Sidenote: Having a cat or a dog makes you a pet owner, not a child rearing expert. You people especially need to shut it.) I'll do fine making my own educated guesses in my personal human bio dome experiment at Casa Johnson.

If you want to do something to help me, come over here and get the grilled cheese sandwich out of the DVD player, find my youngest daughter's left tennis shoe, repaint my den where my budding Rembrandt's painted self portraits on the wall, and help me convince my son that ketchup isn't a vegetable. THAT would be helpful. But telling me that their education isn't appropriate, that my parenting style isn't effective, and that their diet is terrible is just rude.  Do not be confused if you see me smiling and nodding as you blather on. YOU ARE BEING A JACK WAGON, AND I WANT TO HIT YOU UPSIDE THE HEAD WITH MY SHOE!!! I am simply too polite to knock you down and pummel you in public.

2.) People who don't believe in God wanting to argue with me about Him. Why are you wasting your time arguing about a fairy tale if you don't believe in it? I don't sit around having higher level discussion about the ramifications of Goldilocks' anti-social crime spree on the neighborhood of the three bears. Why are you discussing theology at all if you don't buy into it? Don't you have something to macrame or whittle or something organic to grow? Just go on about your business over there somewhere and let me get on with it. Something smells fishy when I get around a pseudo-god-worshiper. Maybe you secretly do buy into it, but want someone to talk you in off of that ledge. Now, if you will shut up going on and on and on about the Earth Mother or crystals or what your aura is saying for five seconds, I'll explain to you in a rational way why I believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven, and I'll use some Scripture to back up my position. If you don't like it, fine. The best part about my faith is that God makes it a take it or leave it proposition. You don't have to believe; you can be righteously wrong all you want, just stop talking down to me. Believing doesn't make me ignorant. In fact, I think it proves the opposite, but that's another rant.

3.) People who assume they are spiritually or politically superior. Know what the difference between me and my OBGYN is? He read the books and passed the test. There is nothing that you know, no knowledge that you hold dear, that I can't learn with a little time and effort. So, quit behaving as though you have some sort of Special Status in the Club of Those Who are Enlightened. Nobody can stand to be around you. How about putting on a cloak of humility? How about coming to serve? How about the first shall be last? Being pious and holy are things that should humble you, not elevate you. Nobody likes a spiritual Nelly Knows it All.

4.) People who want to force me into a healthy lifestyle. We all know that I've been an excercising maniac lately. I've also dropped about 56 lbs through careful diet changes and exercise. It's taken a year of work and deliberate effort. I have a theory about why I got so huge. Wanna hear it? It's a good one. My parents never, ever, in my whole childhood allowed junk food to have any place in our lives,

Cokes, sweets, snacks, candy, etc., hardly ever came into our house. It was like this huge deal when my father would bring a candy bar home. We'd cut it into fourths and share it, savoring every bite. When I'd go spend the night with girlfriends, and their families dealt with food differently and had, say a bowl of Hershey kisses on the kitchen counter, all I could see, all I could think about was that candy. Why was it just sitting there? Why weren't they eating it? What was WRONG with these people????? Didn't they know they were supposed to eat it for special occassions? As a result, I never learned how to self regulate cravings. So, when I got to college and had my own grocery money and my own pantry, it was Game On! I ate it all double time.

In my husband's household growing up, there were snacks everywhere. Little Debbies, soft drinks, chips, candies, goodies, everything you can imagine. He's thin as a rail. He'll eat two bites of something sweet and put the rest in the trash. He's an amazing self regulator. So, we decided to do it that way with our own children and see how it went. Right now in my fridge there are apples, lettuce, tomatoes, grapes, pineapple, pears. On the counter are three or four kinds of bread: white, wheat, bagels, doughnuts. Little Debbies galore: brownies, cookies, doughnut sticks, swiss cake rolls. There are Oreos, Chips Ahoy, a zillion little baggies of chips, popcorn, sweets, candy, milk, five kinds of juice, tea, and five liters of cokes. Know what The Little Flower wanted for a snack tonight before bedtime? Chicken noodle soup. She had all of that at her fingertips and wanted low cal soup. The Number One Son just walked through here eating a whole apple. And one of the Wondertwins had a spoonful of peanut butter.

Here's the moral: Even with access to everything, no limits, no regulation, they all chose WITHOUT FAIL healthy snacks. Are there nights when it's popcorn and chocolate? Sure. But they are thin, healthy, athletic, balanced kids who get to make choices and are learning about what it means to eat well throughout your lifetime, not just when you have no free will and your diet is chosen for you. They play sports, exercise, cheer, basketball, football, run, aerobics, gymnastics--all by choice. Sure, we encourage them, but it's their choice. They will have to run the sprints, not me.

So, if I hear one more government regulation about what I can/can't eat or one more diet do gooder dictating what I should feed my children, I might lose it. The beauty of free will is that we LEARN to make good or bad choices. You have to have a CHOICE in order to exact free will. I would never dream of making my child clean a plate (teaches over eating) or bribe with food (teaching food as a reward) or make my child play the piano or a particular sport ad naseum (because that indicates that it's YOUR obsession, not theirs). I don't care if you choose to do those things to your child. Just leave mine alone!

I have about ten more things to put on this list, but I'll stop for now since it's 10:15 and my Shorties are still up watching television. (Yes, that's right, we have a negotiable bedtime and TVs in the bedrooms, and I don't check homework unless it's some major project or malfunction. That's how you learn personal responsibility--as in, it's not my problem if you didn't do your homework--you earn your grades all by yourself, Sister.) You can ask my A-B Honor Roll kids how they like myy childrearing system tomorrow at school when one of my spiritual, empathetic, kind, thin, funny, talented, bright, joyful, beautiful, athletic, well adjusted, popular God-fearing WonderTwins gets her award for top academic student. In fact, maybe I should be telling you people how it's done...


Amanda said...

Amen! I especially hate The Clean Plate Rule, and I'm with you on them earning thier own grades. I've already done all my homework, thanks.

mom2superkids said...

I admit this is the first time I've read your blog. Now I HAVE to go back a few days and catch up on those I missed. Love the honesty and the way you captured the reality of parentnood.