Thursday, August 28, 2008
Fifteen Years of Playgroups And Other Stuff That Doesn't Matter
I have joined a few playgroups to meet some mom friends

But in reality I smile and talk with them about potty training and developmental milestones

but inside my head is thinking...

I CAN'T believe that I am still doing playgroups after 15+ years of caring for children.

15 years of playgroups! I have playgroup photos from 1994 when my oldest child was one!
I was 22 and now I am almost 37 -and unlike life that progresses, changes and improves over the years playgroup life has not changed in any way except that the first time moms are closer to my age now.

When I hear moms stress out about this or that unimportant issue with their only child I always smile and act understanding

but inside my head is thinking...

It DOESN'T MATTER if you put your child to bed at 7 or 9, or give them a bath every day or if you let them fall asleep with their clothes on or if they don't know their ABCs before kindergarten or if they can't tie their shoes yet- or WHATEVER.

Also, you are not a superior mother because your son can recite the alphabet backwards.

And it is O.K. if your child skinned their knee or fell on the slide or tripped, etc. Kids get hurt. Their fine.

Don't get me wrong, I like the other moms.

I remember being like that- doing all of the suggestions in the parenting books to make sure my kids turned out perfectly.

But what I learned is that a lot of the things parents do DON'T MATTER.

Love matters. Security matters. Consistent rules matter. Going with what feels right to you matters.

Everything else is nice, but certainly not anything to lose sleep over.

Kids will largely turn out the way their personalities dictate.

The nurture part only goes so far. In other words, as long as you meet their needs (not their wants necessarily) and do the major things that matter- your child will develop and grow into who they will be independent of you.

M and I differ on this somewhat.

He thinks it is ESSENTIAL that Piney goes to bed at the same time every day.

According to him, she will grow up with a host of insecurities if deprived of this important issue.

Since I wasn't on board with his consistent bedtime plan he took over and he puts her to bed every night.

This is the part where you wonder if I do ANYTHING because didn't I tell you earlier that M was also cooking dinner and stuff?

Well, that is all in the past.

Why did I give up the luxury of having my husband cook for me?

Men like to serve and eat big slabs of environmentally harmful BEEF every day.

Enough said.

I cook now, so ya... I contribute to the family.

Plus I am home caring for Piney during the day. She has a little preschool, but it is only a few days a week for a few hours. Also, I did put all of the boys to bed by myself every day, every year until they were old enough to do it by themselves. How many years of putting to bed is that? Plus adding on a year of me putting Piney to bed by myself.

And maybe M is making a difference in Piney's life by giving her a consistent bedtime. Who knows?

At the very least it is great bonding time for them.


back to the present,

Piney gets into mischief every time it gets too quiet in the other room so I better go grab her up and

Take her to the park.
Blogger Angel said...
I can't even do play groups. I am really not good at talking about nothing. It makes me feel a little insane- like I want to bang my head against the wall. :0) Angel

Anonymous stephanie said...
I agree with Angel...however, if I were to join a playgroup, I'd hope you were in it, Jen! I agree with you and don't think a lot of those "little" things matter.
After having 3 boys myself, now ages 14, 12 and 10, I WOULD have some things to contribute to first time moms, however, I have found it is best to just shut-up otherwise they think I am being a know-it-all! Why is that????


Blogger Debbie B said...
I've often wondered since becoming a mom if I'm weird for not being a paranoid parent. I admit I am having issues with sleep but I don't stress over simple things.

Been away from here too long, look how she has grown...and prettier.

Yep, so happy play groups are a thing of the past for us. On to tweens and teens 'groups' for the second go round. *bangs head against wall*

Good to see you are well.

Blogger Jenni said...
I've avoided playgroups with my kids for the reasons you mentioned. But now at work there is a group of young mothers who talk incessantly about potty training and how their child is doing in preschool and what animal sounds he/she can make, and it drives me INSANE!

Maybe this makes me sound mean, but I honestly don't care if their kid can finally moo like a cow. Somehow, I don't think that talent, no matter how cute it may be, is going to help him out much in life.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I LOVE this post! It is absolutely true, and I have always believed that you have so little control with how your child grows up. Love em, feed em and put them to bed (at a fairly consistent time). And most importantly, let them know that you are there for them. My oldest son is 9, my youngest is 21 months (and none in between)-- I am much more complimented as a parent when I am told he has great manners or he is kind rather than he could MOO when he was 18 months old (which he couldn't and the 21 month old can!). More importantly in the last 10 years of parenting, I have given myself the freedom to be ok with our choices and decisions.

p.s.- thanks so much for your packing lists-- I completely relied on them on our trips!

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