Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

27 June 2008

Feminist Mom Guilt

The kid has a gift, a gift I tell ya, on how to make one feel guilty. She knows how to ask questions so saying no is almost out of the question. Her usual starts like this, "I know you're going to say no, but..." Yesterday she started her statement like this, "I know you don't like me playing this, but..." And then went on to detail how one of her girlfriend's asked her to play girlfriend-boyfriend with the girlfriend being the boyfriend. It ended up involving cuddling.

Her conclusion that I wouldn't like it stems from me trying to squash all this "He's my boyfriend," chatter that was happening at pre-school a few months ago.

She also goes up to Hannah Montana and High School Musical stuff at stores (lip balm, t-shirts, night lights) and says, "I know you won't buy this for me, but if you did, I'd want this."

Thanks kid. Your mama and daddy have set boundaries on what we think is age-appropriate and just because others have different ideas you're slamming us. I seriously didn't think this whole "But Susie's mom lets her!" wouldn't start until at least 1st grade.

It's funny that these boundaries aren't all spelled out or even discussed, but Ms. Smartypants figures some of them out on her own. I know I've said she can't have HSM, but I say it's because she doesn't watch it. From that she has determined no Hannah Montana.

And of course this leads me to my continuing pondering of whether or not to take her to see "Kit Kittredge" which is from American Girl (which I get chills up my spine when I think of AG & $100 dolls), but even Ebert gave it an awesome review AND said it wasn't a feature length commercial. aem will now smack me.

People underestimate the power of peer pressure at this age. I guess people think that every parent shields their children the way you would think. The thing is that we don't shield her all that well either. The girl knows almost the entire Star Wars mythology and thinks everyone else does too. Yet, I struggle with describing Han Solo in black & white terms to her...which is where pre-schoolers are - good or bad. Any "well, he was bad, but good" or "a good guy who does bad things" does not cut the cake. She knows Anne Hatheway not from "Ella Enchanted" but from seeing me watch "The Devil Wears Prada." So I know my lines aren't prefect either.

*sigh* This motherhood gig is far tougher than anyone gives us credit for...and seriously, if the credit can't be at Social Security, can't it be at Ann Taylor Loft?

6 comments:

Don't you just hate the guilt trips!? My stepson does the exact same thing and to me and it drives me crazy!

It's incredibly tough to be any kind of a mom when you really want to give into the kids but you know that if you do you're not doing them any good by it. It's hard to know where to draw the line between "cool mom" and "what lesson will he/she learn from this".

Totally agree on this one.

We get it from the other side. Because J is a boy - lots of "how come I can't see The Hulk or Spiderman?" Things that we simply don't think are age appropriate (Star Wars - the original 3 are a big hit... they are very benign compared to similar types of movies today...and there are still clear lines of "good" and "bad")

What we did a long time ago was age limits.

"No - you can't see Spiderman until you are at least 10 years old."

"Why?"

"Because that's our rule. Because I said so."

Of course this doesn't always work with Mr. Smartypants - but he sometimes says - "I can't do xyz until I am xyz age. My mommy said so."

By the way - J also has pointed out Hannah Montana - etc. Who is watching this stuff at age 4 and 5????

Being a self aware mom is so tough. I struggle daily to pass on certain messages or correct assumptions that mayhem( 2year old) and destruction (7year old) pick up from the social world. You have days when you think you are doing great and they come along and drop something on you that lets you know it is back to the drawing board. Buck up hon you are not the only one

i've resigned myself to the guilt - i don't even need my 2 1/2 year old daughter to guilt me, i do it myself. for instance - there are some things i out-and-out lie to her about. for instance: the ice cream truck. we have, it seems, hundreds of them in our neighborhood. every time one goes by she says "what's that?" and i explain, sagely, "oh! that's the musical car. it drives around playing music for everybody. isn't that nice?" now she has a wonderful notion that someone is driving around just playing music for everyone. and she won't be compelled to demand ice cream, which we don't give her (we try to give her as near to absolute zero sugar as we can - we even water down her fruit juice). so far so good. but it's a lie. we're poison-hearted filthy liars, we are.

My dogs send me on guilt trips, I can't even imagine how rough it will be when I have kids! Great post, hilarious and touching at the same time, just like always.