School holidays and long weekends tend to be two sides of a coin, depending on which worker you are. Or you may be the third type of worker, the one who has kids but didn’t get to take a holiday. Having fulfilled all three of these roles at some time during my corporate career, I can understand the viewpoint of each.
My growing concern though is based on my new perspective as a work-from-home mom – allow me to share my thoughts.
Being a parent is rough and anyone who says otherwise is liar. (I was going to revise the wording in that sentence and try to make it a little more politically correct, but right now I’m choosing to be brave and controversial)… I suppose that parenting is rewarding too (said with a hint of sarcasm of course), but I digress.
There are times that most (honest) parents will tell you that they count the days till grandparents come over; so that they may flee the bounds of their homes to go have a conversation with other adults and perhaps even eat food that hasn’t been ala-Pre-chewéd. A thrilling prospect really. One which doesn’t involve a lengthy negotiation over whether today should be considered a day to have a bath (even though we have already had this discussion almost every day before).
Yet while it is difficult, there is a significant amount of duty involved; that we have knowingly signed up for. (And no…It’s 2018, Google would’ve informed you already, if you’re still claiming ignorance). How then, with this knowledge, is it possible for parents to sign up their kids up for manners classes and potty training boot camps? Yup, you’re reading correctly and for those of you whose eyes lit up a little… shame on you!
While I can completely understand the demands of a capitalist system which orders us to cling to a job that puts money on the table; isn’t it still our role as parents to teach our kids morals and values and of course manners? During school holidays and long weekends, shouldn’t we be spending time being with our kids; building box carts and having tea parties under a bedsheet-tent?
Because we’ve sold our souls to corporates and employers, we instead hand over large amounts of money to companies running exciting holiday programmes for them to enjoy our children’s smiles and laughter. We have started outsourcing parenting. Paying for additional tuition for little ones who we could probably help, if we spent a little less time on our phones or in front of the television.
Sure, it’s easier to let someone else do the hard work and perhaps succeed at turning your raging toddler into a more publicly acceptable robot. Would you have done the same with your spouse or partner? If things didn’t go according to plan, would you step out and call in a third party to resolve the squabble?
An American study has shown that with the advent of social media and the pressures that come with it, most parents tend to outsource their parenting mainly to fulfil the need to create a better social image. It seems that we’ve become so hell-bent on ensuring we are creating a picture perfect life along with the picture perfect family, that we’ve lost the belief in our own natural ability as parents.
With recent efforts to reduce cyberbullying and the like, the intricacies of social media are slowly unravelling. Instagram stars have popularised the #nofilter #nomakeup movement in order to bring the realness back to social media. The hope is that the masses may then finally realise that not everyone posing on Instagram looks that way in real life. Will YOU then remove the filter from your own life? Will YOU bring back the realness and tell yourself that it’s okay for your three-year-old to have a tantrum in the middle of the supermarket?
If we’re all a little more honest; you’ll realise it’s all the “normal” little antics you’re going to miss the most…
Written by: Kamentha Pillay aka The STEM Mom. The STEM mom is a freelance writer/engineer/business analyst and advocate for women in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM). If you’re a STEM mom, join our tribe and become a part of our Facebook community today!