One of the more obvious goals of parenthood is to raise a future generation of decent, responsible human beings. We expect it to be hard work, of course, but sometimes the sheer volume of kid-related “stuff” to handle can feel like it’s sucking the life right out of us.
Popular author Jen Hatmaker’s Facebook post describes just how much energy, time, & supervision modern-day parenting requires in comparison to our own parents’ generation, & she is SO OVER IT.
It was one of those days, surely. A day that probably felt too long, with too much to think about & to do, & Jen was ready to stick a fork in it because she was done.
Then Jen’s husband Brandon wanted to discuss some “new questionable behavior” by one of their kids that night. (Oy vey. It’s a new questionable behavior– as though the older behaviors aren’t enough to deal with??)
Although the specific nature of the “questionable behavior” isn’t revealed, we can only speculate that one of their kids was engaged in some shenanigans, & maybe trying to pull a fast one on Mom & Dad…
While it’s certainly important for parents to be on the same page when it comes to supervising their kids’ behaviors, well… not NOW, Brandon. Mama’s fried.
Jen’s response to Brandon made that crystal-clear:
I can’t care about everything. I have zero capacity for another set of rules, enforcement, and consequences.
I’ve done all I can do here. Please have a nice day.
Right off the bat, I’m going to give her props for being kind; her parting, “have a nice day” was a lot nicer than many of my responses to my husband at the end of a long, tiring day.
Hatmaker went on to say that yes, we all have our responsibility to raise our children well; that’s a given. But things have gotten a wee bit crazy in terms of EVERYTHING we think we’re supposed to monitor regarding our kids.
“Shout out to the parents who are worn out from ALL THE DISCIPLINING AND RULE-SETTING AND FACT-CHECKING AND BOUNDARY-KEEPING.”
(Yep- all of it. Jen is so over all of it, people!)
Before the sanctimommies rush in with judgement, let’s all agree that discipline, rules, and setting appropriate boundaries are important parts of parenting. No, we shouldn’t let kids run wild…but maybe we don’t need to be on top of every.last.thing.
Hatmaker then brings up a valid point: maybe we’ve all jumped aboard the crazy-train in terms of the amounts of things we think we’re supposed to be micro-managing with our kids.
Sometimes a little bit of ignorance IS truly bliss:
there is something also to be said for just not knowing what the heck they are doing all the time.
The phrase “ALL THE TIME” is key here. Sure, we want to keep tabs on our kids. But serving as FBI-surveillance over every single facet of your teen’s life isn’t only excessive- it’s frigging exhausting.
Our kids will turn out just fine without our constant maintenance; the proof of that is that fact that despite our own parents’ blissful ignorance as to our whereabouts as kids, we managed to become decent adults, too.
Or as Jen put it:
Our parents knew exactly zero about where we were, who we were with, much less how fast we were freaking driving, omg.
TRUTH. While my own 10 year old is expected to wear her helmet while biking and can’t bike further than a two block radius from our home, I spent hours zooming through random neighborhoods with my friends- and not a single helmet in the group.
Our parents didn’t know where we were going. And truth be told, they didn’t seem to worry much about it, either. We managed to make it safely home in time, heads still intact.
When it came to our parents checking on our whereabouts at night, Hatmaker points out that:
They called the land line of wherever we said we were, and if that didn’t work out, they just turned on Dynasty and went on with their night.
Nope, no cell phones. Our parents couldn’t track our every move on a cell phone, or text us for an instant response. And they wouldn’t have wanted to, either- they were too busy playing cards with friends or watching TV.
If you’re old enough to have grown up in the 80s, then you’ll remember the classic public service announcement that would pop up during TV commercial breaks:
“It’s 10pm. Do you know where your kids are?”
Our parents needed a reminder, at 10PM at night, to LOOK FOR THEIR OWN KIDS. That pretty much sums up the previous generation’s parenting prowess, and we all still turned out just fine.
Granted, the world isn’t the same as it was when we were kids. But while we can’t afford to be as lax as our parents were, we don’t have to go to the other extreme & go overboard in supervising every last aspect of our teens’ lives.
It’s draining to oversee all.the.things. in your teen’s life. And if you have more than one child, the mental load seems to multiply exponentially.
Jen Hatmaker’s made her peace with not being perfect- “good enough” is good enough. And she’s letting fellow parents know that they have permission to do the same.
She’s done all she could do in that moment:
I’m aiming for a 70% success rate which is PASSING at any standardized institution of education.
Jen’s released herself from the self-imposed responsibility to know EVERYTHING. You can, too- give yourself permission to not have to oversee every shred of minutiae of your kids’ lives. They’re still turn out just fine; after all, look at how great we are!