Obviously, as a blogger, I am a fan of the internet. I think it can be a wonderful tool to find out the most ridiculously random stupid thing you could ever want to know just by popping a couple of words into a search engine. No longer are the days of card catalogs, clenching your buttcheeks and praying no one has checked out the book you need, IF it even contains what you’re looking for.
It can also be frustrating, confusing, infuriating.. you name something with an -ing on the end, and I bet the internet can be it. It can be ANY-thing. The problem with having all of this information at the tips of your fingers, is that (and here comes another -ing) it quickly becomes overwhelming. You just want to know how to bake a mother-badword potato! You don’t need to know the growth cycle, the different ways with which to prepare it, how to flambay it, how to double stuff, fry, use as a lightbulb or make pants out of potato skins- but you will likely find all of that BEFORE you find the correct temperature with which to bake a potato. It’s simple, but not simple. Complicated, but not. It’s like having a magic genie and making a wish to be a millionaire and suddenly you find out that your wealthy grandfather has passed away and left you his fortune. You loved your great grandfather. You just wanted to win the lottery or find a bag of money on your door step- but you weren’t specific enough, so look what you went and put yourself through!
That is how I feel about parenting advice, suggestions, and information when it comes to the world wide web. Everyone and their mother has a different opinion, and there are about a bajillion articles and blogs and photos going around dispensing all kinds of advice. How to encourage your child, how to raise a confident child, 25 things to teach our daughters, 47 ways to bond with your baby, 1356 ideas you absolutely MUST try in order to have the best kid IN THE WORLD!!!! Okay, so maybe none of them are quite that insistent, but it sure feels that way. There is SO much advice, that there is no possible way to read all of it- and when you come across an article that claims to be able to tell you ways to foster a healthier and more loving relationship with your child, or how to make THEM more loving, or how to BE more loving to them, and you don’t have the time or the stomach to read another article about how to be the best parent you can be, guilt decides to pay you a visit. If I don’t read ALL of these articles, does that make me less of a parent? Here I have 5,000 webpages and 36,135 articles that will teach me how to be SUPERMOM or SUPERDAD, but I’m not reading them. They’re free, but I just don’t have the time. And if I did, and I read all these suggestions but didn’t put them ALL to use, I would feel like a failure.
Parental-guilt is serious business. So is raising confident and well-rounded children who know they are loved and know how to love others. But you don’t need ALL of those articles to tell you how to do it.
I know, this is a blog to tell you not to worry about reading ALL of those blogs, obnoxious, right? Hypocritical, maybe? If so, I’m willing to carry the burden for one blog entry. As a parent who is often on the internet for personal and business reasons- I am subjected to seeing these helpful articles sprinkled throughout my Facebook newsfeed, parenting websites, random Google search down the rabbit hole. I may seem like I have a lot of time on my hands, but I’m too busy WRITING to be reading all of these articles- just like many parents are too busy working. Not that I give two turds what anyone thinks of my parenting skills, parenting guilt knows no boundaries. It gets you when you least expect it; so the 5th article I scroll by I start to feel a little bad that all I’m doing is scrolling instead of finding out 19 1/2 things never to say to my child if I want them to be awesome. Ack! Talk about laying it on thick!
I do not mean to imply that these articles intend to guilt you into clicking through and reading them, but we all know that we can appeal to a certain insecurity in someone by labeling an article, a food, a book, even a diet in a certain way. Of course we want our kids to be the happiest they can be, of f’ing COURSE we want them to have strong bonds with us, DUH we want them to be creative. These articles appeal to the parts of us that love our children more than we can vocalize in words. There’s nothing wrong with that! Where it becomes wrong is in how we already feel about ourselves. Those insecurities, those big love-filled parts of us that give us the urge to read these articles are the same ones that make us feel crappy if we don’t. THAT sucks. A whole lot.
If you need advice, guidance, or even just a pat on the back, there’s nothing wrong with searching online to get it. It’s the fastest and easiest way to connect with something or someone who has been through what you have, that is telling you what you are looking for or need to read. Just don’t knock yourself if you can’t complete all 68 things on the list of ways some website tells you will give your kid the best life ever. And don’t be surprised if you are told how to fry, broil, make a pair of pants out of, or use a potato as a lightbulb before finding your answer. And by potato, I mean kid. And by cooking them… just no. You know what I was getting at!
Just remember that in the end, you know your kid, and you know what is best for them above ANY list with 24 things you may not be able to remember, apply, or do. Take what you can from the lists, forget about the rest, and then go with your gut. The gut rarely lies. Except when it tells you to eat that extra piece of cake. You’ll regret that later.
Where you should be spending your Saturday night twitch.tv/holdinholden
How you win at parenting pic.twitter.com/vFxCsfqmh7
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