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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

My Kids Are Not the Center of my World and Yet I Somehow Manage Not to Be a Complete Asshole

What did she say? Yeah, you read that right.

(I'll also not stop here and put a disclaimer in about how this post is a rant and all over the place because 1) this is the internet and duh, and 2) I'll shoulder the fault should my writing not flow as a normal blogger's writing should.)

And when Young Mother (she's 29) Stephanie Metz says "My kids are not the center of my world, and that's quite simply because they are not the center of any world, anywhere," my old, wizened ass (I'm 31, and most decidedly not a young mother) would like to point out that this sentence actually doesn't make any sense.

Sure, the two sound good together, and both may be true, separately, but in no way would her kids not be the center of her world because they are not the center of any world, anywhere. The two thoughts do not flow together. Her kids not being the center of the world in general is not a condition upon which their being the center of her world is dependent. Just...think about it for a while. What she meant to say, she did not say. And that's the lead sentence of the piece.

I make a big deal out of this small detail to get across to everyone right away that writing on the internet doesn't have to be good, or even sensical to go "viral". Hell, it doesn't even have to be remotely subtle. Let's continue.

"If you’re feeling adventurous today, feel free to read on. I’ll forewarn you though, this post contains subject matter about which I feel very strongly. As are most emotionally heated issues – I suppose it’s controversial. But hey, I feel how I feel and that’s not going to be changed."
Great! I am feeling adventurous! Hit me with your edginess, you young mom of sage and wit! (I mean, seriously, if you're going to come out balls-to-the-wall like that, surely you have something original to say on the matter).
Or not.
So there I am, all hyped up for adventure and what I get is a little whinefest about how her kid can't bring a toy gun to school. Talk about a letdown. I'm not even going into the fact that there are very good reasons why kids don't bring toy guns to school these days because I'd like to focus on what she focused on--taking an issue that has relevant and important backstory, stripping it of all meaning, and throwing the context and onus onto a superfluous (to the story) and confusing diatribe about another issue entirely. How very smoke and mirrors of you, Metz. Probably the most sophisticated thing you managed with this piece.
You see, Metz in meandering, soft-handed prose laments about her decision to bring her boys into this weak world full of nincompoops and softies. Though how this has to do with their not being the center of her world is not yet made clear, and we're already a good five paragraphs away from the lead. Let me dazzle you with a few of her words:
"In completely selfish terms, bringing my boys into this world was such a great decision – for me. They bring me so much joy, they fill my heart, they make me happy. But I often question whether or not it was the right decision for them. My boys are typical little boys. They love to play guns. They love to play good guy versus bad guy. They love to wrestle and be rowdy. That’s the nature of little boys, as it has been since the beginning of time. 
How long will it be before their typical boy-ish behavior gets them suspended from school? How long before they get suspended from daycare??? How long will it be before one of them gets upset with a friend, tells that friend to go away and leave them alone, and subsequently gets labeled as a bully? 
The mentality of our society in 2013 is nauseating to me, friends."
I'm sorry, is she saying that because she feels her boys will eventually be suspended from school for "typically boyish behavior" she shouldn't have brought them into the world? First of all, what the fuck, and secondly, there are plenty of real reason why individuals feel they shouldn't bring children into the world--poverty, life complications, a world recession, overpopulation, individual choice, etc. I am surprised to see "could be suspended for liking to play good guy and bad guy" on the list.
She says many years ago, boys could run around playing guns and it was fine, and now they'd be "labeled threats and immediate action [would be] taken to remove that threat from the group."
Is that even true? I require citation.
She then makes a huge leap into bullying, somehow trying to equate 'boys being boys' with bullying, or the 'fake bullying' she sees going on in this new-fangled world of social media and wimps. Again, the thoughts don't follow, but we'll move along anyway. Fine, bullying.
She complains that when we were kids bullying was being stuffed in a locker and having your lunch money stolen, and tries to make a case for why that should still be so, today. Toughen up, buttercup, and etc. As if the strides we've made in society to equalize marginalized voices and promote kindness have been a massive mistake. Okay.
Apparently, in Metz's world, when a girl calls another girl a "bitch", the one being called that has no right to her emotional response. Apparently now these girls being called bitches left and right should suck it up, and everyone should just leave the name-caller alone because 'lol kids.' Apparently no other circumstances could be working upon the callee so that her 'world crumbles', longstanding bullying of this nature is clearly all in our minds, and we need to stop the 'worldwide pity party.'
Is this where I'm supposed to feel adventurous? That old chestnut of buck up and get over it? No new ground is being broken here. Only the same old shitty diatribes we've all heard since childhood.
Suicidal? Tough luck. Get over it, and count your blessings. Hey, at least no one gave you a black eye today. Also, get off the back the bullier. She doesn't deserve your anger. She's just being a kid. You're being a wussy. sigh. I should have just turned on Fox News, to be honest.
"The young generations of today (yes, I sound old. I realize I’m only 29 years old.) are being taught that they shouldn’t have to ever put up with anything doesn’t make their hearts feel like rainbow colored unicorns are running around pooping skittles onto piles of marshmallows."
^^See what I mean? PS - That sentence would have been awesome circa 1999. You know, before it had been said in that exact same iteration a billion times. Again, nothing new or adventurous here.
She goes on to list these atrocious "real-life" situations in which Debbie, Donna and Billy fail miserably because their parents loved them...oh, I mean, stopped everything to cater to their every whim.
In her scenarios, Debbie can't handle college because she got a bad grade, Donna can't handle work because someone didn't like her idea, and Billy can't handle work because he can't follow vague instructions.
And this is all your fault, so fucking stop it, okay?
Only the whole thing is ridiculous because I know hundreds of "modern" parents and even those far more indulgent than I am are working incredibly hard to instill survival mechanisms in their kids. Is the white-knight syndrome there sometimes? Sure. Is a parent caring about her child's feelings after being called a bitch on the street going to turn that child into someone who cannot fathom a way to go on after getting a bad grade on a paper?
I think we're stretching a little, here.
I mean, the reason parents are trying to be more mindful of their kids is because society is progressing in such a way as to allow them to do so. This is not a bad thing. We can spend time with our kids, play with them, hell, like them even, in this day and age, because some of us have the time and energy to do so.
As I said on Facebook, Metz's post is a mediocre attempt to outrage people at best, and a piss-poor intentional mismanagement of modern parenting at worst. In other words, don't be purposefully obtuse just to get clicks.
Then toward the end she talks about what a fabulous parent she is (and modest, too, guys! She says she's not a perfect parent) for about five paragraphs until my eyes are firmly lodged in the back of my head.
Then she says, "Everyone parents differently, and I respect that." And I laugh and laugh, because what the hell did I just read, then?
She wraps the whole thing up with her sons always using their manners, only getting a certain amount of TV and leaving her alone when she has to be "head of the household" while also being free to play good-guy, bad-guy with their guns (which, why is this even associated, I still do not get it).
Her kids will know the value of hard work and will accept failure and move on, and I'm all like, so will everyone's kids because, welp, they're alive. I mean, that's kind of what being alive entails.
Some kids won't have as big a helping of "bootstraps!" from such a young age as hers, but I'll venture a guess as to them being just fine.
And when she says, "they will appreciate that not everyone is out to get them", I marvel at the privilege because what about those who cannot say the same?
She ends on this note, not necessarily tied to anything else in her piece, to be honest: "My kids are not the center of my world because I love them enough not to allow them to be."
Which would sting if any of her previous writing had actually done what it was supposed to do and told people how not placing their (neurotypical) children at the center of their world would help them grow into well-rounded human beings. 
My kids aren't at the center of my world either because I am a person who does people things, one of those being having kids in the first place.
But I also manage not to be a complete asshole who tramples all over a parenting style I've chosen not to understand, or who makes broad generalizations and hyperbolic forecasts for the future of children who are not mine.
It can be done. Go figure.
As Pollychromatic so elegantly says to parents everywhere, "You aren't doing it wrong."



  1. i read her post, trawling about facebook, and was instantly annoyed. one, by her initial statement, and then two, by her absolute moronic associations of all that you mentioned above. as a "metz", i was ashamed.
    also, everytime you wrote "metz", i felt i was being called out, haha. NO relation, btw. at least. not to my knowledge.

  2. I think this is a little hateful of you. I'm sure that she did not mean that she was unsure that bringing her boys into this world may not have been the best idea for the SOLE reason that they could one day be suspended from school or whatever. I think it has more to do with the state of the world that we are in -- that little boys can't play games that make them happy. It's a statement on society. There are many more things that I could tear down about your statements, but frankly, I don't feel like it.

    I think it's a little sad that you took the time to do this. She wrote what she did because it was something very near and dear to her -- close to her heart. You wrote yours to be mean to another human being, period. There wasn't really another reason. You could argue that you were trying to shed light on how her arguments aren't valid or that it is best for children to be the center of a mother's world. But that would be a lie, because your post is simply there to make fun of her and be mean. In reality, it's people like you that she is writing about. People who spend all of their time thinking about and concentrating on other people. If we (and by we, I mean you) all worried about ourselves a little more and everyone else a little less, people wouldn't feel the need to post things like she did.

    Thank you for your time (:

    1. First of all, you sound like Stephanie Metz's best friend. And secondly, Metz's post was entirely written to rip down and tear apart parents who don't parent her way. Her way, I gathered, means, "don't allow your children to be the center of your world, so that my sons can bring guns to school". This post on parentwin merely brought attention to the fact that she was talking about something she clearly hadn't thought all the way through (or her blog post would have had a linear argument to follow), that she doesn't understand bullying has changed in the last 10 years since she was in high school, and "modern" parenting doesn't consist of doing the kids homework for them. And no matter how near and dear to her heart this "statement on society" may upset her, she, was being ignorant to all people who don't parent like her, and wanted them to feel bad about themselves. Parents who do get down on the floor to play with their kids, who's sons don't play "good guy vs. bad guy"; parents who help their kids with a math problem because they're invested in their education. Parents who have been affected negatively by bullying, and might be hyper vigilant when it comes to it.

      So, your argument of this being "mean" and "sad" and "it's only there to make fun of her" is a little pot/kettle/black situation. She did exactly what you're *claiming* parentwin did. If Stephanie Metz, or you for that matter, truly felt the things that she said in her piece, no one would be commenting on this piece to stand up for her. You'd tell her "we can like and believe in the things we want, while respecting that others may not agree with us."

  3. If there's one thing I hate(Me, some random internet person!), it's passive aggressive endings thanking someone when you take a high horse on a topic and try and look down at people. It doesn't win you any fans. The smiley at the end doubly so. You should probably leave that crap out and just jump full on the high horse if you want people to at least respect that you have an opinion.

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