My friend, RaeRae over at A Momma’s Desires and Pacifiers blogged today about being a liberal parent…sort of. It got me thinking about the kind of parent I am.
Side note: I'm guessing this post will piss a lot of people off. Oopsie.
What kind of parent would I be labeled if I gave a damn about labels?
I think it’s a lot like Raven…I’m both and I’m pretty happy about that. I don’t want to be extreme left or right in anything that I do. Sure – there are certain things I won’t budge on but mostly I wanna be somewhere in the middle.
I don’t hide the fact that I’m a conservative Republican and I’ve been known to start a political fight or two on my FB wall to defend my views….but I don’t want you to blindly believe what I believe. I won’t respect you if your views don’t have passion and feeling behind them.
I think most of all – beyond being labeled as a liberal or conservative parent – I want to be known as a patriotic, civil servant whose children are well-balanced.
I volunteer in my community and some day I want my kids to do the same. Instead of bitching about things – I want them to work to change things. I want them to stay informed and never ever miss a vote…even if it’s only a small election for our local school board members. I want them to know that voting is a privilege. Every time I vote my children go with me and they use the electic voter thingy for me.
I don’t make my kids go to church every single Sunday like I was forced to as a child. That’s not to say that they have no idea what religion is or that they are allowed to be devils at their whim. They know who God is and they receive sacraments but I’m just not into forcing them to believe what I believe. That backfired on my parents.
My kids will have jobs. They will drive cheap, beater cars with no mufflers and a tape cassette player that they have to pay for so when they have their first nice car they will appreciate it more. If they earn a dollar, they know they are expected to save 1/3, give to charity 1/3 and spend 1/3. If they want to take the 1/3 of spendable money and buy a nose ring or 16 packs of gum….have at it. I could care less.
I will not pay for their college tuition. My parents didn’t pay for mine. It made me work harder and faster to get out. I knew lots of kids whose parents paid their way and they never appreciated how much that cost or what it meant and they didn’t care how long it took them and most today don’t even use the degree. I think that’s an insult to their parents.
On the other hand, I don’t give a damn if they want to color their hair every color of the rainbow and want to be covered in tattoos. I believe in a person’s free will to do what they want with their body and face the consequences of those choices…just like I have. I don’t care if they aren’t straight-laced. Not at all.
My kids will be well-mannered and quiet when necessary. They will respect adults and especially anyone older than them. They will behave and listen. Period. There will be consequences if they don’t. They will have chores to do like emptying the dishwasher and garbages. They will know what it’s like to work and earn money. They will spend their summers outside every day. They will get dirty and they will eat junk food for supper sometimes.
I don’t care if my girls are lesbians. I don’t care if they are straight. I just care if they are happy. And that they give me grandbabies. Everything else about this topic is for someone else to judge. I’m no God. I’m just a Catholic conservative Republican who picks and chooses her battles.
Gay or straight, I expect my girls not to sleep with everything that moves. If you do – have at it. More power to you. I didn’t and nor did Rambo and I think sex is something very intimate. Our society today makes it seem as simple and easy and meaningless as putting ketchup on a burger. My girls will know it’s a big deal. At least while they are under my roof.
On the other hand – I have no hard fast rule like “you will not date until you are 18 or you will not marry until you are 30.” I was barely allowed to leave the house and looking back – my parents thought they were protecting me but it hindered me in a lot of ways. If my girls want to have a boyfriend when they are 12 (I did) – have at it. However, don’t ever expect that boy to be alone with you or go in your room or touch you while I’m around. That’s just how it’s gonna be.
If the neighbor parents 16 houses up let their little girl walk to our house by herself because we live in a small town that is safe – that’s great. My girls won’t be doing that.
If my kids end up being liberal Democrats – great. All I ask is that they vote. And stay informed. And know why they are liberal Democrats.
If my girls want to dress in all black or stripes from head to toe – they can. If they want to wear pajamas out grocery shopping – go for it. Unless dressing Goth or wearing PJs would be disrespectful and inappropriate – like at a funeral. If they want to walk out of the house with their hoohas or booblets hanging out for the world to see…well then they aren’t leaving the house.
If they want to ride motorcycles, I’ll show them how even if I’m scared to death for them. They’ll be required to wear helmets and know bike safety, but they can ride them.
They will probably own a gun and damn sure will know how to use it – to hunt or protect themselves. I believe they have that right.
If they want to take a trip alone after they are 18, I’ll probably let them go. They’ll know the risks and to be careful and they’ll damn sure know how to change a flat and follow a map and lock their doors. But they have to go – because I was never allowed to – even if it scares me to death to let them go.
If they are going to drink – they better do it responsibly. I did and so did their father. It can be done.
They will say thank you and please and they will not expect a handout or feel entitled to anything. Their parents believe in hand UPS – not hand OUTS.
They will learn that we expect them to help neighbors, family and friends – without expecting anything in return. They are expected to have their sibling’s back. No matter what. They will learn that being grateful feels good.
So yah – thinking about it – I’m strict and I’m laid back. I’m liberal and I’m conservative. I’m a hard-ass and I’m fun.
I’m not perfect. Parenting doesn’t come easy to me. I surprise myself often with the things I let and don’t let my girls do. Some things aren’t negotiable and others are.
It’s all a crapshoot. But I like to think I’m in the middle of the crapshoot.
How about you? If you’re a parent or if you were to be a parent – what would your “label” be? Right, left or somewhere in the middle? Are there things you'd let your kids do that contradict your "label"?