Oh Miley

Miley, Miley, Miley.

Sigh.

If you have been hidden under a rock for the last 24 hours, you may have missed the VMAs (that is Video Music Awards) on MTV (that is Music Television I believe). I missed it for sure, because I haven’t watched that channel since about Real World Season 6 and I think they are on Real World Season 55. However, what I COULDN’T miss was when the Titterverse had a giant and simultaneous brain explosion when Miss Cyrus took the stage to perform.

So I did what any mature adult would do. I rose above and ignored the gossip. Ha, no way, I rushed to YouTube to see what all the fuss was about.

And, duuuuuuuude.

Okay, I get it. From the dawn of time, “artists” have been pushing the envelope. Hoping to make an impression. When I got online to make my own Facebook statement of indignation, a dear friend reminded me of the influences we had growing up. For heaven’s sake, Madonna released an album called Erotica with a companion photo book entitled SEX. And yes, lest you be confused about what the photos actually were of… it is what you think. Britney made school girls naughty(er?), wore skimpy clothing and I believe, during one certain tour, pretended to pleasure herself in a bathtub.

Right-O.

So yes, my friend is correct. Miley Cyrus’ decision to use a foam finger as an, ah, um, ahem, sorry, can’t go there. Whatever she was doing with that finger, is not a new phenomenon.

But thanks to the great double-edged sword of technological advancements, I think it IS more problematic to our children than what we saw growing up.

I was free to make all kinds of mistakes when I was growing up. Say, for example, I decided to “be like Madonna” and recreate a scene from SEX (this did not happen by the way.) The only people who would have known were the participants. Sure, maybe someone blabs, there is some gossip for awhile and then things move on to the next teenage scandal.

Let’s say that same thing happens today. First, someone takes a cellphone pic, obviously. That gets posted to SnapChat because kids are dumb. No, that isn’t fair. Kids are not dumb, but it is PROVEN that the part of the brain that controls reasoning isn’t developed until a person is well into adulthood. Children sometimes make bad choices  – it is actually NOT 100% THEIR FAULT. So anyhoo, someone posts this pic to SnapChat and they think that is the end of it. But a “friend” of theirs gets a screen grab of the pic. They post it to Facebook and Twitter. Hashtag “time to ruin a few lives.” Maybe someone took a cellphone video, posted it to all the above, maybe Vine. Now, not that teenagers need it, but all those bullies out there have new ammunition to use online and in person. Maybe these poor kids change schools to get away from the harassment. That doesn’t matter, because the kids at their new school know how to use GOOGLE for God’s sake, and they found the photos, the videos and now have both a new target and new fun fodder. So THEN what? Homeschool? Suicide? Let’s talk about the future. THESE PHOTOS AND VIDEOS COULD BE AVAILABLE WHEN YOU ARE LOOKING FOR YOUR FIRST JOB. It is the Internet people. It is not kind.

As an adult, you may be reading this and thinking I’m going overboard. NO I’M NOT. This kind of activity and bullying is happening every day. It is terrifying.

And that is why we can’t just laugh off these types of “performances” and roll our eyes and say, “OH MILEY.” Chuckle and think how ridiculous we all thought she looked. Because for everyone of us who are unimpressed, there is someone with an undeveloped frontal cortex who is seeing a role model, and who has the tools and access to emulate the things they are seeing and share it with a very, very wide audience.

Look, I made a ton of mistakes growing up, and I am not foolish enough to think my kids won’t make them too. Normal, natural, growing up and learning from them mistakes.

But now, more than ever, I believe that we have to be vigilant about what our kids are seeing and TALKING to them about it. About the dangers of social media, about privacy and how to protect yourself. We can’t immediately change the world, but man, we have got to find a way to help them navigate it.

And pray there isn’t a cell phone around when the worst mistakes happen.

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It is enough

You know what really hacks me off?

Well-intentioned people who write meaningful articles/posts about parenting that are supposed to inspire you, but really just make you feel like you still aren’t doing it right. Like, you just need to TRY HARDER. So maybe, just maybe, if I do EXACTLY what the parent in this post did, I MIGHT be able to NOT SUCK. It will be, like, SUPER easy to be the best parent on the planet, if I just follow these FIVE SIMPLE STEPS. WINNING!

SCREW THAT. I am trying my ASS off with this parenting thing, and sometimes, it feels like a big fat pile of steaming failure. AND THEN! Then someone posts or reposts something about how you shouldn’t check your email when your kid is on the swing set because you are teaching them they are unimportant, or maybe you shouldn’t tell your kid to hurry, because you are RUINING their little lives with the request for some hustle. Or maybe you just read a post about how you need to nurture your children and not force them to grow up so quickly, but then there is that OTHER post that condemns the way you help your kids climb the monkey bars, because, COME ON! Kids are CAPABLE and if you help them you are actually STIFLING THEIR GROWTH AND (again) RUINING THEIR LIVES.

Listen.

I just got home. Where was I? Let’s call it HELL. Because, when it is more than an hour past your youngest child’s nap time, and both kids are hyped up on sugar and you are in a busy mall because you thought taking them to a movie would be a fun outing, it could be the closest thing to Hell that is on this Earth. So lets say you are trying to get both to the car without a) losing one, b) losing your mind, c) accidentally stealing something from the Disney store that is located STRATEGICALLY next to the elevator by the food court by the HOLY GOD THE CAROUSEL, WE MUST RIDE THE CAROUSEL, yet Beckett, he is melting, he is MELTING INTO A GIANT TODDLER-SIZED PUDDLE of GET ME THE FUCK TO SLEEP. But a preschooler doesn’t give a wit that her brother is now burrowing into the tile floor of the food court and that I can’t chase her down because he is officially limp noodle on the floor, incapable of standing on his FEEEEEEET, because he is TIIIIIIIIREEEEEEEDDDDDDD.

You know what? I get that there is probably a great and delicate way to handle this situation. Someone, somewhere has probably even written a post about how to gracefully wrangle your hellion children at a mall. But you know what? I DIDN’T handle it gracefully. I handled it with some harsh words, some threats, some tears, some pleading, some forcefully dumping into a stroller, some hissed words under my breath and maybe a stare that would have frozen my husband in his tracks. THAT is how I handled it. And all those bloggers and writers with all those good intentions and ideas and ways to be a GOOD PARENT can bite me.

Because parenting is HARD. It isn’t always graceful, and it isn’t always well done. Sometimes, it is done very, very poorly. But I am TRYING.

As parents, I think we should all stick together. And continue to just TRY.

It is the best we can do. And whatever anyone says, or however inferior they make you feel, trust me. Our best… it IS enough.

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Photo by Flight Path Photography