An irreverent look at motherhood and family life in a new state of normal.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Ever Changing Perspective

As I have stated before, my opinion changes with each passing day. My opinion of things... all things. Children change you. Before I had kids, I was a reasonable human being who could conquer anything and could have since I was born. I didn't need my parents. I was totally self-sufficient.

I remember being in the movies and seeing a couple who had just met about to kiss. My mom always yelled out (in the theater!), "Don't do it!" She covered our eyes (even as teenagers and young adults) when there was nudity in a movie! She commented EVERY TIME that sex before marriage was stupid. I thought she was nuts.

Then I had kids and I realized that my parents were always there, influencing me, challenging me, making me a better person. I felt the heavy responsibility of doing this for another human being. When Abby was first born, I was a perfect parent. I knew exactly what I was going to do in every situation and there would be no backing down, no mind changing, no confusion. Just swift, reasonable discapline.

Then she said her first words ("Mommy, I want to be a princess!") and I knew I was screwed. You never know what you are going to do in a situation until it arises and then you still don't know. That's what time outs were made for. You can just send them to their room until you have come up with a better plan... maybe. Or you can just let them off with a warning. 

So the other day, Abby had a sippy cup with Disney's Ariel on it. She commented, "Mommy, this princess is naked." After a good laugh, I realized I am noticing more and more of what the media is teaching my baby. When I was a little girl, I watched those movies over and over and just now I'm realizing what they were telling me:

1. 16 is the age when you should start looking for a mate. REALLY?! 16!!! No wonder teen pregnancy is so prevalent.

2. If you've got it, flaunt it. Bikini's are normal every day attire. HA! This is totally reinforced by Hollister, Abercrombie and Fitch and a host of other mall-rat stores.

3. If you want to know if he loves you so, it's in his kiss. Really? It's not in his character or behavior or track record? No wonder divorce is so prevalent.

Now I'm not saying that every kid who watches a princess movie is going to be a single, skankily dressed teen mom. What I am saying is that I notice things now that I'm a mom and I don't know if I want my baby getting the messages I'm getting. Disney princesses are totally losing their appeal for me.

Abby loves Veggie Tales. They have princess stories too. Sweet Pea Beauty and Princess Petunia portray princesses who don't care about the outward appearance (which I will admit is easy for "her" to say as she is the prettiest vegetable I've ever seen...) but care about what's inside. When I stopped by Focus on the Family on my way back from Christmas, I saw a little girl walking from the bookstore with a Sweet Pea Beauty plush character. I went inside and found a host of princess products. I want my little girl to be able to love being a princess. I want her to play dress up and enjoy glittery things but I also want her to get the right message. You are God's princess. You are Daddy's princess. You are special and unique just the way you are and nothing on the outside will change that. It's what's inside that counts. I bought the Sweet Pea Princess and plan to get her the castle and characters that go with it. She loves it.

I hope that I can teach my babies values that make a difference in their lives. I know that I will not always be able to shield them from everything in this world, but I want to be the bigger influence. Someday I'm sure she will be watching The Little Mermaid and I'll be saying, "16! Are you kidding me?! Abby, you are NOT getting married at 16 so just forget about it!" And she'll think I'm crazy but maybe, just maybe, she will secretly think I'm great!

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