It’s almost Mother’s Day! I look back on my idyllic childhood and lovingly uninvolved parents, especially my Mom, with fondness.
Wait, stop right there! Uninvolved parents? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Isn’t that illegal, immoral and unjust? Please give yourself a moment to gather yourself and delete my horrific childhood neglect from your mind.
Hovering, helicoptering, controlling, overly involved – these are the images describing this generation of parents. Do these monikers reflect committed, caring mothers and fathers or overbearing, psychologically damaging ones? Uninvolved parenting is probably considered a Class One Felony today. My mother would do serious jail time for her failure to interfere with every aspect of my life for the first twenty years.
But break the law she did. After all, they provided comfortable basics – a nice home in a kid friendly neighborhood with other law-breaking, uninvolved parents where we learned life’s most important lessons on our suburban New Jersey kickball playing streets. My parents provided summers with our cousins, a good education, family dinners every night and a couple of used cars. One year they allowed my sister and I to host a birthday party which most likely consisted of bologna sandwiches and playing in traffic. Practically child abuse by 2013 standards.
Although I am much more engaged (yes, I used the thesaurus to find another word for involved) than my parents were, I try hard to parent using my Mom as a guide.
Parents nowadays are still coordinating their kids laundry, school work, schedules, friends and goals well into college. Why? Technology is a big reason. The once-a-week phone call I made home in college (although I never reached my parents because they were uninvolved) has been replaced with constant contact through emails/texting/facetime. The acceptable practice of micro-managing grade school activities now continues well into adulthood preempting two skills I developed growing up – allowing to learn from mistakes and fostering independence.
Unfortunately I will be wishing my mother a Happy Mother’s Day as she is carted off to the Big House; hopefully she will be paroled early for good behavior. But you know something, my mom wouldn’t change a thing and neither would I.