Have you ever had one of those arguments where the logic the person you’re arguing with doesn’t make any sort of sense? He or she tries to draw conclusions using steps that just aren’t connected at all. Like saying, “Well, of course your car needs a new battery. You were drinking orange juice earlier today and there’s a 25% chance of rain.” Frustrating right??
A while back I had one of these sorts of highly intelligent debates with a family member who just so happens to be an all-around creepy sort of individual (no, really, he is). It was about (yet again) my “bad parenting.” Right off the bat let me say that I understand that everyone has their own style and I let them be. I would appreciate the same in return. Of course if you’re dropping your baby on the head every time you pick him up, we might have a pow wow on proper cradling techniques. Otherwise, I am a firm believer that you can find your own path and I strongly advocate in staying true to what feels like good parenting to you. But in this case the frustration and annoyance were exacerbated because the insults…umm…I mean advice…were so off the wall as to be considered mere hateful barbs rather than any attempt at being useful.
This familial idiot (it’s okay to talk about your own family this way, right?) had the following gems of debate that he doled out to me in what I’m sure was a well-meaning rant (he’s helpful like that):
1) Because I have tattoos I’m a bad parent. Apparently, tattoos mean that you can’t properly raise a child. Apparently, as a tattooed mother, you would be teaching your kids something horribly wrong and inappropriate if said children should ever gaze upon your tattoos. We’re not talking about showing off “down there” tattoos or something wildly controversial and therefore scarring the children for life…we’re talking fairies on the arms…a Celtic knot on the wrist…that sort of thing. Apparently tattoos in and of themselves are somehow immoral and thereby teach an immoral lifestyle to the children.
2) Because I use curse words on my Facebook page I’m a terrible role model to all of those impressionable kids reading my oh-so-exciting status updates and looking to me for idolatry.
Well, I can kind of see his point. You see, in case you didn’t know it, I’m apparently a role model for the millions of children who are on Facebook. Ahhh…no. Seriously, about the Facebook buffoonery, let me tell you, I do not have a legion of pre-teens with malleable minds at my beck and call. I have no clue where this idea came from. For various reasons my Facebook is locked down pretty tight. The only kids I’m friends with on Facebook are my own children and they tend to start worrying about me when they notice that I’m not using curse words. “Mom, mom, are you okay today?? You don’t seem yourself.” It’s not like I’m spouting obscenities like a Chris Rock special, but words are words (we’ve covered this in another post so I’ll spare you the discourse).
The tattoo argument… I don’t even know how to start wrapping my head around that one. Parenting isn’t about teaching your child empathy or the difference in right and wrong apparently. It’s all about the ink. It just irritated me that in addition to my real-world language use, my body art now somehow damns me from ever being a good, proper mother. As if I don’t have enough issues to deal with on my slip and slide path to Hell. Oh wait, didn’t I mention I’m going to Hell!? Supposedly they have a “special place” for me, but I’m not so sure about that. I’ve never once managed to get behind the velvet rope in my life.
I shouldn’t have been surprised at his rant really, all things considered. This family member and I — Well, we tend to not see eye to eye on a lot of things. Which I’m sure stems from the fact that I’ve never been one to adhere to the old “in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant” way of life. And worse yet, I’m raising my daughter to have a voice of her own. I know. I’m awful.
All this from a guy in the latter years of middle-age who believes that Toddlers and Tiaras is an appropriate parenting resource and guide for young girls. Oh, and while cursing by me is wrong, borderline inappropriate flirting with teen girls by a middle-aged male authority figure such as himself is perfectly fine. Told you. He’s creepy. And why is it always the creepy ones who have no qualms about sharing their “morality” viewpoints anyway?
I guess when I look at all that we don’t have in common I should take his criticism as a good thing. If it’s something he doesn’t agree with, well then it’s probably a pretty good sign I’m doing something right.