found! not lost blog

“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ― Mary Oliver

Parenting, Mad Men Style

I recently found myself at the local Pottery Barn scoping out some very tall glass pillar-like vases.  I had my four-year-old daughter in tow, and a sales woman came up to us to offer advice. She said something along the lines of “you might want something sturdier, maybe not as breakable…” and gave a sideways glance to my kiddo.

Yes, she does have a point – sometimes kids break stuff. But, well, I wrote once about my philosophy on our home a while back, so we don’t need to go into it again.  The reason I bring this up is it illustrated the current thinking that children, not their responsible adults, run the world.

I mean, I am really puzzled by the idea that if I have the audacity to bring something that isn’t made of foam, plastic, or fabric into my home my kid gets to


break it. And it’s somehow my fault for not knowing better. Ludicrous!

Some people might call me crotchety, but I prefer to think of myself as a “throw back” — to kinder, gentler, more civilized times when adults were adults, and kids were sometimes seen and not heard (except when mixing our drinks – remember that infamous scene in Mad Men? HI-larious!)

Other parenting philosophies I hold that might fit the Mad Men era:

  • Do not wake me before 7 a.m.  Actual nightmares, illness, or danger aside, stay in your bed.  (I make an exception for major holidays, and yes, their birthdays).  Little people waking us repeatedly pre-dawn are practicing a form of torture. And why would we allow it?  Rather than martyr myself, I choose the selfish path. Sleep-training. Locking the door. And when all else fails, sending my dear hubs to deal with them (because he’s more of a morning person, and generally a nicer guy all around).
  • Eat what you’re served. Many parents perform as short-order chefs in desperate attempts to get their kids to eat.  I love to cook, but it’s a fair amount of work, so I make ONE meal for the whole family – not separate meals to suit everyone’s tastes.  If the kids don’t eat it, they won’t eat anything else all night.  Surprisingly, they’ve gone to bed hungry only a couple of times – fast learners!
  • Kids can’t speak or behave disrespectfully to adults. Kids can’t talk to adults the way they talk to other kids. You can’t order me around, you can’t call me by my first name, and you definitely can’t sass me. Naughty words will earn you soap in the mouth, and yes, that has happened. No one got sick, and darned if it wasn’t effective. My mom never did this to me growing up, but she probably should have.
  • In this similar vein – adults are not your servants.  Whatever happened to “respect your elders”?  If you let your kids to treat you this way, that is your business.  But know that they might also treat all other adults that way. And we didn’t give birth to them. And we don’t think they’re as cute as you do. When your child is invited to my home for lunch or dinner, I don’t expect them to turn up their noses at what I offer and order “something different” as if they’re in a restaurant. It’s also not cool if they order me around without so much as a “please” or “thank you” when I’m teaching them in Sunday School, volunteering in their classroom, or driving them in carpool.

In short, our homes and families can’t really be run as a democracy.  Kids can have a hand in family decisions, but they should be age-appropriate, and I would really love it if more people realized “kids being kids” isn’t an excuse to disregard common courtesy.  It might sound like I don’t enjoy kids, but that’s simply untrue.  But I can’t deny that I love being with my kids even more because of their ability to empathize and treat me and their dad like actual people with feelings!

So say what you will, and judge me if you must, but I’m not trying to say I’m a better mom than anyone else. What I’m saying is that I’m sleeping in, cooking only one dinner per night, have my children’s manners and consideration for others complimented often, and my seven-year-old makes a mean martini. (OK, that last part was a joke. Really.) And isn’t that what every mom deserves?


4 comments on “Parenting, Mad Men Style

  1. hiddinsight
    December 11, 2012

    What? You mean I’m not a short-order cook. Okay, I’ll try to teach my 10 year old to cook. I mean, I have tried. I’m not judging…I’m smiling along with you. I need all the advice I can get, lol.

    • found not lost
      December 12, 2012

      haha! Yeah, he doesn’t have to cook, so long as he’s appreciating what you’re cooking. All parents deserve some appreciation for the little efforts we make! (and yes, to keep our sense of humor about this crazy experience called parenting!)

  2. Amy
    December 13, 2012

    LOVE it! So thrilled to know someone else who parents like I want to!

    • found not lost
      December 13, 2012

      Thanks, Amy, I appreciate the encouragement! It’s def a daily challenge to parent this way, but I think it’ll pay off & then some by the time they’re teens.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on December 11, 2012 by in kids/family and tagged , , , .
%d bloggers like this: