Being a mom has made me a hypocrite more times than I would like to admit. Or more times than I thought would happen?
Maybe I’m a liar. Is that what’s going on here?
Whatever you want to label me, I am one and chances are, if you are a parent, you are one too.
Before you become a parent, and even many times after you are graced with the preciousness of children, you have ALL SORTS of ideas about how you are going to be the most badass, coolest fuck of a parent on the planet.
“Oh we won’t give into societal norms …”
“Oh I’m totally not going to be one of those parents that [fill in whatever you think is a douchie thing to do before you even know the meaning of the word ‘meconium’] …”
“We are not giving into that parenting fad …”
Yeah right, you fuckin’ hypocrite. You’ll be giving in to those societal norms, what all those other parents do, and fads will be your middle goddamned name. Get over it already.
It’s because of your kids that you do it too, which is ironic (that’s a nice way of putting it) because you try to teach your kids to do what they say, not be a hypocrite, be totally unique and themselves, and to always be honest. And then you turn out to lie, cheat, steal, hypocrite, conform, and bullshit your way through about 99% of the things you do.
I’m beating around the bush, here; probably because I don’t want to admit how being a mom made me a hypocrite today.
So the Elf on the Shelf thing has been growing as a trend in recent years. Like really growing; like it’s fucking everywhere. Before Thanksgiving even, I was at Barnes and Noble and about 3/4 of the store was taken up with those fucking boxes that say in print larger than the title itself: A Christmas Tradition.
Fuck you with your Christmas tradition, Elf on the Shelf – was what I said to myself at the time. We have Christmas traditions. You know, we always eat on Christmas and open gifts. That’s a tradition right? I will not be giving into this bullshit!
I wrote blog posts about it over the last few years, even. One was just a few weeks ago, about how ridiculous it is that parents spend time making messes that the elves supposedly create; only to have to clean it all up and start over the next day. I thought it was wasteful (when it involved food) and ridiculous. I thought that there was no good reason why you can’t have good kids all the time, and if you need a fucking doll to handle business in your house you may have some problems.
I even included the thing about the food in a photograph from a story I had read about a couple parents that do the same as the Elf with toy dinosaurs. It was so recently that I blogged with this that it took 5 seconds to find the picture, just now…
I still think all of that, which will make me even more of a hypocrite in all of your eyes in just a moment, here.
We went on vacation for Thanksgiving, home to Chicago to spend the holiday with my family. My cousin came over and said to all the children there: “hey kids! You guys need an elf, it does funny things while you are asleep and if it’s around you know you’re getting presents!! All of the kids in my class are doing them!!!!” Then she turned to me and mouthed the words “FUCK YOU!!”
Yeah. Yeah, fuck you too. I’m still not doing it. That was what I said to myself at the time.
Just two days ago – TWO DAYS AGO – I commented on a couple different friends’ Facebook statuses about how I wasn’t signing up for this happy Elf on the Shelf horse shit. The thing costs $30. Fuck that. Fuck that in the pooper sideways – I refused to do it. REFUSED!!!! I was showing my husband something on Facebook later in the evening, and he saw one of the statuses and my comment, and I yelled in his face that it would not be happening in our house if I had any say in it. And I told myself at the time that I would stick to my guns. Stick to them, I say!
But then, this morning I woke up to a crying, little girl. For some ungodly reason, I threw the letter in the trash that was asking for the elf. She found the letter because she accidentally dropped a crayon in the garbage while throwing away a piece of construction paper. She found the letter and didn’t understand why I would throw it away.
So I lied. Naturally.
“Oh…Santa sent that letter back to me and told me that I’m supposed to go buy the Elf on the Shelf!!!”
And then I got dressed and promptly got into the car, to drive to Target and buy one. Without even thinking about it. I bought the fucking movie too, and almost went back in to get the stuffed animal – because I felt that much like shit.
Finally, I started to rationalize. And to tell myself I’m not a hypocrite. Or a liar. Or an asshole for refusing to give in all along.
Because you want your kids to have a good childhood and to grow up to be good people, you just don’t get how fucking evil and sadistic and hypocritical you have to be to make that happen until you are in the position of doing just that. Are your kids going to have a shitty childhood if they don’t do the Elf on the Shelf? Not necessarily. Would mine? Who knows. The bottom line is that sometimes you have to just suck it up and be a hypocrite. You have to hang your head in shame and buy the goddamned elf, because parenting is so much more than your idealisms.
In the end, my ideas about the Elf on the Shelf were not consistent with that of children – while I wanted to stick to my guns and create family traditions of my own, I was robbing the preciousness of childhood that comes with experiencing things kids often experience. To me it is a stupid fad, to children it is the magic of Christmas. All the promises to myself to be a cool as fuck parent mean nothing if that magic is missing.