Enough with “Making Memories”, Most of Us Are Just Trying to Get Through the Week

I ran across the following little illustration on, I think, Facebook while firmly in the eye of the holiday storm, and I downloaded it and saved it, for later blogging purposes:

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Not because I thought it was cute or because it filled me with all the “awww”es.  No, because it prompted, verbatim (sorry, Mom), the following thought in my head, “Oh, shut the fuck up, Facebook!”

It’s not the idea of baking with my kids–it’s the overall air of perfection practically leaking out of the picture.  (Like, I think I just had to mop some perfection off my desk…)  The little girl who’s clearly had her hair done that morning in her clothing that clearly matches, wearing either an apron or a tutu (but she’s barefoot, see because she’s a child and fancy-free, isn’t that cute?!) standing next to her mother who’s obviously had time to shower and put on an actual “outfit” that doesn’t seem to involve yoga pants and does include actual footwear (although they may or may not be Uggs, which is another point against this particular picture because they are awful and just LET THEM DIE, people!).  The mom is actually finding time to drink her coffee, and they have cookie dough, but the counter is not a hellscape of flour and egg slime and tipped over baking soda containers.  No one is crying, no one is dirty, and no one is stomping off in a huff after being denied a twentieth chocolate chip.  Oh, and they built and f’ing SNOWMAN*, too.  Because of course.

There are no real responsibilities in this picture.  There is no mountain of dirty dishes.  There is no dryer buzzer.  There is no other food because apparently perfectly coiffed, pink-clad people can exist on cookies alone and still maintain figures that seem at odds with having produced little tutu-wearing humans.  In short, this is in no way realistic, and I resent being told, even unintentionally, that this is something I can and should aspire to.  (I also resent the idea that this much “pink” is ever a good thing.)  Almost every time I try to plan “making memories” with my kids, it goes badly, and I end up wishing I’d just let them continue playing by themselves in the basement.

 

(Note:  I was going to include a bunch of examples here of my children being whiny ingrates, but then I realized that would also sort of make me a whiny ingrate, so just take my word for it.)

Before you go calling me a “fun-hater” (and believe me, that’s a term that gets thrown in my general direction A LOT in our house), please know that I DO bake with my kids.  I do (sometimes) do little crafty-ass projects with them.  We do go on walks and picnics (or would if Jon didn’t hate picnics the way I hate the words “craft” and “project”) and have movie nights and breakfast for dinner and all of the other “memory” making things that Facebook and the five-bajillion parenting blogs out there tell me are necessary to create a magical childhood.  But they only seem to work when they happen organically.  In trying to force memories, I usually end up creating chaos, tears, and anger, and dudes, we have enough of that on a weekly basis anyway.  I mean, you’re looking at the woman who tried, tried, to make a memory Christmas morning by putting fake (OREO RICE KRISPY TREAT!) coal in her children’s stockings and only succeeded in making the oldest cry…**

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Whatever the outcome, these were hella good. I used Cocoa Krispies instead of regular rice krispies, and damn. I would make these all year round and just skip the black food coloring. 

I found another picture on Facebook around the same time, and I saved it as well.  I like it a lot more.  I’m even considering getting one***–except one of my littles can read…

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*Snowperson, Alaina, Snowperson.  There’s no reason to assume it’s a male snow figure just because it’s standing outside smiling while two women cook in the kitchen.  I’m sorry.  I’m so, so sorry.  That was cheap and mean, but it was right there.  I couldn’t resist.  I, too, am a sexist.

**This could go down as one my favorite Christmas memories from their childhood, though.  Not because I enjoy making my children cry, but just because it is, in fact, memorable.  It is, however, why I don’t very often try to do spontaneous things with them…

***Stop before you even start.  Of course I don’t really think my children are assholes.  Not all the time.  😉