Parents today are a fierce and righteous sort. This is what I have learned from writing for Mommyish and from the comments and E-mails I have received. We talk a lot about different parenting styles on Mommyish, Tiger Mothers, Helicopter Mothers, Free-range Mothers, Hipster Mothers, Frumpy Mothers, MILFs and everything in between. But one things has really become pronounced to me: we are doing everything in our power not to raise assholes.
Now, hear me out, yes, there are still groups like One Million Moms who want to save today’s youth from the indecency of JC Penny sweater advertising and our comic book characters from finding love. There are moms out there who are still a little too interested in what goes on with our own, personal vaginas. There are fathers out there who still don’t understand that their daughters can’t choose who they fall in love with. But what I have discovered is that there is a common thread amongst the majority of parents raising kids today, and that is that the things our own parents would have taken issue with are the same things that we do everything in our power to take issue against.
Don’t believe me? Ask your own parents. Well, that is if you are of a certain age, cough.
When my mother was growing up, interracial marriages and dating were still scandalized. Even having playdates with a child of another race was something that was seen as slightly unusual. I had one black friend when I was little, and she was my best friend, and I can still remember both of us being teased about it. And I can still remember my mother raising her hand to slap my face when I asked her what a “nigger lover” was, and how she held me on her lap and explained to me I should never repeat those ugly words yelled at me as my friend and I sat on the swings together, both of our hair in tight braids from her mother’s swift fingers, our tongues red with strawberry Kool-aid. Parents today don’t care what color or nationality our kids friends are, as long as they are nice kids. We have mixed race kids, friends of other races, and we treat our kids that all people are equal, no matter what color their skin is, no matter what country they or their parents were born in.
We don’t view abortion as a life-destroying event, and we don’t want to punish our daughters for having them, because we realize the act of having to have an abortion is not exactly a happy fun-time experience. Now, I don’t want my own daughter to ever have an abortion. I don’t wish this procedure on anyone. But compared to how our own parents and their parents viewed abortions, parents today are a lot more understanding of the simple fact that an abortion can be seen as the only solution, and we are less apt to consider it an “end-of-the-world” event. Some of our mothers fought to keep abortions safe and legal, and a hell of a lot of us raise our voices when this is threatened.
Intolerance really pisses us off. A perfect example of this is how much we, and I mean the collective we here, refuse to accept hate groups is the collective reaction we have against the Westboro Baptist Church. It doesn’t matter if you are a Republican or a Democrat, we don’t want to see, our our kids to see, your signs with messages of intolerance and aborted fetuses as you stand on the side of the road. We don’t want you disrupting the funerals of our nation’s heroes. We refuse to let your politicize a horrific tragedy to further your own hate-spewing agenda. We may support free-speech, but we may also demand that you shut up and go away.
We hate it when you bully our gay kids. And if you do, we will hunt you down. When we hear about a gay kid being bullied to suicide for their sexual orientation, even the most right-wing homophobic parent bristles and gets upset at this. Even if we have differing views on homosexuality, the majority of us take huge issue with kids being bullied. A publication like Ladies Home Journal wouldn’t have touched this topic when our own parents first had us.
Sadly, for every heartwarming anecdote I can share, we will still hear stories about parents who seem to be doing everything in their power to raise assholes. I do think the majority of today’s parents are a lot more aggressive about raising kids who aren’t intolerant bigots and creeps. I think we are a lot more involved with aspects of our own children’s lives than our parents were, and that could have do with the fact that as a world we are a lot more connected than we were when our parents had us. And this makes me happy. I think back in the day parents who care about the issues we care about, who are politically and socially aware, who raise our kids with the ideals that we are all equal, who teach our sons not to be rapists and who rally with our daughters when they are confronted with sexism, would have been seen as the minority and not the majority.
But now the tables have turned, and parents today are the sort of parents our own parent’s parents would have warned us about. Now we just need a cool term to start identifying with. Can anyone make “Great White Shark Parents” sound a little catchier?