Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Didn't I Feed You Yesterday?

If you're not a Project Runway fan (and why the heck not?) you may not be familiar with Laura Bennett, season three finalist, mother of six and style/parenting icon. When I grow up I want to be just like her.

I try to keep in mind that I shouldn't idolize her because the woman has money, nannies, a fabulous New York city apartment and at least one Martha-worthy country home. Still, she does have six kids, which I think balances everything out.

Today she has a hilarious article on The Daily Beast (thedailybeast.com) titled, "Didn't I Feed You Yesterday?" She describes her hands-off parenting style (lets her kids eat chemical junk, buys them go-carts and doesn't know where their classrooms are) and even attributes it to a genetic disposition to laissez-faire parenting.

I love it because I am descended from an overprotective mom. She never allowed me out to play with neighbor kids (they were too rough) or join a sport (in case I got injured and possibly paralyzed for life) or go to friends' homes (should any family members living there possess hidden criminal records). I think I was finally allowed to cross the street by myself during seventh grade.

That's the family legacy I've been handed and it's one I'm trying to break. I think I'm making an admirable effort and it helps that my husband grew up in one of those homes where kids were allowed to roam outdoors all day and just return for meals.

I'm also trying hard not to be a helicopter parent at school. While I do volunteer with my kids' classrooms and know their teachers, I try not to hover around the schoolyard or obsess over their homework and friends. Our schools have enough neurotic parents; they don't need me to join their ranks.

Several years ago, on the first day of school, my friend Adrienne and I kissed our kindergartners, watched them march into class, left the weeping moms and went shopping. We might have left tire tracks in the school parking lot in our haste to get out of there.

There was another time a group of us moms decide to celebrate the kids' return to school by canoeing out to a small island with contraband margarita-fixings and snacks, only to find a work-party of prison inmates already there. We still had a splendid time.

So there is hope for me!

1 comment:

nejyerf said...

i love laura and i love how her kids are growing up to be independent.

my sister is doing the same thing for her kids. i hope i could be half the cool and relaxed mother she is.