In the past couple of days I've read articles relating to the recent upswing in crazy helicopter parents and how to not raise whiny kids. While I am not a parent, I speak from experience as a former child who grew up in the no-Pinterest no-organic no-hippie dippy crazy shit era.
I of all people can speak from experience about caring what others think. I was the most shy, insecure adolescent, preteen and teen you can imagine. I wore certain things to not get made fun of, not necessarily because I thought they were awesome. In 6th grade I couldn't have cared less about Girbaud jeans (you know you remember them), but my classmates did, so I begged my mom to get me some in an effort to simply not be the butt of jokes in class.
Then there was this magical time, I'll call it "college," when suddenly it all made sense. I was successfully living a life giving very few fucks and not getting called out for things I had once thought would make or break my existence. I'd go to a party thrown by people I barely knew and wasn't afraid to turn down the Natty Light offered to me and ask where the Smirnoff Ice was. Shut up, it was 2001. You really can't get on my case for preferring raspberry fizzy booze over beer that tastes like watered down cat piss, and if someone did, I'd tell them to enjoy their cat piss.
Now I'm 31 and can be seen at any random time wearing things that range from a panda hat to blue moccasins to heart sunglasses and a unicorn bag. Oh you think it's stupid? Who cares? My life was affected 0% by your dislike of my outfit. I love cats. I have two. They are my furry babies. I'm a cat lady? Cool, I probably am. I don't give a fuck. My friends haven't yet found my pets to be a source of contention in our relationship, and it's not the cats keeping eligible bachelors away (it's probably the panda hat).
I'm on Pinterest. I find Pinterest to be an awesomely fun time-waster. I personally use it for what I like to call "design porn," which is pictures of various houses and interiors of modern design - that board has about 600 pins on it. Am I really going to go back to my Pinterest board and take in all of the design elements I posted years ago when I'm 50 and am actually able to afford to remodel or build my own house? Fuck no. It's for fun.
Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but I pin pictures of food I'd like to eat. Not ones I'd like to cook, but ones I'd like to have cooked FOR me. I never read the recipes. "That looks fucking delicious." *click* On to the next. And yes, like most females, I have a wedding board. I want a small wedding. I want to spend money on booze and a decent location, and then have a big dance party to 90s rap music with my friends. I would also like to marry an orphan so I don't have to worry about his side of the family. That's just more money I don't want to spend.
I'm not looking at all the DIY stuff thinking about how I can save money by making my own this or that. I don't want to make a freakin chandelier. I also don't want to make paper flowers, or whimsical wedding favors that people will likely toss out as they leave. People aren't going to leave my wedding saying "Wow, that was so beautiful." They're going to leave saying "That was a fucking awesome good time. I want to go back." I've never left a wedding commenting on how tasteful the place cards were, or what the flowers were like (or even noticed if there WERE flowers). "Oh, well this is just how it's done." Nope, not how I roll. My wedding, my rules, get your bullshit traditions and details out of my way so I can legally be married and go party.
And the children part is ridiculous. I don't have children, nor do I plan to, but like I mentioned before, as a former child, I feel I have a decent amount of insight into the mind of one. Guess what? I don't remember my first birthday. Or my second. I don't remember tiny little Christmas decorations, but I remember the Strawberry Shortcake dream house I got. I fucking loved my Rainbow Brite valentines and so did everyone else, dammit. They came in a red box, just like all the other ones, and I had to tear apart each one from its perfectly perforated collection, write on it, and put it in a tiny envelope. I'm pretty sure my mom had 0 regrets or shame about this. I too have 0 regrets.
The first birthday I actually remember I had an ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins. It was god damn delicious. Was I angry that my mom didn't go all out and create cupcakes that looked like individual Mickey and Minnies? Nope. When I went to birthday parties, I cared about 2 things: whether they had a pool and what kind of cake they were having. The pool was slightly more important.
What I'm saying is, YOUR KIDS DON'T CARE. THEY WON'T REMEMBER. And deep down inside you know this, so that means you're doing it to impress other moms. It's like a competition of who can out-Pinterest the others. Remember me, that person who wears blue shoes and a mammal on her head and may or may not have gone to Home Depot at 9pm wearing Ugg boots, mesh shorts and a ratty tank top to buy a saw while sweating profusely? Yeah, you used to be like me. Or did you? Perhaps at one time, before getting married and having kids, you didn't give a fuck. And your life was not so bad. Probably less stressful too.
So remember this. I had ice cream cakes, store-bought Valentines, a tree full of awesome old Christmas lights my dad brought from his childhood, homemade Halloween costumes, and non-designer baby and child wear and guess what? My childhood was awesome.
And you know what? No one's going to remember that intricate $3000 first birthday party you threw for your kid when my (imaginary) kid gets his acceptance letter from Harvard, now will they?