Daily Archives: 6:18 am

The Haves and The Have Nots

I’ve mentioned a few times that I stayed at a friend’s house last week.
My kids spent long hours playing with older friends, doing things that we don’t normally do.
Nothing bad, just different from the norm around here.
One of the the biggest things I noticed was screen time.
My children were memorized by the technology that their friends have.
Leapster, DS, iPod, iTouch.
They loved them!

We have none of those.
I rarely even let my kids use the computer.
And only occasionally the Wii.

I must admit that there is a reasonable amount of irony that I am Mrs. Technology and my kids barely ever get screen time.
I don’t intend to share my laptop or my iPhone for a variety of reasons-the biggest being I don’t trust them to not tear it up.
(And, if we’re being honest, I sometimes don’t even trust Marshall to not tear it up.)

It’s not that I’m opposed to my kids playing video games –
I think there are some games that really do have educational value
And I think it’s important for my children to be technologically savvy –
But it’s just not a threshold we’ve crossed yet.
And I’m wondering if we should have.

I am frequently taken aback by people my age who don’t know how to use technology.
Now I know that I am a big geek and I spend a  lot of time face-to-face with my beloved ol’ red,
But I’m talking basic computer knowledge.
(It’s almost irresponsible to not know a little bit these days.)

And, like most parents, I want the best for my kids.
I want them to be able to access a world outside of our tiny town.
I want them to have the ability to use technology to help them grow and learn.
I want them to be able to keep up in this digital world that is certain to become even more technological.

But where is that line?
How young is too young?
Shouldn’t they still be focused on imaginary play?
But can’t imaginary play be virtual?
And with some gaming systems, they can even play together.
Isn’t that what I really want?
For them to learn a little something new
and practice playing well with others?

Oh, I don’t know.
(This parenting gig is hard, yo.)

When I think about this,
I tend to get annoyed with myself.
I just wrote about letting go of perfection,
and yet here I am struggling to find the perfect answer to my conundrum.
Hint: There is no perfect answer. 

My children are the only grandchildren on either side.
We have many friends who gratefully pass on hand-me-down toys (and clothes).
My children are certainly not lacking in the toy department.
Is going out and buying an expensive gaming system really the most responsible thing to do?
They are all under the age of 6.
They’ve done nothing to deserve getting video games.
Nor do they need technology.

My internal dialogue is pummeled with thoughts like:
“There are starving children in…” and
“It’s your job as parent to get them the resources they need to prosper” and
“Quit over-analyzing every.single.thing!”

So over-analyze for me.
Where is that line?
When should game systems come into play?
And how to do you balance it all?
Our days are already happy and full –
Will another screen detract from that?



The Plight of Perfection.

This past week I spent a lot of time at a friend’s house.
A quick glance at her house and you can tell that she has great taste.
Her style is classic colonial with splash of cottage and a dash of shabby chic.
It all looks so put-together and perfect.
Pillows that match and sets of golden frames.
Books for decor and books for reading.
Beautiful art and fabulous accessories.

But if you look a little closer, you’ll find scratched hardwood,
a little stain on those matchy-match decorative pillows,
part of the art sculpture that is broken off,
sheet sets with mismatched pillowcases,
a washer and dryer that are on their last legs,
and a door that sticks.

And I’d be willing to bet that as my friend stands in her own home and looks around her,
It’s the torn up and broken and less-than-perfect stuff that she sees.
(At your house, don’t you?)
(I know I do.)

And it’s not just our houses that don’t pass self-inspection.
It’s our looks and clothes and stuff and the work we do.
We are, indeed, our own worst critic.
I can find flaws in every picture I take.
I agonize over words that I write in this space and others.
My house is always cluttered.
My car is never clean.
I always have piles of papers stashed in corners
And closets crammed with stuff I don’t have time to organize.
I think my own ideas are ridiculous and fruitless.
And I often squash good ideas before they blossom simply because they don’t seem good enough.

We put an insane amount of pressure on ourselves (and others) to be perfect.
Oh, we don’t use that word, of course.
And we don’t admit that we’re even doing it.
We call it constructive criticism or critique.
(But it’s there.)
(And it’s hurting us all.)

There is nothing wrong with pushing yourself to be more, be a better you.
But there is something wrong with pushing yourself to be more of someone you’re not.

So the next time you look in the mirror and see crows feet and wrinkles?
Remember that I look at you and I see someone who smiles a lot.

Tomorrow when you get dressed and think your clothes are old and ratty?
Remember that I will see you dressed well in a shirt that looks comfortable and classy.
(I won’t even notice the frayed hem and that one spot on the bottom left side.)

And when you put on your shoes and notice the side is scratched and your nails aren’t painted?
I won’t even look at your feet, I promise.
(I hate feet.)

Lean in, dear friend.
There’s something I want to tell you
(and myself):

You aren’t perfect.
You won’t ever be perfect.
Your house won’t be perfect.
Your car won’t be perfect.
Your life will never be perfect.
listen closely…

perfection is impossible.
but finding happiness in the perfectly imperfect isn’t.

So now will you hold my hand?
Because this idea of perfect imperfection?
It’s kind of new to me.
And I’m not really sure how to do it on my own.