Monday, July 30, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Olympic Expectations

Just think of it as Awkward Mom's Average Olympics.

So, I have been watching the London Olympics and I have learned some things:

1. Danny Boyle is a genius.

2. Water polo looks ridiculously difficult.

3. It is really fun to yell "Beach Volleyball is on!", watch Awkward Dad come running into the room, and then innocently say, "Oh, didn't I mention that it was the men's team?"

4. I have not missed regular TV and it's commercials; the political ones alone erased all the guilt I felt about cheating on TV with Netflix. In fact, I think regular TV and I are headed for a divorce come August 12th.

5. NBC, I am not gonna pick on you because most of the internet already is and we have this fight every Olympics anyway, but I will say it as gently as I can; the U.S.A. isn't the only country in the world. I know that you spent a lot of money on all your Michael Phelps promos, but really, let's show some other countries once in awhile, especially if they actually win the event. And one more thing, Kazakhstan is a diverse and fascinating country; 1 trip to Wikipedia informed me that they are the 9th largest country in the world, may be the place where the apple originated, and have an adult literacy rate of 99.5%. Please tell this to your commentators because every time someone from Kazakhstan wins an event, all they talk about is Borat. Thanks!

6. Can someone give this lady a medal for just being awesome? She might need a back-rub while you are at it.

7. I never ever want the Supers to be in the Olympics.

I can hear the jaws hitting the floor from here. Did she just say that? Why would she say that? Isn't she watching all the NBC promos with Michael Phelps? Did she really just say that? Is she even American? I hear she is from some country called Awkward; isn't that where they filmed Borat?

Here is the deal, Readers. One of the recent commercials that I don't hate is the P & G one with all the kids. Go check it out, I'll wait. I challenge you to not cry when that little curly headed boy (who looks a wee bit like Super Toddler) climbs up that ginormous diving board and they pan to his mother holding her breath. I am crying just writing about it. It is a beautiful ad, but it doesn't make me want to sign the Supers up for diving lessons (is there such a thing?) or start daydreaming about fame and fortune. It does kinda make me want to buy Pampers and Duracell batteries, however....

My reasoning is two-fold. (Not for buying Pampers and batteries, that seems pretty straightforward.) I don't want baby Olympians and I don't want any other fame-riddled careers for my children for the following reasons:

1. I do NOT look good on camera. I have been watching the NBC promos and they always show the parents. Always. In addition, they usually dig up some ancient photo from the late eighties which shows an adorable gap-toothed future Olympian hanging from the banister while his/her mother gazes on in bemusement and acid-washed jeans. I do not wish to have my worry immortalized for all eternity on HD televisions across the country nor do I want proof of my lack of fashion sense available for anyone who knows how to operate Youtube.

2. And while number 1 is clearly the more important reason, I don't want my children pressured to be great.

This comment is misleading and shocking, as it was intended to be to keep you reading. (Maybe I should be making the NBC promos.) The truth is that my children already are great. All children are great, and not in that "everyone is special, so no one really is special" way. All children are uniquely great, every single one. Mine are so great that I do not want them to spend a single moment wishing to be something else.

But what if they want to be baby Olympians, Awkward Mom? What if they want to try out for America's got Talent? What if they want to start their presidential campaign early and create a baby United Nations in the neighborhood? Well, while that last one does sound incredibly cute, I would have to say no. Is that selfish of me? Am I denying the world the joy of seeing their potential talent? Am I protecting them needlessly from fame, fortune, and flight? Let me shock you even more, my lovely Readers. The answer is: Maybe, but I don't care.

When did fame and fortune become something that babies had to think about? When did fame and fortune become something better than living a good, happy life full of private experiences? And when has fame and fortune ever really worked out for anyone anyway? I read the magazines while waiting in line at the store (Oh stop it, you know that you do it too.), and I don't think this fame thing is a really good idea. Oh sure, the money is nice, but do you really want people going through your garbage or filming you on your way to yoga or having a field day when you gain 2 pounds? I don't and I really don't want anyone doing that to my children.

Here is my message to my children: I don't care if you get a tattoo when you are old enough to legally get one. I really hope you spell it correctly, but it is no longer my business. I have done my job of guiding you for 18 years and I really hope that you know the difference between right and getting a Tasmanian devil permanently etched into the small of your back. Fly free, little Awkward child, and please be careful with placement and tribal art.

What? It totally applies! If they want to push themselves beyond the limits of human ability (I told you I have been watching the promos) and attempt to put themselves in the national spotlight when they are old enough to do so, so be it. I will dutifully sit in the stands and hold my breath. I will even make pictures of my angels available to the promo-making people, even if I am wearing the 2026 equivalent of acid-wash. I will support and honor their dreams, but I will not create dreams for them. I am not trying to pick on the Olympic parents; I don't have a child that is hanging from the ceiling fan and desperately needs to get into gymnastics. Mine are 4, 2, and 8 months. Their dreams are, in order of age, to live in a castle with some princesses, to ride in a Monster Truck or maybe be a Monster Truck (not sure he understands the difference), and to chew on this wire in peace. Anything else would just be me forcing stuff on them.

Don't get me wrong; I want them to try things. I want them to achieve things. I want them to make something of their lives. I also want them to fail, fall down, and make mistakes. I want them to realize that life is long and complicated, and if you aren't peaking at 16, that is glorious. Because 16 sucks and 36 is amazing. Pressure may make diamonds, but it also crushes most everything else. I am not for coddling them and doing everything for them; I understand that getting hurt is part of life and that not everyone is going to like my children. Can't fathom why they wouldn't but some people are crazy. I think going down the really big slide by yourself sounds like a great idea, but I am not gonna push you down it. I don't know how many other platitudes I can jam into this paragraph, Readers. I am just an average mom; they don't make fancy promos telling me how to raise well-adjusted, well-balanced children, who are pretty satisfied with their level of human ability.

Bottom line: If my children grow up to be kind, thoughtful people, who love themselves and other people, who contribute to society in any positive way, and who never have a reality show, then I will be thrilled. Mostly because I won't have to appear on said reality show in all my awkward glory, but also because, even though the whole world won't know it, my great children will have become great adults. Sounds pretty great to me.

I keep telling her that the run-on sentence, adjective overuse, and general rambling are not Olympic events, even awkward ones, but she never learns. Still, she deserves at least a bronze medal for effort. Well, maybe fourth place then. Catch ya later, Readers! We have an Ikea tale that will curl your hair; stay tuned!

The moment that synchronized napping becomes an Olympic event, I take it all back, we are training right away!


  1. Amen! I love this post and agree with absolutely everything you said! It seems like Olympic athletes start training practically before they can walk, and it becomes their entire childhood. Not for Katie. If she miraculously gets good at a sport when she is mature enough to decide she wants to devote that kind of time and effort to training, then I won't stand in her way. But no baby gymnastics for us. No way.
    p.s. YES to rainbow Elmo socks! Katie is gonna want those!
    p.p.s. omg, I did the same thing to Anthony with men's beach volleyball!! ROTFL!

    1. I got them at Target; the Elmo rainbow socks, not baby olympians. But given that Target has everything else, I think they probably are stocking Olympians somewhere in there...

      Way to mess with your hubby; keep it up! :)