disapproving kitty

Sunday, December 18, 2011

We Have to do Whatnow With an Elf?

Thanks to a FB friend of mine, I happened upon a new mommy blog, but it's not one of those mommy blogs about 900 detail-intensive ways to make sure your offspring have perfect childhoods.  It's called People I Want to Punch in the Throat and she's suddenly (like a couple days ago) exploded in popularity.
She wrote a bit about her "Elf on the Shelf."  For those of you without children or who, like me, have deliberately tried to remain oblivious to obnoxious trends in parenting like baby knee pads and The Perfect Child's Birthday Party, the "Elf" is a little toy Elf that comes out a Christmastime, like the Advent Calendar from Hell.  There are women who dedicate hours to making messes the "Elf" made and then cleaning them up, all for seeing the resultant joy and wonder on their children's faces.  ("Oh, that's funny, mommy!  Look what the Elf did!  Hee hee!  Can I watch Dora now?")  They do all this after the kids are in bed for the night.  These women apparently never sleep.
This new blogger's elf pretty much moves from one shelf to another, unless she forgets to move it.  She is my kinda mom.  Not to outdo her on the bad-mommy front, but my Elf does even less.  I know this because I do not even have an Elf on the Shelf.  My children have not read this book.  I didn't even know it was a book until she mentioned it on her blog.  I thought it was some bizarre Christmas tradition started by local women with way too much damn time on their hands.  Apparently not.  It is the invention of some author who must have felt that buying your children a truckload of gifts, wrapping and storing them, decorating a tree, and the house, baking 12-gazillion cookies, throwing a holiday party and making gifts for all 23 daycare teachers was not enough for Mommy to do in December in order to be a Good Mommy.   You think I'm kidding?  Jen (the blogger) got comments from women (you know it was women, right?) who said they felt sorry for her children because they did not get the full Elf experience.  I have seen a picture of this woman's house.  It is huge and gorgeous, with a nice lawn.  These are not deprived children.  One woman went so far as to claim that Jen must not have wanted her children in the first place.  Because she doesn't want to spend hours each night making phenomenal messes the "Elf" did and then spend hours the next day cleaning it up.  This makes her a BAD MOMMY.
If this is BAD MOMMY behavior, then Child Services is going to be banging on my door any second now.
Like I said, we do not have an Elf.  I was tremendously glad when our school principal outlawed Elves at school because it was too much of a distraction from the school day.  (Now I'm not just a Bad Mommy, I'm a Bad Teacher, too.)  I also let my kids watch television, eat Kraft Mac and Cheese (sometimes at the same time) and buy them clothes from the Thrift Store.  There are days they don't eat from all the food groups, they have been known to play in the back yard by themselves and I fail to get them into bed by 8:30 on a regular basis.
Right now, instead of taking my children to COSI, I'm letting the 3 year old have a long nap and the 4 year old is watching and episode of Pocoyo.  For the second time.
All I can say is that I know that I do lots of wonderful mommy things, as does the blogger and all of my mommy friends.  I even have mommy friends who have Elves that do goofy things, and more power to 'em.  You do your thing.  I'll do mine.  And, as they say, the kids will be all right.

PS -- I finally figured out how to make words into links.  Not that this is hard at all, but I'm a reluctant technology adopter, so I'm really proud of myself here.  Just sayin'.


  1. I thought the Elf thing would be useful for us, given Zeb's growing skepticism about a man who makes and delivers all those toys (there have been increasingly probing questions about logistics). That being said, I don't think you're a Bad Mommy for not having one. Can I not be a Bad Daddy for wanting one?

  2. Bryan -- I have no problem at all with people doing the Elf thing, or any number of parenting things I don't do. What I have a problem with is the people who do them trying to tell the people who don't do them that they are bad parents. Also, I reserve the right to make fun of over-the-top parenting things that I just find insanely indulgent, time-consuming and conspicuously for the purpose of making the parent look good rather than the child happy. (The Elf doesn't fall into this category. 100-person catered cocktail parties for a child's 2nd birthday does.)