I’ve been partnering with Responsibility.org for over a year now to encourage parents to #TalkEarly about alcohol consumption and encourage open communication with our children. At the last October Summit in we found ourselves on the topic of parenting clichés…
You know, things like “Boys will be Boys”, or “Mommy Juice”. There are so many alcohol related ones. Way too many!! With April being Alcohol Responsibility Month, maybe it’s time we say goodbye to them once and for all. Maybe we say them and don’t think about what message we’re sending our children (or what message we’re reinforcing in ourselves), maybe we don’t say them but laugh when others do. I’ve definitely been guilty of both. Most of the other Responsibility.org #TalkEarly Ambassadors run more parenting focused sites and talked about how for a long time these clichés (many becoming viral memes) were a source of connection for their audience, but have run their course. None of us want to encourage gender stereotypes, or reliance on alcohol, so let’s just agree to get ride of all these phrases, okay? Here are a few I’m voting to retire:
“Mommy Needs Wine”. It feels so good to connect with women over the challenges of being a mother, but do we want our kids to think we need alcohol to cope with our day? Obviously no. We might need lots of things like a few minutes alone, a nap, more help from our partner, more moments to feel like we’re still the same person we were before kids, but I think we can all agree this phrase is harmful. Both to our children and to ourselves. Sadly, there are so many others out there like “Mommy Juice”, or even the pretty common phrase of “I need a drink”. You might like a drink, you might like a piece of chocolate cake, but you don’t need one. Very important difference, right?
“Dad’s Babysitting”. Remember that movie Mr. Mom? There were so many movies like that back in the 80s and 90s that highlighted the ridiculousness of men raising children. We all laughed and thought it was sooo funny- but really, looking back, I can’t believe how damaging these gender stereotypes are. Do I really want Henry to think he can only grow up to be one kind of person, and that staying home with his future children is a ridiculous option? Yikes. Dads don’t babysit, they parent!
“It Gets Easier”. I think I was guilty of saying this a couple times before I realized how it felt when someone said it to me with a new baby and running on no sleep. Let’s agree to not tell each other that what we’re feeling isn’t that bad. Let’s agree to just empathize with each other and offer support. Way more effective, right?
“Boys Will Be Boys”. I’ve found myself guilty of saying similar phrases like ‘Henry’s so boy‘ without thinking much of it. Again, there’s not one way to be a boy, and I don’t want Henry to think there is. Also, the phrase is also usually used in a negative way, talking about and excusing overly aggressive or defiant behavior. Yikes. I definitely wouldn’t want Henry to excuse his or any other boy’s behavior with the thought that they’re ‘just being a boy’. So let’s just agree to get rid of this one, right??
Here’s a video the #TalkEarly Ambassador team made about these clichés: