On parenting—in terms of raising a Teenager that is–what I’ve discovered is this: I can’t parent based on how I was raised. And the way I was raised? My parents did what they could with what was available to them. Me, right now, I have to adapt to what is available to me. At 53, at a career crossroads, no partner, impending college tuition. My parents, while trapped in a fractured marriage, operated as a parental unit. My parents owned their one-level three bedroom ranch with a sun room, a basement, a front and backyard; I rent my compact apartment, mismatched furniture, much of it embedded with burnt candle stains. I had chores: I mowed the lawn once it turned lush and green, I raked the leaves in the fall, I helped my mother with the occasional yard sale. Chores in my home is less regulated, more based on consideration of the other. My Teenager has agency over her bedroom, she clears the table on the rare occasion I cook dinner, and when FreshDirect drops off groceries, if I’m not home, she’ll put things away. We don’t own a laundry machine and I don’t like roaming into the building laundromat, so I drop our laundry off; in retrospect, my mother did not learn me the laundry. I got those skills from the first man I lived with, in my twenties. When I left my home, I had to have cash in hand as ATM’s were not invented yet; when my Teenager leaves, I ask her if she has money and if she doesn’t, I advise her to take money out of my wallet. I always have cash in the wallet, like my Dad did, although the circumstances are ever so different. My Dad was a New York City Taxi Driver and he always had a wad of cash in his front pocket and asking for money was not an option, we were so poor. I’m not well-off but for a very long time, I was comfortable. In my parents’ home, I did the dishes, so that I could talk on the phone, which cost money per minute; we have a dishwasher now, there are never dirty dishes in the sink, and phone plans are as much of a succubus today as they were in the 70s. In my parents home, my father fixed things and my mother tended to things and public transportation was a ten block walk in any direction. As an adult, I live in a building where there is a super that can change the lightbulbs and when I want to see life, I walk the streets of New York. I don’t drive, I Lyft. I don’t mind if The Teenager is laying in her bed, watching Netflix and/or reviewing her social media feed. I did a version of that as a teen, locked in my room, radio blasting, hiding from my parents. I didn’t want to be around them, in the living room, watching TV. I remember, very clearly, how much I questioned everything. I loved my parents but they were not my anchors. And when I became a parent, I found my way as one, separate from theirs, in the way that was familiar to me. I didn’t settle into life in the burbs (nothing wrong with that!), I chose to be in the concrete jungle. I am not wistful about my life as a teen, or how I used to run with scissors or how I used to spend my time. My parents built their lives in Queens. They threw raucous New Years Eve parties and they fought a fuckton and they found comfort in being loud. It’s not how I live now and those practices don’t apply to the way life is for my daughter. There is no “in my day” in my home; “my day” is happening right now. I don’t see why I would impose what I knew then upon her now. Values, well that’s another matter, for another post, on another day. (This is a revised repost from April, 2017).
I love Hils. And I love when she teams up with the talented people of Late Night.
And hello, Samantha Bee.
Kathryn O’Kane’s riveting MeToo tally. Not even half of it by the way.
It’s so frustrating watching reporters trying to get movie stars to talk MeToo.
Gloria Feldt: “Well, it turned out to be the best thing ever to take a new job at 54, because nothing clears your brain more than having a whole set of different issues to deal with, a whole new learning curve. And at that point in your life, you actually know what you’re doing.”
A BeeGees musical? Yes, please.
For the love of dogs!
Your first time!
And now have a laugh with Eliza Skinner.