More CowBell –

I find my parent cohort is typically straight, liberal, in their 30’s – and have a lot of rules. I agree with many of the concerns expressed by these earnest parents. It’s in the way some parents express their heartfelt beliefs that rankle me. Some of them are preachy. I expect ‘preachy’ from creepy  fundamentalist ministers who have sex with men at truck stops not from hipster parents.

Thorin took an art class awhile back. I sat with a group of younger mothers while our children all made identical “art” projects. (I have a post coming about that.) The other mothers rolled their eyes when talking about the dum-dum parents who buy plastic. Thorin’s room isn’t a tribute to plastic but it is plastic-friendly. Have you ever tried to clean those unpainted wood toys?

More than one parent shared they had printed explicitly on their birthday party invites “No plastic toys please.” How about “Wooden toys only.” or “Please bring books as gifts.”? There is a subtle difference that might make a difference – in me making fun of you behind your back.

I get the plastic-thing, OK? When I think of that Texas-size piece of  plastic floating in the Pacific it makes me sick. Jennifer Aniston, you should be ashamed of yourself shilling for Smart Water and while I’m at it for dating Adam Duritz in the 90’s.

Nobody owned a TV in this group. I don’t get why people think that is a source of pride to be shared with others. (The fact that someone doesn’t own a TV is  as meaningless to me as knowing which celebrities don’t wear underpants in public.) Of course, TV can be bad. I don’t disagree. But, I was a kid who skipped school to watch the Rona Barrett special that Cher was on. That said, I do know when to set limits. I stopped watching “Law and Order” with Thorin when I noticed he choreographed an interpretive dance to the strains of the opening credits.

Their kids went to the Waldorf School which in listening to them describe it sounded like Scientology-lite. (Lots of secrets.) Maybe if we had the money Thorin would be there, too.  (OK, that’s a lie. No way would he be there.) I got the feeling they didn’t just believe their children were getting a better education they thought their children were going to be better people.

In the juice aisle at the grocery store this week. This kid pointed to the juice I was buying for Thorin, who was standing next to me, and said to his mom, “Can we get that one?”

His 30ish mother said, “No!”


“Because it’s crap.” (scowl included)

Hey, lady, I’m standing right here next to the pink sponge cake in our cart and the can of whip cream. It’s not like I can’t hear you. Some of what I feed my kid is crap but I would rather not be an object lesson for your kid in the juice aisle at the supermarket thank-you-very-much.

A couple weeks ago a guy in his 30’s stopped at our front steps as we were all leaving for the day. He had a cute kid about Thorin’s age with him. He commented on the garden Ward and Thorin had been working on most of the weekend. In fact he said he had noticed them working on it. He pointed up the block to a house with a huge garden Ward and I had talked about more than once – it was that impressive.

The guy was doing his best to engage us in a longer exchange. He was being neighborly. And, on the surface there were  apparent similarities between our families – boys about 5 years of age and gardening.

It’s too bad his t-shirt had the words EAT MORE KALE printed on it.

This entry was posted in By Notatypicalmom, Parenting, Random life by Kari Wagner-Peck. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kari Wagner-Peck

Kari Wagner-Peck lives with her husband and son in Maine. She is a writer & storyteller who home schools with her son. She is the author of the memoir Not Always Happy: An Unusual Parenting Journey, May, 2017, Central Recovery Press. She has been published at CNN, Psychology Today online, The New York Times Well Family blog, The Huffington Post, The The Good Men Project, The Sydney Morning Herald Daily Life blog, BLOOM and Love That Max among others. Author page: Twitter @KariWagnerPeck and Facebook: Email:

5 thoughts on “More CowBell –

  1. The moral is don’t trust anyone IN their 30s?

    There does seem to be what I see as an unhealthy fixation on children’s health. It is definitely rooted in a type of materialism that cloaks itself as anti-materialism. My Example: The dogs’ food comes from ultra-locavorist Rosemont Market (the dogs’ food is a different subject for a different blog) . I am often amused and sometimes awed by the sheer snobbery of some customers whose appearance can only be described as “earthy.” Its as if the mere act of shopping there confers a certain status – and it does, an economic status – mistaken for morality .

    A friend of mine recently had this observation about this very topic:

    “I’m fascinated by this phenomenon of “neoconservative marriages,” the term some sociologists are using for progressive yuppy marriages in which the man works and the woman is essentially an idle housewife, free to pursue creativity, shopping, obsessive parenting, and other ways of keeping up with the neighbors. These social scientists contrast this type of marriage with “modern marriages” in which both the man and the woman work for a living, which is to say, the world where most of us live in this day and age….More power to those who can afford to have only one partner working. Wish I could provide that kind of life for my wife… What I find endlessly interesting, and often pathetic, is the forms that idleness takes for these newly (un)liberated women.”

    What I’m trying to say is, most people try to do the best for our kids, and we all are convinced we’re doing a terrible job. Accept it and buy some Fruity Pebbles once in a while.

    (Written fully aware this may offend and rightly out me as a hypocrite)

    • None of the women at the art class worked outside the home either and for the most part they owned homes. So, I sort of felt like a loser and sort of felt like I was hanging out with hippy-hipster Stepford wives.

      I hope you keep reading.

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