Your latest post for POPSUGAR caught my eye. Not because it hit on some hot button parenting issue that's close to my heart, but because the topic just seemed so absurd. Surely, I thought, there must be more to this than meets the eye. So, I clicked. I read. And I marveled that A. someone published this and B. you really do seem this bent out of shape over the fact that moms are referring to their kids as… kids.
Yep. Apparently this quick informal noun isolates my child, positions him as nuisance or a brat (um, have you met my kids?), and detracts from the hundreds of hours I invested in selecting just the right name (which, incidentally, I never expected to be compensated for by a set number of times the chosen name was spoken).
My kid is a special flower, damn it, and his intricately researched name shall be used!
OK, OK, let’s just take a giant step back and reenter the MOTY world for a hot second. We use “kid” a lot in our space (e.g. “My kid is being an asshole today” or “My kid peed on his sister’s face this morning.”) And it’s not just, as you flippantly suggest, because those three li’l letters are easy to type. “Kid” is actually a nuanced usage common to the discourse community of relaxed, non-helicopter, free-range-leaning parents. It’s part of our lexicon, and it bears a certain welcome edginess that, when tossed around by a leggings-wearing, disposable-coffee-toting mama, cues me into the fact that, hey, this lady is perhaps just a little bit brash and whole lot awesome.
“Kid” says, sure, maybe this mama tries her darnedest to feed her kids organic kale smoothies peed out by Gaia herself every day while they all craft alliterative haikus around the breakfast table… but she’s not above Dunkin' Donuts and cartoons.
"Kid” says you’re OK with me saying “shit” in front of your kid from time to time.
"Kid" says we have the space and trust to let our children develop their own tools for conflict resolution if they get in a scrap, that we don’t need to set the timer to force them to share, and that if your special flower scratches mine in the face, I’ll understand that today yours was the aggressor. It doesn’t make my child any less in need of learning the same lessons about respecting people’s bodies.
"Kid" says I accept that not everyone I ever meet cares about my kid as much as I do. If I need to quickly communicate a scheduling conflict (e.g. “I have to pick my kid up at 4”), I don’t need to honor my child’s spirit animal or whatever by speaking her name.
“Kid” says, we’re gonna get along just fine. It isn’t laziness or lack of respect. It’s an invitation, a community. "Kid" is an acknowledgment that this whole parenting gig? It actually isn't about our kids every second of every day. Sometimes parenting is about retaining important elements of who we are amidst the all-consuming love that we have and the weird ways it manifests everywhere. “Kid” is an intentional ownership of the raw, messy way we love our broods and the lifelines we tether ourselves to while we're in the trenches.
But you know what? In your defense, Suzanne (can I call you Suzanne?), I got curious about you, and I clicked on your byline. You write about all sorts of rich topics! Like parenting paycheck to paycheck and being a sober mom in a wine o-clock culture. Really challenging and valuable stuff. I think if I had entered your head space on any other day, I’d have really liked it there. Maybe you were up against a deadline and had nothing to write about? That kind of shit happens a lot when we try to balance work and kids, doesn’t it, mama? That’s why community and non-judgment are so important.
Tell you what, you and your kid are welcome here anytime.