Every time I go in that store, I get sicker.
Today, I was with Thing #2 looking for birthday cards for his dad. Of course, he found something right away. Some musical card with a “you’re great” kind of theme. But greeting cards for my husband? Echhh. Between the cute lil’ puppies and inspirational sayings, I nearly threw up. Those of you who’ve read me before know exactly how I feel.
I thought it couldn’t sink any lower. Until I saw these cards by the door. Evidently our children suffer from a crisis of low self-esteem, and the commercially savvy folks at Hallmark have created the perfect line for us neurotic parents.
Forget “get well.”
What’s that? You can’t read the print in the photo? Here, let me help you on those card titles:
“We’ll Get Through This School Year Together.” (Sorry, Jimmy. You didn’t get the teacher all the parents were raving about in line at the grocery store, but maybe you won’t be too damaged. I’ll make an appointment with the superintendent.)
“Kids Can Be Mean Sometimes.” (Yeah, they can. Get a grown-up if it’s dangerous or disturbing to you, or if it seems like bullying behavior. Otherwise, dust yourself off.)
“I Love Everything About You.” (Except for the way you keep making fart noises with your armpits and knees.)
“Let’s Try to Understand Each Other.” (So I’ll buy a card instead of talking to you.)
“I’d Fall Apart if Anything Happened to You.” (OK. First of all, what parent wouldn’t be devastated if something horrible happened? And when are you supposed to send a card like this? After a close call? Do we need to tell our children this in a card, or once again, can conversation suffice?)
“You Deserve a Prize for Being Kind.” (Where do I even begin? NO. You DON’T deserve a prize for being kind, and YES I’m shouting. What DO you deserve for being kind? Self worth. Period.)
How on earth can we possibly combat the message that buying these cards makes us better parents? What can we do to counteract this insane attempt to help us “communicate?” I have a few ideas.
1. Communicate. In words. In your words. In person.
2. Visit (and subscribe to) one of my favorite blogs. It’s written by Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids. Read it. Give yourself permission to trust your kids with a safe amount of freedom and responsibility.
3. Let Hallmark know how you feel. Go ahead. Care enough to send the very best. I know I will.