T-Ball Practice Is Cancelled, and Other Ballpark Drama

Every time a t-ball practice is cancelled, the coach gets his wings. Yesterday afternoon, I received the BEST group text ever. IMG_3626 No practice tonight and NO GAME on Saturday morning? This is my kinda team! Can I tell you how happy things like this make me? Just…giddy, if we’re being completely honest about it. I will not pause to evaluate why we sign up for all this crap these extracurricular activities when my 4yo Tate spends most of his time on the t-ball field with his hand down his pants rather than in his glove, but…what-ev.

We’ve all heard stories about horrible parents at the ball field, and by comparison this incident is quite mild…but still… I was literally the only person who heard it, but it has bothered me ever since.

I was sheep-dog-herding my two boys at my 7yo daughter Sarah’s softball game. I can’t sit in the stands with the boys…they’re too annoying to people around them, and they’re easier if they have some room to play.

A few weeks ago, I sat on a low brick wall behind the plate next to a mother whom I didn’t know, and we had a nice but brief chat about how hard it is to take little kids to the ball field, watch out for them, and still manage to watch your kid on the field. After our exchange, we sat in amiable silence, watching the game, my head turning like a submarine periscope to make sure the boys weren’t being too rowdy or trying to go home with strangers.

And then I heard it. The mom sitting next to me said, Drop it.

Drop it, drop it, DROP IT! She said it urgently, gaining momentum as she repeated, but certainly not very loud. I’m sure I was the only person who heard her. A kid on her daughter’s team had hit a grounder and was running to first base. A kid on Sarah’s team fielded the ball and threw the runner out at first base. To the chorus of this mother hoping an 8yo little first baseman would drop the ball so the runner on her daughter’s team would be safe.

Really?!? the word came out so quickly that I had no idea I’d even spoken it out loud. My “really” was no louder than her tacky comment, but I’m sure there was no doubt it was aimed at her. She stood up, huffed away, and proceeded to middle-school-whisper to another mom behind her hand while giving me dirty looks. Maturity levels were skyrocketing at that point.

But really…can we please not cheer for 7 and 8yo little girls to fail? Doesn’t that seem way harsh for girls who were probably picking daisies on the t-ball field only two or three years ago?

Since then, I have had time to gather my thoughts on this subject, and I have laid them out here, advice for both myself and Drop-It-Mom (DIM).

  1. DIM, our daughters are 7 and 8 years old, and this is a game. It’s supposed to be fun. Our priorities should be encouraging them, helping them learn the game, and teaching them good sportsmanship. Not in any league is it appropriate for parents to encourage children to fail.
  2. DIM, in ten years…hell, in ten minutes, our daughters will not remember or care who won this game. They are thinking about the popcorn at the end.
  3. DIM, where did you learn sportsmanship? From the Texas Cheerleader Massacre mom?
  4. DIM, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and hope that I caught you at a bad moment. Surely you don’t normally go around hoping that other little girls mess up for the betterment of your daughter, right? I purposefully waited to write this post because I didn’t want to remember anything about you. I don’t remember what you look like, what you were wearing, or even which team your little girl plays for. I haven’t felt death stares at the ballpark, so you probably don’t remember me either.
  5. Carrie, maybe this is a bit neurotic to worry weeks later about an incident that only took about 4 seconds? Let’s take ‘er down a notch.
  6. Carrie, stop judging. Not your monkeys, not your circus.
  7. Carrie, how would you feel if Sarah heard you being the morality-sportsmanship police? Thanks goodness that DIM didn’t start some crazy altercation. Behind your sass mouth lies someone who doesn’t want to be “that mom” at the fields.
  8. DIM, how would you feel if your daughter heard you cheering for another child to fail? Is that a lesson you’d be willing to teach her, or one that you want her to learn??

Sarah had another game tonight, and her team didn’t win. I don’t know if this was the team DIM’s daughter is on or not, and I really didn’t care. I watched Sarah run to the concession stand for her popcorn, a beautiful smile on her face just to have played this evening. I asked her if she had fun, and she said it was one of the most awesome plays of her life when she dove for (and missed) a ground ball late in the game. If DIM was in the other stands, I hope she was happy that my precious daughter missed that ball. I didn’t care either way.

Growing Up Online: Mistakes on Social Media

Facebook.Twitter.Instagram.Pinterest.Flickr.Google+. The other day, my 8 millionth TimeHop update popped into my phone, and I realized that my kids are growing up online. Not because they want to, but because I am posting their pictures (both adorable and unruly), their cute sayings, the messes they make, my good-bad-ugly parenting moments, their good-bad-ugly kid moments, and our lives in general.

And I realized something: Our children will be the first generation in history to have their whole lives chronicled online in one social media form or another. This is uncharted territory, and our actions as parents could, unbeknownst to us, have far-reaching effects, positive or negative, for our children. But this is just the beginning for our kids.

At age 13, our kids will legally be able to sign up for social media accounts, according to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

Sadly, however, this new generation of tech-savvy teenagers and twenty-somethings (not to mention the upcoming tweens and even elementary school kids who are now sporting their own smart phones) do not have the luxury of going out and making typical teenager mistakes without the world possibly knowing within seconds. Seconds. Why? Because mere seconds are all it takes to photograph or take a video of something stupid, upload it to social media, and tag everyone the offender ever knew…from a smart phone.

We all make mistakes. Nowhere are mistakes in judgment more prevalent than in the formative teenage years and yet now, mistakes made by those teenagers, the most tech-savvy generation in history, can and will follow them online, and once they’re out there, it’s hard to make them go away.

But my main concern here is the inflexibility of being able to make mistakes in the first place. In my day, I made a million mistakes…we all have. Imagine the parties in high school and college, when you dated people who didn’t quite work out, when you wore something unflattering or said something stupid… Mistakes are the best. Not because they are the moments of which we are proudest…it’s more because our mistakes give us battle scars, build character, help us forge our way when we’re young in a way that hollow victories never can.

The singular, scary difference is that in today’s world, those mistakes and battle scars don’t remain ancient history; they get their own hashtag. Frighteningly, they don’t even have to be coming from people who know the offender or care what happens in the aftermath.

Most battle scars are of the internal variety (i.e., I will never again drink Jagermeister as long as I live), and some stay with us on the outside, too, but I can honestly say that none of my battle scars from mistakes past would cost me a job. But for my kids? It could.

Colleges, graduate schools, and companies looking-to-hire as a rule go straight to social media to find out the real story on their potential candidates, and “friend” or not, what we choose to post on social media is a matter of public record. Similarly, online dating sites, which have gained popularity over the past several years, are inherently linked to social media as well. Of course, you would search for everything you could find online about someone before you met him/her for a cup of coffee. That’s just what people do these days.

So what do we tell our kids?

We tell them that the world is different from the way it was when we grew up, a time-honored mantra adopted by parents from all time periods. We tell them they have to be careful. We tell them not to give personal information or passwords out online, or to allow strangers to “friend” them.  We tell them that, even though it’s a hard new world to navigate, social media is an inescapable reality in the 21st century. We tell them that we’ll be watching like hound dogs, and that we know all the tricks (alternate accounts where “mom” isn’t a friend, or blocking mom from seeing posts, for example).

And we tell them it’s okay to make mistakes. We all do. And if they make a mistake in front of a camera and it goes viral (or your small town’s version of viral), then we will cross that bridge when we come to it. And we will still love them. After all, that TimeHop update from 10 years ago just popped up on your phone, and it was the sweetest picture ever.

The Bro-Mantic Mom-edy: An Analysis of the Two-Couple Friendship Dichotomy (and yes, I’m a weirdo)

The Bro-Mantic Mom-Edy: (n) Two couples hanging out together, trying to decide if this four-person-friendship thing is gonna work.

Please forgive the combining of words, but this is a thing that needed a name. It’s like dating, only harder in some ways, as there are now two couples and four personalities making sure they can co-exist in a fun, social environment…not just two people awkwardly getting to know one another. I give you…the BRO-MANTIC MOM-EDY. (Here’s a tissue if you just threw up in your mouth a bit.)

One of the things the Hubs and I worried about when we moved to Arkansas was having to make new couple friends. I talk to walls, but the Hubs is quieter until you get to know him. And then he is a hoot. Anyway, we were leaving a fun crew of people, and we feared never finding the same balance of tolerable husband-wife combos again. (We needn’t have worried…our new town is chock-full of awesome people.)

But you have to know what I’m talking about. Sometimes, the BC can go horribly wrong. For example,

  • The husbands love each other, but their wives have a competitive, love/hate, out-Pinteresting each other “frenemy” thing going? Might work, but probably the boys are better off as drinking buddies.
  • What if the wives are BFF’s, but the boys have nothing to talk about and cheer for completely different sports teams? Might be time for the boys to babysit and a GNO.
  • And then there’s the awkwardness of Husband A/Wife B and Wife A/Husband B…do they like each other (but not too much, obviously, *yeesh*) or can they not stand to be in the same room because she’s a PETA member and he’s a deer hunter or they disagree politically or blah, blah, blah? Can the A/B members of the opposite sex co-exist in a friendly manner before everyone retreats to the kitchen or man cave or wherever?

Other factors, too, contribute to the successful Bro-Mantic Mom-edy. Obviously, successful BC couples most likely have similar value systems and senses of humor. Most of the people we hang out with are in a similar life stage ( 30s/40s parenthood) and can feel (or have felt, or will feel) the parental pain we all go through with our, ahem,…perfect progeny.

And I’m not gonna lie, I tend to get uncomfortable around people who, after a certain time of day (noon)…(okay, 3pm), won’t indulge in a drink or two with me. Is she judging me? Is she a better mom because she isn’t holding a wine glass? Why do they not drink? Am I going to be the object of a vague “pray for my friend, she’s battling some things” Facebook post on their way home? Yes, I worry about this. But not enough not to indulge, ya know?

And let’s talk quickly about BC and kids. I love kids…we have a girl and two boys, ages 7, 4, and almost 2. They are fairly well-behaved. To my knowledge, they haven’t rolled up in someone’s house and put a hole in the wall or anything, so I consider that a win. But, in a BC relationship where kids are also invited and involved, I won’t sign my kids up for being terrorized by other kids, even if their parents are our perfect BC match made in heaven (but they probably wouldn’t be if I freak out about their kids, right?). Similarly, in our house, we don’t negotiate with terrorists. So if a BC-pal wants to correct my kids if they are behaving heinously, I’m okay with that.

Good couple friends are (sometimes) hard to find, so hang onto the good ones. The possibilities are so fun…play dates, double dates, backyard grill-outs with the kiddos, and vacations to the beach. I’m grateful for the people in my BC club, and we are always looking for new members….

 

Car Line Courtesy: Sadly, Not So Common Anymore

As a mom of three children, ages 7, 4, and almost 2, I sit in a lot of car lines waiting for my kids. I wait to drop them off, I wait to pick them up, I wait. And wait. I attempt to appease those unlucky kids who are in the back seat also waiting because they would burn the house down if left alone (and I’m pretty sure that’s illegal). I wait some more.

I have noticed a few things lately, as we end the school year, that still annoy me about my fellow car line waiters. We all fiddle with the radio, check our phones, reassure backseat denizens (every 4 seconds) that it won’t be much longer, remove Cheerios from our hair (oh wait, that’s just me). But waiting in a carpool line is common courtesy, people. Not so difficult. And yet, for some people…it apparently IS difficult.

1. It’s a DROP OFF LINE. This line is intended for people whose children just unbuckle their seat belts, open the door, and walk in to school. If you feel the overwhelming urge to walk your child into school, have a parent-teacher conference at 8:05, hold a tearful goodbye, and chat to everyone on the way in and out of school, please refrain from parking your car at the front of the line for 10 minutes, doing all the things, and holding up the rest of us whose kids jump out of the car, and we’re off to the next thing. That. Is. Rude. There are parking spaces. Use them. Do the things, but just don’t make the rest of us who want to get to Jazzercise wait on you. When my kids get out of the car, it looks like David Spade saying “Buh-bye” to people exiting the SNL Total Bastard Airlines airplane. With kisses, of course. And then it’s “buh-bye.”

2. No, I Don’t Want to Let You in Front of Me. Even if you wave, shrug apologetically, and flip your ponytail, I’m not impressed, and I’m still not letting you in. Try that with the man in his truck six cars back. I have at least two kids grousing in the back seat, and we have been waiting here for 15 minutes. Wait…what’s that you have? A fresh Starbucks? It will cost you that latte and one for each person in line behind me if you feel like passing today. While we’re at it, please remind me why you’re more important than all the rest of us you want to pass…?

3. Put Your Kids on the Side by the School’s Door. This is another one that baffles me. I see (read: wait on) people every day who either have their kids crawling across three other car seats OR walking around the car on the dangerous side while simultaneously flipping up the very slow automatic hatch, inserting backpack, and slowly lowering it again. We do this every.single.day. Put your kid by the door. Aren’t you tired of listening to them gripe at each other/cry/etc. because someone’s foot was stepped on or “He kicked me” blah, blah, blah? It doesn’t have to be this hard.

4. Hey There, Dale, Jr.! This complaint is not usually for those who are sitting in the car line waiting for school to end. This complaint is reserved for those peeps who are just too important to slow down and actually do the speed limit in a school zone. Yes, that was a kindergartener you almost mowed down while doing 40MPH in the school zone and tapping on your cell phone. A middle schooler with headphones just dove between two parked cars to avoid your careening SUV. Vehicular homicide is the new orange. And you get extra points for moms with strollers or dogs on a leash. Geez…

5. Nope, You Still Can’t Pass Me. Sorry.

6. Yep, the Dirty Look Won’t Work Either. Not ashamed.

Are there extenuating circumstances where getting in front of the entire school’s car line is a matter of life and death? Sure. Will I let you in if you screech up beside me, pant that you must absolutely get in front of me or Abe and Ursula will not be able to see their dying cat ever again because Foofy is fading quickly?!?! Um, sure.

But, fellow car liners, we’re all on the same team. Our kids want to arrive on time to school without explaining the minivan hatchback thing to their teachers. Our kids want to get home from school and play outside. We want to cook dinner, hang out with our families, and put these little people to bed. You can only use Foofy on me once. Then, your drama/passing me card is all played out, my friend.

Let’s all use a little common courtesy…’cause, well, you know.

 

 

The Mom-Olympics: Settling Mom-petition Once and for All

Okay, moms, you know it’s out there. Mom-petition. It’s a noun. It’s that guilt, that urge you feel when someone is mothering their little progeny better/craftier/more patiently/cuter/WTH…did they just step out of a magazine…than you are. Mom-pete is a (sort of) verb. It’s the time when you choose to craft/cook/volunteer/say yes…against all better judgment because…you don’t want to look bad…to the other moms.mompetition2I say…screw mom-petition. Let’s settle this once and for all. I’m holding the Mom-Olympics in which qualified mothers will duke it out for the coveted title of “Greatest Mother in the Whole Wide World for All Time There Will Never Be Another Ever Ever EVER and We Will All Think She’s Amazing and Vote Her Kid Class President Not Because He’s Qualified But Because His Mom Is So Amazing.” Will that fit on a trophy?

I’m holding the Mom-Olympics. 10 events. 1 winner. Step up, girls, if you think you can.

organicfood

1. The Organic Food Competition: Any contestant whose baby points at McDonald’s when you drive by or has ordered anything from a speaker and a cashier in a window in the past two weeks is ineligible to compete. Further disqualifications occur when your children identify mac n cheese, chicken nuggets, or hot dogs that weren’t raised in an organic farm.

pinterestbirthday

2. The Straight-from-Pinterest Birthday Party. If you’ve ever spent over $100 on decorations for a birthday party you saw on Pinterest that your child has no snowball’s chance in hell of ever remembering beyond the professional photographer and videographer you hired and the memory chest of birthday cards and presents you lovingly compiled after the fact and plan to give her for her 18th birthday…this event is for you. Pinterest away, girls, but only one mom can reign supreme.

humblebrag

3. The Humble-Brag Mom-Petition. Isn’t it SO ANNOYING when your ballerina/piano prodigy/genius asks you a question about astro physics in French? And I think Gertrude Arabella may have just discovered the cure for burping with a Q-tip and a Barbie car. Isn’t that crazy? Yep, humble braggers…out-do the cure for burping…by a 3yo. BAM.

momfashion

4. The Mom Fashionista. No more “mom jeans,” ladies. Get out your yoga pants, your cute leggings, boots, tunics, and Lululemon workout gear, and strut your stuff on the Mom-Olympics catwalk. You have to look like you have it all together AND you haven’t lost that cute fashionista touch from your 20’s. Good luck, girls.

mompetition uglyswimsuit

5. The Mom-Suit Competition. Ladies, surely you didn’t think you could get away without shaking your moneymakers at the swimsuit competition. It’s like Miss America. You’ll be in  heels, your mom swimsuit, and be serenaded by a middle-aged pop star as you parade across the stage, pose, go up and down stairs, and expertly apply 150 SPF (it’s the best, y’all) sunblock to your children’s entire bodies in under a minute.

chickfila

6. Breastfeeding Mom-petition. Last year’s winner was nursing from one boob, pumping from the other, wiping some kid’s nose, and refereeing the play room antics…at Chick-Fil-A. Top that, girls, and you can take home this trophy.

lunchbox

7. Bento Box Surprises. Let’s be honest, ladies. Cutting the crust off your kids’ sandwiches is SO 1985. Get creative. Does your child have a favorite cartoon character or bedtime story? You should totally make those characters out of food. It won’t traumatize your kid at all to be at daycare and be forced to eat the baby bunny from Goodnight, Moon. Again, bonus points if your kid has no chance of remembering this Herculean effort.

elfontheshelf

8. The Elf-on-the-Shelf Throw Down. It’s on, people. What kind of mischief can YOUR elf create? What? Your elf gave your kids tickets to Disney World on December 6th? Some people may not appreciate your EOTS effort, but if you’re going for the gold in this event, you better bring the A-Game, biatches…from Thanksgiving to Dec. 24. Thirty days of awesome.

glitter

9. Create a Kid Craft with Glitter That Doesn’t End in You Cussing and Drinking Wine. You’re a candidate for GMITWWW, for God’s sake. You can do this. We’ve all heard it said that glitter is the herpes of the crafting world, but you have to be willing to sacrifice your all…your sanity, your carpet, your furniture, your kids’ limited knowledge of “words that only mommy and daddy can say when they’re upset…” May the force be with you. You’ll need it.

snowday

10. The Inclement Weather/Snow Day Competition. In this unique competition, you’ll be locked inside a house all day with your children, a jar of peanut butter, a Checker board, and an iPad. The first mother to resort to screen time…loses. The longest hold out WINS the competition!

If you would like to nominate any friends or family for any or all of the above-mentioned events, I will be taking nominations in the Comments section and will get back to you about dates and times. The Mom-Olympics will most likely air on local television broadcasting in Arkansas at about 2am in the middle of the summer. Let me know if you’re the next “Greatest Mother in the Whole Wide World for All Time There Will Never Be Another Ever Ever EVER and We Will All Think She’s Amazing and Vote Her Kid Class President Not Because He’s Qualified But Because His Mom Is So Amazing.” If you aren’t into Mom-petition, bravo. If you are, sign up, and I’ll find someone who actually wants to compete with you.

Carrie On Parenting: Should You Correct Other People’s Children?

To begin with, let me be the first to call myself out on the irony that I, mother of the gynecologist’s office demon kids, am complaining about this particular subject, especially when just last week I regaled readers with how horribly my own children behaved. But I am.

1111

This past Saturday, I felt the urge to correct someone else’s children in front of her. Interestingly enough, the idea of disciplining other people’s children is the subject of an NBC miniseries, The Slap, whose first episode aired February 12. The Cliff’s Notes version of the plot is that at a birthday party, a man slaps a misbehaving child after the child kicks him in the leg. According to Wikipedia, each of the eight episodes is told from the perspective of a different character who witnessed this incident. The miniseries is based on a 2008 novel by Australian author Christos Tsiolkas, also called The Slap. I haven’t seen it (if you have, let me know how it is!), so I’m not plugging it or saying it’s no good…just interesting that these two things came up simultaneously. Not that I’m into slapping kids, mind you.

Back to me. Here’s the scene. Our Arkansas town has what is arguably the most awesome children’s clothing and gear consignment sale in the history of the world. Seriously…100,000 items poured in, and for this week only, they are going out the door to new families while their previous owners make a little cash and get a return on their investment. Uh-maze-ing. Along with about 250 other people, I stood out in the cold and drizzling rain on Saturday in a line like I was waiting to enter a rock concert just so I could get inside and find my three little darlings good stuff to wear (I have a self-imposed moratorium on bringing anything except clothes into our house…). And boy, did I ever find awesome stuff.

Then, there’s the waiting in line to check out, which is where my story officially begins. Technically, the sale asks people to refrain from bringing kids with them on this particular day because it’s so crazy, but sometimes, as we all understand, this can’t be helped. Personally, I would rather take a turn as a cart-return person at the grocery store than arrive at this sale with my three kids.

Anyway, a mother, a grandmother, and their two girls who were about 5 and 7 were in line behind me. The girls had had enough, as was evidenced by their running around, hitting each other, and general refusal to obey the women. And I totally get it…my kids would’ve been nuts by that point.

But then the girls started playing on baby swings. These were the swings that people pay like $200 for, and families were selling them again for quite a bit of money, and these girls, who probably weighed at least 50 pounds each, were getting into the swings, feet leaving the floor, perfectly suspended in midair held aloft only by the swing that some other new precious babies might not get to swing in and some family might not get to sell…because these kids were totally about to break each and every one of the ten or so swings in our vicinity.

I waited. And waited. And waited. Neither the mom or the grandmother said anything to these little girls. And all I could think about was that if I had submitted a perfectly perfect $200 baby swing to this sale, what would I do if it didn’t sell because some kids broke it…because their parents didn’t feel like correcting them? There was finally a half-hearted “if you break it, we have to buy it” admonishment, but it fell completely on deaf ears, and the girls continued on.

And friends, let me mention that I am a former teacher…I used to correct other people’s children for a living. Furthermore, I come from a long, LONG line of women who know what’s best and want to fix everything…right, Mom? And since I’ve gone over this in my head many times since this incident, I have come up with a fairly benign comment to the little girls that probably would’ve worked…

But I said nothing.

Yes, I sent snarky text messages to my husband and my friend Jamie about them, but I never said anything directly to them. Those little girls weren’t my students, they weren’t my friends’ kids, and they weren’t my own children, who would’ve attempted very-expensive-swing-icide exactly once before I put a stop to it. They were strangers. And so were the owners of the baby swings that I felt so strongly that I needed to defend.

In short, this was none of my business. And that’s where I left it, even though I resisted every gene in my pool to do so. And I didn’t know these people or their circumstances…maybe this was a good day for those kids? Maybe the women were checking on an ailing relative on their cell phones?

How would I feel if a stranger intervened and corrected my kids while I was standing there? I’m not sure.

I grew up in a close-knit community where all moms had jurisdiction over all kids. We were a good group of kids, but I remember being corrected a few times by other moms, and that was okay with me. My kids know that the same rule applies to them: friends and relatives have jurisdiction! Please correct my kids if you can get there first or if I missed something!

I hate it that I’m one of those people who analyzes things (like this incident) in my head long after that ship has sailed. I should’ve said THAT… (insert witty comeback or comment). But I didn’t.

So…what do you think? Should I have intervened or kept my mouth shut?

Carrie On Her Soapbox: “Dear Country Music,”

Dear Country Music,

Hi. My name is Carrie, and I have to begin by telling you that I’m a big fan…have been my whole life. I’ve listened to the old greats like Haggard and Jones, through Garth and the 90’s phase, to country’s newest pop-crossover music, and I’ve rolled with the punches and enjoyed each and every phase. I’m also a Tennessee girl who grew up right down the road from Nashville, and I lived in the Nashville area for 14 years after college. I’ve seen Keith Urban at Starbucks, and Tim, Faith, and their girls at the movies. I’ve even seen one of the brothers from The Band Perry buying a pizza in Mt. Juliet while way over-dressed…I mean, leather pants for carry out, dude?

Anyway, all this is to say I’m a big fan, Country Music, but I also ask that you take a step back. I know that country music has always spoken of sex in veiled terms, but they were much better disguised than some lyrics of today’s music. There are two particular song lyrics on the radio today that I have an issue with, and I want to air those complaints so that you might hear me (and perhaps other people or parents out there), and make adjustments accordingly.

So…a few months ago, my children and I were listening to Bobby Bones’ morning show, and he played a then-recent Blake Shelton song called “Mine Would Be You.” Great artist. Love him. Great song. However, as I was blaring the song, I realized that the opening lines are this:

“What’s your all-time high, your good as it gets, your hands-down best ever make-up sex?”

Well geez, about that time my 7-year-old asked what Mr. Shelton had just said. I was scrambling to get her inside school where I would not have to have this conversation. I know there are some parents out there who are more forthright with your kids than I am about discussing sex, drugs, rock and roll, and whatever else. I…am not. Yet. She’s 7. So, I froze. “He said ‘kiss,’ honey. When people who love each other fight and make up, they kiss to say that they’re sorry.” Crisis-semi-avoided. We turn down the volume at the beginning when this one comes on.

So, Country Music, my questions are these: How did you get here? Who is your target audience? Would it bother you to hear your own elementary-school-age children hear or sing these lyrics? Would you then sit them down and have a very frank “birds and bees” discussion because of something you heard in a country song at 8am on a Tuesday?

I was willing to let this go until a more recent Jason Aldean song “Burnin’ It Down” discussed “getting tangled up” and “lyin’ naked in my bed.” Again, this song played in my car on the way to elementary school. I’m fairly certain Aldean gave an interview (which I can’t find online) in which he defended the lyrics (written by the boys of Florida-Georgia Line…hmmm…wonder why they didn’t record that one?), and gave a fairly flippant answer about how he would react about his own children hearing some of this.

So, Country Music, my questions are these: How did you get here? Who is your target audience? Would it bother you to hear your own elementary-school-age children hear or sing these lyrics? Would you then sit them down and have a very frank “birds and bees” discussion because of something you heard in a country song at 8am on a Tuesday?

I don’t mean to call out only Shelton and Aldean; this is an issue that extends to the songwriting community, publishers and producers who are willing to go forth with controversial lyrics of songs just to make money, and the radio stations who are willing to play these lyrics. What is the line? When is enough actually going to be enough? Will the next big country hit use the “f-bomb,” or call the daisy-dukes-wearing country girls “bitches and ho’s”?

Country music has changed in major ways, even in my 36 years, and I applaud most of these changes. Perhaps I am no longer the target audience for country music, but I hope not. I firmly believe that the country music genre, in all its many iterations, unites people… I am proud of all the good things going on in Nashville right now, and I love that my three kids are growing up and listening to some of the same music their grandparents loved. However, I also ask that, in all this hype, that you, Country Music, please take the high road. You used to be a genre that was safe, where I could turn on any song and not worry about the lyrics or what my kids might hear. This is why I keep my gangsta rap for after I’ve dropped them off at school or after they go to bed.

This may sound overprotective to you, and it may, in fact, just be plain overprotective. But I don’t think so. Please don’t cross that line that makes me explain sexual topics to my children in the elementary school drop off line.  Let’s keep those euphemisms for sex vague and veiled, and everybody can just be happy and sing along.

 

The below Washington Post article discusses sex in country music lyrics more in depth.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2014/10/06/jason-aldean-florida-georgia-line-and-the-evolution-of-sex-songs-in-country-music/