I am Rocker Mom.

I googled “Rocker Mom” recently and found out that Urban Dictionary defines “Rocker Mom” as the musician version of Soccer Mom. Which according to them is a mother who lives vicariously through her children, pushing them to succeed in a field in which they failed when they were younger.

So, by this definition I would be a failed musician who sees my child has a modicum of interest and/or talent in music and I push them to become a musician from childhood.

I just thought that was interesting. It’s funny the pressure people put on their kids. I currently live in a very affluent area of the US and the #1 problem in local high schools is stress.

To put that in perspective, the National Center for Educational Statistics says the most serious problems facing public schools are lack of parent involvement, poverty, parental alcoholism, absenteeism and student apathy. I grew up in this kind of environment. It sounds like the normal problems facing high schoolers.

Not here. Socioeconomic problems are not what’s troubling teens in my area. They all come from upper-middle-class households where there parents are still together and often a little too involved in their activities.

I see a lot of “Rocker Mom” types around here. Usually not for rock music but ivy league college applications, classical string instruments and being the star of whatever sport they have been training for since the age of 3. Kids feel the need to always be the best at everything.

I know of one specific high school senior who wouldn’t take a class unless it was an AP class; Taking anything less would have brought his weighted GPA down. He wants to go to the best school possible.

I knew a woman who was pregnant with her 2nd child. Her 2nd boy. She was bummed that it was a boy. She wanted a girl. She told me she wanted a girl because she had 2 brothers and was always envious of sisters.

Let me reiterate: She wanted a daughter so that she could raise that daughter to act as her sister.

Um, what? What if your daughter has completely different interests? What if your daughter rebels against you trying to mold her into what you want her to be and hates you?  What if your daughter acts more like a daughter than a sister? Who’s gonna be more disappointed, daughter or mother, when this plan of gaining a sister through parenting ultimately fails? And how much pressure will that little girl feel in trying to act the way you want her to?

I don’t understand people like this.

People who want their children to be perfect. People who want to raise the next Michael-Phelps-level athlete. People who create a child and turn that child into something they’re not.

If your kid wants to become a soccer star, awesome! Help them out with that. If your kid wants to play piano, cool! Give them lessons.

Side note: lessons for music and such are usually paid for in advance and you’re required to pay for a certain number of lessons. And sports are always for the whole season. So if my kids say they want to take piano lessons and I pay for a series of 8 lessons, you can be damn sure that kid will attend all 8 lessons even though they’ll whine and complain after lesson 2. If, after those 8 lessons, they decide not to continue, cool. But if I pay it, they will do it. Or I make them pay me back the money I spent for them to do that thing they told me they wanted to do. I’m teaching perseverance, right? Which is totally different than me saying, “You will be a piano aficionado and take lessons and practice from the time you are 3!” There are kids who are into this kind of thing. There are parents who are into this kind of thing. Awesome. Do what you guys love.

What I’m against is parents building up unrealistic expectations for their kids and trying to mold their young children into something they really wouldn’t naturally be. I’ve seen mothers and daughter develop extremely close, peer-to-peer relationships when the daughters are grown. It’s pretty uncommon, in my experience, but it happens. I’m pretty sure that’s borne out of love and respect, though, not baby-to-adult coercion.

And parents who put undue stress on their kids to make perfect grades to get into that ivy league school, or to be a Division 1-level basketball player. You’re stressing your kids out!

Don’t live through your kids. Live for your kids.

Allow them to be who they are. Allow them to try different things. Allow them to make mistakes and learn from them (that’s what mistakes are for).

Drop all your expectations of who you want your child to grow into and just watch them grow into who they are. Yes, give guidance. Love them always. Introduce opportunities. But they are not you. You cannot live vicariously through them. Your failed dreams are not their future.

So I guess I’m really not a “Rocker Mom” in the Urban Dictionary sense.

I’m Rocker Mom: Mother and lover of rock music.

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