Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My Kids Made Me Rude (And If You Are A Good Parent, Yours Will Too)

My family teases me about my obsession with etiquette.  My grandmother bought me the largest Emily Post reference book available long before most kids my age could say thank you.  And my sister has actually gone so far as to suggest that I give gifts only to see if I will receive a thank you note (which is complete BS, BTW).
Behold, Emily Post...
While I can agree that I used to be a bit of a stickler when it came to manners, I no longer am.  In fact, I’ve become straight up rude… and I blame my children for it.

At work, I tackle a to-do list like it is my job- because it is.  But at home, no matter how long my list of to-dos, my kids are always at the top.  The result, as everything else falls to the wayside, I fear leaves me appearing aloof.

Invite me to your wedding and you are likely to receive my gift as your first anniversary approaches.  In fact, I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve gone way overboard on a few baby gifts because I couldn’t remember if I had ever even given a wedding gift.

Send one of my daughters a gift and you may have to wait a while for a non-electronic thank you.  And birthday goodies that aren’t for a kid?  Don’t hold your breath.  

But my intentions are sincere.  This I guarantee.

Wedding gifts take time because I rarely purchase registry items and try to find something with a more personal touch.  Thank you notes often include a photo of my kids wearing or using the item you gave them, which takes time, especially with clothing purchased a size ahead.  And birthday gifts almost always include even a little something handmade.

Still, there are a few things I give myself credit for.  I rarely make a cut from our Christmas card list.  Actually, I wouldn’t doubt if there are a few people that receive my card and wonder “who the hell are these people”.

I’ve also begun to take RSVP’s pretty seriously.  If I could propose an 8th wonder of the world, I would overlook whether Elvis Presley is dead or alive and go right to a preschool parent’s inability to RSVP to a classmate’s party.  After two years of being forced to debate whether to buy 1 pizza or 10, I’ve vowed not to put others into the same predicament.

In hindsight, I think my problem (if you can call it such) is that I love too much.  I want to do so many things and am unwilling to sacrifice anything.  I don’t want anyone to feel left out, not only because I don’t want to offend, but because they truly hold a place in my heart.

The challenge then becomes finding a way to spread myself thinly enough to reach everything I need to, but not so thinly that I fade away…