The BM* Phenomenon
By I suck as a parent on February 04, 2014
Has this ever happened to you?
You hear a word or you come up with an idea and suddenly that word or idea is EVERYWHERE!** You think it’s some kind of sign – it must be – because what are the chances that you would come across an article or see something on television that addresses the very point that you were just contemplating!
It kept happening to me this past week. Was it the universe answering all of my questions or was it just a coincidence??
- First, over breakfast my younger son and I were discussing the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, and I mentioned that I would have had such a dull life if I hadn’t gotten married and had children. Cut to two hours later at the health club when this line flashed across one of the TV screens:
“You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids.”
That was a quote from blogger, Amy Glass, an unmarried woman without children, who wrote her opinion about how married women with children are failures. Apparently the universe was telling me that I will NEVER be exceptional because I got married and had kids, but does that mean that I will also have a dull life?
- Later that day I started writing a piece about my younger son who, I’ve decided, really needs to lighten up. As he’s “matured” he has lost his devilish spark. His teenage snarkiness and insecurities have dulled the twinkle in his eye and, EVERYTHING is embarrassing to him – if I dance around the kitchen, even if no one can see me, he is mortified. And he used to be the one to break into song and dance on the street.
I actually typed out this sentence: my younger son has lost his joie de vivre. Shortly after writing that sentence I took a break to read a couple of emails and scroll through some posts and I read this piece: “6 Qualities Kids Need to Succeed -- and One They Don't”. And, what was the number one quality? That’s right: joie de vivre!
What are the chances??
Was this another coincidence or was the universe telling me that I need to get my kid to dance in the street and sing at the top of his lungs—embarrassment be damned?!
- A short while later I was having a discussion with a friend of mine about how, everyday, there is a new formula for raising successful children. And, I mentioned, that I was finally ready to embrace the whole Tiger Mom approach even it was so contrary to encouraging a joy of living in kids. Lo and behold, the next article I read was, “What Drives Success?” in the New York Times, co-written by…Amy Chua, aka The Tiger Mom!
Uncanny! Was this supposed to be my blueprint for success?
- And finally, in a moment that was clearly more Tiger Mom and less joie de vivre, I was yelling at my oldest son about his first semester final grades. Not the non-stop, berating kind of yelling, but a lecture IN A REALLY LOUD VOICE. I have no idea what got into me because a) he’s a senior and his college applications are done so there isn’t much that I can do about it and b) he doesn’t care because he is a second semester senior and his college applications are done and there isn’t much he can do about it. When I finally came up for air he turned to me and said, “You know, yelling doesn’t help. It never has.”
In a huff, I stomped off towards the kitchen and there, sitting on the counter, was a neatly folded copy of the Wall Street Journal with an illustration of a woman yelling at a child bearing a headline that screamed at me: “Damage Control: Talking to Your Child After You Yell.”
A sign?! I wasn’t sure until…
…I immediately checked my twitter account after I read the article and saw this tweet from Today Moms: “STOP YELLING! To make kids listen, Dr. Phil says, try a whisper”.
I admit I was starting to get a little paranoid. I was starting to wonder if I was part of an experiment where I was being video-taped and someone was intentionally feeding me information via the Internet to get a reaction (yes, I do watch too much television, thank you for asking).
What do you think? Is the universe speaking to me, is it a coincidence, or is it a sign that I should just stop reading?
*Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. What did you think it stood for??
**The phenomenon, in case you are interested, is called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, or “frequency illusion” which is the illusion that something which has recently come to your attention suddenly seems to appear with higher frequency shortly thereafter.
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