I still remember the night I got a call from my oldest friend and he told me his wife was pregnant. I’ve known this dude since the second grade (Turkey Hill Elementary School Class of ’86 represent!) and he was the first friend of mine to become a parent. It was a big deal.
I was young at the time, and drunk at the time (and maybe other things at the time?) and I had some strong suggestions for how he should raise his child. Living the single life in Southie, having kids of my own was still a long way off for me, but that didn’t matter. I had OPINIONS.
Even just thinking about it makes me hate myself. I knew nothing. More than 12 years later, I still know nothing. Nothing except the stuff I wish I hadn’t done.
Parenting is a crapshoot. Most of the what we do is guess. And when it comes to the big stuff, we won’t really have any idea what worked, or what backfired, for years. Decades, even. So most of the time, worrying about having done something “wrong” is silly.
Which isn’t to say we don’t all do it. Even me!
So yeah, parenting regrets? I have a few…
- Had Kids: Calm down. I don’t regret having kids. I mean, sometimes I do. Don’t you? I’m tired, I’m broke, I’m stressed, I’m tired, I’m broke, I’m hungover. What was I saying? Oh right. They complete me. I swear!
- Posting Pictures of Myself Baby-wearing: Oh my god the condescension! The “helpful” tips! The complaining that he shouldn’t be upside down. YOU DO YOU.
- Had Two Kids: Calm down. I don’t regret having The Hammer. He’s the greatest even when he’s the worst. But there are drawbacks to having two. It’s more expensive. It’s more hectic. It’s more stressful. When you’re deciding whether to have a second, or a third kid, (or any kids at all!) it’s all abstract theorizing. It’s easy to be scared of the unknown. And on tough days it’s easy to look back in an abstract way and say “it would be easier with fewer kids.” But then you actually see that second or third kid’s adorable face, or you walk in from work he toddles over wearing a grin and with his arms spread to be picked up, and there’s nothing abstract about it. Yes, life is harder with a second kid. But it’s also better with The Hammer.
- Posting Pictures of My Kid in a Carseat: Oh my god the condescension! The “helpful” tips! The complaining that he shouldn’t be upside down. YOU DO YOU.
- Didn’t Have Three Kids: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
- Swearing Too Much: To be honest, I don’t care much about swearing, but I do try to stop myself from doing it in front of my kids. (In front of Detective Munch, at least. The Hammer doesn’t understand shit! On any level.) I don’t think swearing freely around your kids has many lasting effects on anything except other people’s perceptions of their manners, so unless you swear AT your kids, it’s not a big deal. But still, I don’t need my six or seven or ten-year-old to be the kid throwing around f-bombs at the playground. So I try to cut back. (Subtweet to Mom and Buried.)
- Spanking: Calm down. I haven’t done it. YET.
- Not Spanking: If you haven’t at least considered giving it a shot once or twice, you’re probably a Millennial.
- Not Being Better at Man Stuff: What am I teaching my sons besides how to be sarcastic and what the best music, movies, and TV shows are? Not much. Maybe feminism? Not to rape? Not to be a dick? (Um, probably not). Maybe if my dad were a mechanic instead of a lawyer I’d be better at changing oil than writing witty comebacks to trolls. And maybe Detective Munch wouldn’t be such a smart-ass. But that ship has sailed.
- Posting Pictures of My Kid in a Bar: I DON’T WANT YOUR LIFE.
- Using Formula: At least when Mom and Buried was breastfeeding I didn’t have to do anything!
- Breastfeeding: It really hurts!
- Caring Whether Someone Breastfeeds or Uses Formula: Please. If you think I’ve ever cared about the method someone uses to feed their kids, you must be new here. Just feed your own and shut up.