Mom and Buried can’t get enough of the seasons.
In winter, she’s all about snow angels and sledding and hot toddies. In summer she treats every sunny day like it’s her last one on earth, and when spring arrives she… mostly bitches about how terrible the weather is because spring is a hoax created by the Chinese to sell air conditioners!
But fall is the worst, because fall means foliage and pumpkin farms and apple-picking and other objectively boring and terrible things that get reclassified as “family traditions!” because without a little rationalizing, we’d all go insane.
Surviving parenthood requires a good deal of lying, both to your kids and to yourself, because there is so much about parenting that sucks, without lying we wouldn’t be able to get through it. Mom and Buried has become an expert at such denial. So much so that when she reads this she’ll try to convince me that she actually likes going apple picking!
Nobody likes going apple picking. I don’t even like picking up apples at the store, where they’re already off the tree and neatly organized for me! No two-hour drive out to the middle of nowhere, no bees, no sweating from the unseasonably warm weather, and it’s still boring AF! At the end of the day all you end up with are apples. PASS.
But recast “shopping for produce” and “manual labor” as “family bonding” and suddenly we’re doing it every October.
“Family bonding” is the adult equivalent of the Tooth Fairy. It’s a way of putting a positive spin on something painful and terrifying.
The Tooth Fairy: “It’s a good thing when your teeth inexplicably fall out, because a magical creature brings you money!”
Family Bonding: “It’s a good thing Daddy’s back hurts from that insanely bumpy hay-ride on the back of a souped-up tractor, because we’re all choosing our pumpkin together!”
Much of being an adult requires convincing yourself that terrible things are worthwhile, and parenting takes that to the extreme, because if you can’t fool yourself into thinking monotonous (at best) tasks are fulfilling and that excruciating (at worst) events are meaningful, you’ll just end up resenting your kids for ruining your life.
It’s one of the reasons everything becomes a precious milestone. Does any parent really enjoy taking their kid to their first haircut? Not only do some moms and dads struggle with chopping off the original ‘do, half the kids scream bloody murder in the barber’s chair. But hey, make it a milestone and put those locks in a scrapbook like a serial killer and suddenly it’s a wonderful memory!
And it’s not just milestones that require rationalizing and lying and denial. It’s behaviors and personality too! Your kid is stubborn? Don’t worry, that means he’s independent and a leader! Your kid is a sarcastic pain-in-the-ass? Great, sarcastic people are more intelligent!
Parents are the same as everyone else: we lie to make ourselves feel better. It’s part of being an adult, only once you have kids it gets a little harder, because you’re not just convincing yourself anymore. You have to convince them too.
This weekend, that means they’ll get extra apple cider.