Everyone has grand plans for how they’ll parent. They’re going to do everything right, and be the perfect mom or dad, and raise the world’s best kid. Becoming a parent forces you to make sacrifices.
And then you have kids. And suddenly you’re in the shit. And when you’re in the shit, things change.
Instead of doing everything right, you start doing plenty of things wrong, making boneheaded parenting mistakes that are probably bad for them, and are definitely bad for you.
Some of the stuff I do wrong is bad for them, and if we’re being honest, I’d have to say that’s probably the bigger deal. After all, they’re going to be living their entire lives lugging around whatever baggage I’ve laid on them, whereas I’m already halfway out the door.
But this blog is about me, not them. They can write their own when they’re older! (Besides, I’ve already laid out all the ways I’m failing them.) So let’s talk about the mistakes I’m making that are negatively affecting my life!
Here’s a woefully incomplete list of my boneheaded parenting mistakes, the stuff I do for my kids that I shouldn’t be doing, for my sake, and that I could easily not do if I loved my kids a little less, loved myself a little more, and, frankly, was just a little bit smarter.
Boneheaded Parenting Mistakes
- Letting them co-sleep – Literally no good comes from this. Once they start, they can’t stop, and the soft glow of toddler snuggles quickly fades into the harsh glare of kindergartener groin kicks. You let your scared two-year-old into your bed during one thunderstorm and suddenly you’re hanging halfway off the mattress the night before your son’s driving test. Serves you right, moron.
- Showing them your favorite movies – It seems like a great idea to introduce your kids to Star Wars and The Karate Kid and superhero movies, until suddenly you’re forced to sit through Attack of the fucking Clones 300 times and your 7-year-old starts crane-kicking your toddler and decides with his undeveloped brain inexplicably that Batman is better than Superman. WHAT HAVE I DONE?!
- Providing batteries – Every toy that needs batteries is a terrible toy that will ruin your life. And yet I can’t help loading up on AAs and Cs and AAAs and even the gargantuan Ds so my toddler can bang away on the world’s most annoying keyboard or my 7-year-old can drive a remote control car into my feet. I’m such an idiot.
- Sharing your favorite snacks – I know potato chips aren’t good for me. But I’ve lived 41 agonizing years in this hell-hole, several of them with far too much awareness of Donald Trump. I’ve earned my indulgences. My kids haven’t earned a single goddamn thing in their lives. But I had to go and let them try some of my favorite snacks and now every time I open a bag of Tyrrell’s Sweet Chili & Red Pepper chips they come running to steal the one sliver of joy I have left? I’m living in a hell of my own making.
- Laughing at them – Pretty much the stupidest thing a parent can do is laugh at one of their kids’ jokes. Maybe your kid is the next John Mulaney. More likely he’s the next Dane Cook, by which I mean he makes stupid sound effects and isn’t actually funny. All your laughter does is ensure you’re going to get a lot more hackery coming your way, which, if your kids are anything like mine, means a perpetual loop of fart jokes. Do yourself and everyone else a favor by making your kids earn the laugh, and even then, try not to give them the satisfaction. Trust me. I chuckled at “Mr. Barfhands” and now I hear that phrase 5000 times a day. I hate myself.
Sigh. Not only is this list incomplete, I won’t even learn from it. I’m going to keep making these parenting mistakes, momentarily losing my mind every time I see an opportunity to make my kids happy, not realizing until it’s too late that I’m shooting myself in the foot.
We all do it.
One of the worst, most understandable things we parents do is put our kids’ happiness in front of our own. I could be scraping together rent money but if I see my toddler smile at a $200 stuffed dog, we’ll be using that thing as a pillow when we move into our cardboard box. I know better, and yet I continue to blow it.
Kids may be blissfully ignorant, but it’s pretty obvious we’re the dumb ones.