I hate judgment, especially when it comes to parenting.
It’s presumptuous and self-righteous and, worst of all, it only serves to obscure – if not outright obliterate – the empathy that should be both the prevalent emotion and the primary response to seeing another parent struggling. We all live in the same huge glass house, surrounded by miniature walking wrecking balls, and we’re all barefoot and bloodied, like John McClane.
Being given a hard time when your kid isn’t behaving is the last thing a parent needs.
It’s hard enough being responsible for the safety and development of a brand new, slowly-developing, borderline-feral human being without someone explaining to you everything you’re doing wrong.
It’s never right to judge. So why do I want you to judge me?
Mom and Buried sent me a link to a parenting article, as moms do. After promising her I’d read it and then lying that I’d read it! (as dads do!), I quickly went back and actually read it. It was kind of difficult to focus, though, what with all the eye-rolling.
Parenting articles can be frustrating to read, despite the fact that they often contain some truly useful suggestions. All parenting advice is great in theory and in a vacuum; that’s why non-parents love dishing it out.
Of course, in real-life situations, with real-life sociopathic children and real-life at-the-end-of-their-rope parents, it’s not long before your best laid plans explode in your face.
Which is exactly what makes this kind of parenting advice so easy to mock.
Is there anything your munchkin says that ISN’T on this list? Add it in the comments!
My son is only four, but with the speed at which children grow up these days, it won’t be long before he starts going on dates. So I thought I’d write a little something to anyone who is considering going to the drive-in and the ice cream stand – or maybe the roller rink and soda shop? I’m out of touch – with my son.
(If you have a daughter, try these or these, from much nicer people than me.)
He’s a friendly, good-looking kid, so I don’t blame you for being interested. Just be careful.
If you want to date my son, it’s your funeral.
Moms are screwed. They have a thankless job, serving as the paradigm of parenting, assumed almost by default to know what they’re doing when it comes to raising kids, and having the contradictory burden of high expectations while simultaneously being taken for granted.
They are the standard bearers and when they fail, they are vilified. There’s nothing society hates more than a bad mom. Never mind that women, like men, contain multitudes, and just having the biology to grow a life doesn’t mean every single female is meant to be a mother or even wants to be one. God forbid women try to “have it all” and be something in addition to being a mother. Goddamn feminists!
Dads, meanwhile, have it made. Unless a rising band of crusaders – which includes both a Hogwarts graduate (did they actually graduate?) and some fellow dad bloggers – succeeds in ruining everything for us.
I’m a reasonable guy. I like to be noticed as much as the next person who has a blog and a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Believe me, I know how strong the pull of social media is; I struggle with it every day.
Luckily, when it comes to Dad and Buried-related stuff, I have a bit of an out: I write in character and I keep my D&B accounts mostly separate from my personal ones. But even there I don’t broadcast every moment of my life. Case in point, my non-D&B Facebook wall is almost entirely links to the Onion. Which is where you’d expect to find some of the outlandish pregnancy announcements that have been all over the internet lately.
I hate pregnancy announcements, and not just the ones with the terrifying 3-D sonograms.
I wouldn’t expect you to understand. If you’re not from here, it must seem alien to you.
Around these parts we do things differently, and if you’re not born and raised in this culture, you’re probably never going to get it. We eat different foods, we use different slang, we wear different clothes, and yes, we discipline our children differently.
So I can’t condemn Adrian Peterson for what he did. It’s a part of his culture.
Look, I don’t know if vaccines cause autism. Or Guillian-Barre Syndrome. Or seizures. I don’t think they do, but I could be wrong.
Believe me, I like a good conspiracy as much as the next person, and I hate Big Pharma as much as the next person, and I am probably more cynical than most people. And I believe there are plenty of smart, well-educated, equally cynical, equally sane people who have good reason to think vaccinations have harmed their children in a variety of ways. I don’t know if they’re right. I’m not a scientist, I haven’t done the experiments. Maybe they have (they haven’t).
But for me, right and wrong isn’t the point. For me, it comes down to risk.
The other day, during a particularly stressful endurance test at the dinner table, Mom and Buried chided me for getting so frustrated at Detective Munch’s eating (or lack thereof) habits. She told me that I needed to step back and realize that as hard as parenting can be, it’s pretty tough to be a three-year-old too.
My inadequacy as a father notwithstanding – although I would argue that no parent should be judged by their reaction to a toddler’s dinnertime hi-jinks – that’s some bullshit right there.
There’s nothing parents enjoy more than judging other parents.
Don’t believe me? Go post a picture of your toddler in his car seat and see how long it takes for someone to question the way he’s strapped in.
Nobody knows better for your child than some other child’s mom or dad and nobody is quicker to let you know.
Especially when it comes to names.