In a recent post for Lifetime Moms, I mentioned that the issue of my son having “bad influences” – i.e., influences that aren’t his parents – wasn’t one I was expecting to encounter for a while. I expected him to be primarily under the influence of me for the next few years.
And then he met Xander.
And Xander ruined my son’s childhood.
Growing up, when I asked my parents what they wanted for Christmas, they always made a (sad) joke out of it. They knew my brothers and I didn’t have any money, so they didn’t bother asking for anything real, like a new car, or a box of Cuban cigars, or a new furniture set.
Instead, they used Santa the way someone might use a genie: by asking my brothers and me for things that were abstract, theoretical, and totally unattainable. Just to make a point. They’d make requests like, “for you and your brothers to get along” or “a little peace and quiet” or “for you to behave.” Just totally insane shit that would never happen in a million years.
Now that I’m a dad, nobody ever asks me what I want. But if they did? I’d reply exactly the same way as my mom and dad. Because I was wrong; they weren’t joking.
The intangible, imaginary stuff really is what parents want for Christmas.
Sometimes we parents have to lie to our kids.
To put it another way, if it makes you feel better: sometimes we have to use “parenting euphemisms.”
Not to state the obvious, but becoming a parent is kind of a big deal. One day you don’t have a kid and the next day you do and your life won’t ever be the same. It’s quite an adjustment. Even with nine months of warning.
I don’t care how much time you spend getting ready, how many books you read, how much stuff you buy: you can’t truly prepare for having kids because nothing prepares you for having kids except having kids. Being a parent takes some getting used to and it’s not always easy, especially at first.
It’s okay to admit your kid is an asshole sometimes. It’s okay to hate being a parent sometimes. And it’s okay to hate your baby.
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.