Yesterday, I spent almost 90 minutes at the playground with my son, watching as he raced around with friends old and new, pretending to be a superhero, playing impromptu games of tag, and participating in climbing competitions and slide-caravans.
He knew I was there, and occasionally sought me out if there was a conflict or he wanted a drink, but otherwise he didn’t need me much.
So I scrolled Twitter and checked Facebook and sent a few emails and texts.
This makes me a bad parent?
Before I became a parent, I didn’t know if I could handle it.
I had never even held a child, let alone changed a diaper, and I honestly wasn’t sure if I had what it takes. Was there a switch that would flip when I saw his face for the first time? Was the ability to care for a child something hard-coded in my biology that would suddenly materialize in me when my son was born?
Yes and no. I was lucky to love Detective Munch right from the start (though I can totally understand the adjustment period some new parents weather; there’s not much there there at the beginning!), but Morpheus wasn’t around to instantly upload the Parenting program into my skull. I just took it one day at a time – I still do – and slowly but surely adapted to my new role, and my new reality.
There are still plenty of aspects of parenting that I’m insecure about, plenty of situations I have yet to experience, and I have no real idea how I’ll react when confronted with them.
Controversy recently ignited when a popular Northern California restaurant posted a sign aggressively banning unruly children and babies from their establishment.
Yesterday, on the heels of this, I shared an old post I wrote about the divide between parents and non-parents, which, if the collection of comments and emails and death threats I receive whenever I post something on The Huffington Post is any indication, seems pretty wide these days.
Whether you’ve read that old post of mine or not, you probably assume I’m outraged at the restaurant for its “no loud kids” policy, like a lot of my fellow parents. But I actually don’t have a problem with it.
Funny thing about parents: we hate kids.
When I was a kid, The Karate Kid was one of my favorite movies. If I’m totally honest, it still is. I see it listed in the channel guide and there’s no way I’m not watching the tournament.
Growing up, I was so enamored with the uplifting tale of Daniel LaRusso’s war against the neo-Nazi community of Southern California that my parents thought I might want to take karate classes. And I would have, if I hadn’t been so terrified of landing in a Cobra Kai-type school with a Vietnam-traumatized sensei who would force me to be racist and do push-ups on my knuckles.
Come on, I was like eight years old. Which I thought was a little young for martial arts. Except almost 30 years later, my son is taking them, and he’s three.
As I suggested last week, every parent has secrets. Unfortunately, not every parent has a blog via which they can express their innermost feelings under sarcastic cover (I swear!) and therefore escape the wrath of their spouse and children and the authorities.
Understanding this, I have created a “Buried Secrets” forum, this well of souls, where any parent who feels the need to can get something off their chest without fear of judgment (you know how we feel about that) or embarrassment or the NSA.
Just kidding, I can’t hide from them! Thankfully they already know all of our secrets anyway.