I spend a lot of time complaining about all the things parenting has taken away from me. My energy, my free time, any instance of silence, the ability to open a bag of chips without a mop-headed midget running in and demanding all of them, without even knowing what they are.
But today I’m looking at the bright side.
Parenting doesn’t just take, it gives. And over the past five years, I’ve acquired some amazing talents that never would have manifested if I weren’t responsible for a child.
Because with great responsibility comes great power…
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.
Being a parent is hard.
You start from scratch every day and run until you’re empty, hoping that you’ve made a dent, that you did something right, that one of your lessons actually sticks. One of the intentional ones.
But you won’t know for a while. Not for years, not truly. And the lack of feedback, direct or otherwise, makes the job even harder. It’s impossible to know how well you’re doing and thus it’s very easy to succumb to self-doubt.
This is why judgment from other parents is so obnoxious; it’s redundant. Every decent parent already constantly questions their own parenting.
Last year around this time, I wrote a fairly irrational post about Valentine’s Day, in which I questioned its prominence and the things it teaches children.
I must have woken up on the wrong side of my heart-shaped bed, because I don’t really care all that much about the holiday and its harmless traditions, and I don’t usually get carried away about things like that.
This year I’m making amends by embracing both Valentine’s Day and my son’s involvement in it.
Making the decision to have children is a big deal. There are a lot of factors to consider.
Luckily, I’m here. And I made a handy flowchart to help you figure out if parenting is for you.
Has it really been six months since I last bestowed my parenting wisdom on you people? Shameful.
For some reason, you haven’t been asking me many questions. Maybe I’ve answered them all in my regular posts (possible). Maybe you’re all better parents than me (probable). Maybe you just know better than to turn to me for advice (I hope so). But I have the itch, and I did get a few queries in my latest call on Facebook (Follow me!), so I’m back with more advice!
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Last night, I watched a movie about parenting. And it was the most terrifying movie I’ve seen in years.
The Babadook is phenomenal. It’s about more than just parenting – grief, depression, guilt, children’s books, insomnia, cockroaches, monsters – but at its core it’s about a single mom trying to raise a difficult child on her own in the aftermath of a tragedy, and the toll it takes on her, her son, and their relationship. Also it’s about a terrifying monster from inside a terrifying children’s book.
It’s probably the best horror movie I’ve seen in years, not least because most of the scares don’t come (solely) from the supernatural but also the psychological (like other favorite Rosemary’s Baby, or maybe Don’t Look Now). I highly recommend it; just try to choose a day when your kids aren’t pissing you off!
You wouldn’t know that The Babadook is about parenting by the title. But what would a movie about parenting be called?
I am not setting out to become the pro-vax parenting blogger. For one thing, I try to keep things light around here, for another, there are plenty of bloggers out there doing a better job than me.
Besides, I’ve only written one post about it!
But with the recent Onion article that caused an uproar on my Facebook page, and the measles outbreak at Disney World all over the news, it’s hard not to have an opinion.
So now I’ve made an image too.