Things are going to be quiet around here for the next week or so, because Dad and Buried is going on vacation!
I’m actually a little reluctant to call it a vacation, since I’m bringing my toddler along. Yes, I’m taking the week off from work, and from my blog (I’ll still be updating my Facebook page every now and then, so be sure to follow me there!), and I’ll be at the beach. But I don’t know how much relaxation will be happening, as it’s not exactly my son’s middle name.
His middle name is actually “GET THE F*** DOWN FROM THERE YOU’RE GOING TO KILL YOURSELF!”
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.
For the third week this month, Mom and Buried is traveling and I’m on my own with my kid.
DON’T PANIC. We’re okay.
Sure, maybe the first time my wife went away I was all: what am I gonna do? But several weeks in and now I’m all: ain’t no thing but a chicken wing on a string. I’m a real-life dad, not a Seth Macfarlane character; I can handle it. Newsflash: it’s parenting, not the Thunderdome, and dads can do it just as well as moms.
I’d even venture to say we do it better.
Last week, when I asked my Facebook followers for topic ideas, someone suggested I tackle the mixed feelings parents have when their kids misbehave. Which almost sounds crazy. Why would anyone have anything but bad feelings when their kids misbehave?
Then, earlier this week, I got yelled at by a bunch of people who got angry that I let my son run rampant on airplanes. Never mind that I don’t do that, and that my son has (thus far) been very well-behaved on airplanes; these people said HURTFUL things that MADE ME CRY.
And it got me reconsidering that reader’s request, especially since I suddenly and strongly want my kid to misbehave on our next flight, just out of spite.
I’m a single parent* this week.
My wife is out-of-town, so I’ll be watching my threenager without her assistance for a good ten days. I’ll be responsible for feeding him and getting him dressed and getting him to bed and giving him his bath and telling him no and weathering his tantrums and telling him no and weathering his tantrums and telling him no and…
I’m not nervous about being alone with my son for a week; even though I’m not a stay-at-home dad anymore, I’m alone with my son all the time. I’m his dad and dads are parents too, contrary to popular opinion. The occasional bout of single parenting is part of the job, and I’m used to it.
But just because I can do it doesn’t mean I want to.
I talk a lot about the tyranny of judgment on this blog. Because it’s the worst, in all its forms. And there are many.
There’s the judgment of strangers. There’s the judgment of Other Parents. There’s even the judgment of spouses.
But the worst judgment of all has to be the judgment of your children.
Especially when they’re right.
Newsflash: Kids are stressful. They disrupt your life, and the lives of the people around them, even when they’re on their absolute best behavior.
That’s why we parents often prefer to hang out with other parents. Not only so we can bitch about the stress to someone who has had similar experiences, but because when there are other kids around, your kid has something to do rather than keep pulling your arm and causing you to spill your drink.
Also because your own kid’s bad behavior is less noticeable when he’s part of a team. There’s strength in numbers. For parents, numbers provide solidarity.
For our children, they provide camouflage. Especially at parties.
I’ve written about my son’s whining before.
Of course I’ve written about it before. It’s such a large part of my day-to-day existence, the presence of the whine, the powerlessness to do anything about the whine, the desire to drink lots of wine because of the whine, that how could I not have written about it before?
But that was foolish. Because in the time since I wrote that post, things have taken a turn. And I’ve learned that whatever whining that I was, ahem, whining about back then was hardly whining at all.