I saw a friend last week who recently had a baby. She told me that of all the advice she received prior to giving birth, my warning about all the parents who will attempt to make parenting sound miserable and ruin her day was the most helpful.
“I can’t believe it, but you were right. So many people are awful.”
A great majority of parents are exceptionally skilled at complaining.
A great majority of parents feel the inexplicable need to dampen the enthusiasm and optimism of less experienced parents.
An even greater majority of parents fail to give themselves and other parents the credit that they deserve.
I’ll never understand it. My friend doesn’t understand it. When someone asks her how parenthood is going, she tells them how happy she is. How wonderful her baby has been. How joyous she and her husband are.
The typical response:
“Just wait until she can walk. Then things will change.”
“You’re in the honeymoon period. It’ll end soon.”
“It’s the second one that will kill you.”
Parents of newborns should walk around with a roll of duct tape to silence these pessimists and idiots up.
Actually, I should do the same. I can’t tell you how many times a parent has warned me how difficult my sweet and happy daughter will become once she is a teenager, forgetting that I once raised a teenage stepdaughter and forgetting that it takes a special kind of jackass to make a comment like this.
In order to combat these naysayers, I propose that all rationale parents take a moment today and acknowledge all the excellent parenting that we have done this far. Stop for a moment and reflect upon the outstanding decisions, the astounding restraint, the brilliant planning, and the remarkable sacrifices, that you have made as a parent.
Forget the errors and the flubs. Put aside the guilt and regret.
Be positive. Be self-congratulatory. Share you kick-ass moments.
Then go to the hardware store and purchase a roll of duct tape.
If you’d like to join me in this crusade, make your own list of excellence in parenting. If you are so inclined, post it in the comment section below. Tweet your list. Post it to Facebook. Write it on a slip of paper, wrap it around a rock, and throw it through the window of one of these jackasses who can’t stop telling you that “When it comes to kids, one plus one equals three!”
Take a stand against all those parents who can’t stand the thought that there might be happy, effective parents in the world with a sense of balance and perspective.
To this end, I offer you my list of parental successes.
- My son has never peed on me while I was changing his diaper.
- I have never yelled at my children.
- Other than live sporting events, I have never watched television while my children were awake.
- I have never failed to follow through on a warning to my daughter.
- My children have never slept in my bed.
- I have never skipped a night of reading to my children.
- I try like hell to avoid telling my daughter that she is smart. I praise her for hard work, persistence, grit, listening, and a willingness to learn, but I avoid saying “smart” whenever possible (though I’ve still said it hundreds of times).
In the future, I will make a point of highlighting the success of other parents as well.