I gotta be honest with you, folks, I think parenting has gotten pretty darn ridiculous. No one can do everything that you’re supposed to do to raise well-adjusted and healthy children. NO ONE. I’m taking a stand. I need to unburden my soul. I am hereby confessing all the things I am doing wrong.
1. Screen time
Stupid screen time. The bane of my existence. I read those mom group posts, and it seems that everyone is sooo amazing at controlling their kids’ screen time: “Oh, mine only watch 20 minutes a day, and only on the weekends…” “Oh, screens are the root of all evil…” I just don’t understand. Do these moms have kids who are incredibly adroit at entertaining themselves? Or are the moms androids without needs? Because my two require anywhere from 75% to 100% participation in their entertainment of the moment, and if you’ve anything else to do, like cook dinner, fold laundry, or PEE, for goodness’ sake, you will have a screamer attached to your leg. So, forget peeing. Or eating. And if ever I make the mistake of taking away screen time as punishment, I very soon realize that the punishment is actually being exacted on ME. God help us all.
I’m just going to be honest here. My daughter? She eats 8 chocolate chip cookies a day. 4 for breakfast, and 4 before bed with a glass of milk. Her other diet consists of pasta and mac and cheese. Occasionally, she’ll eat an apple slice. My son is starting to branch out to things like salmon and steak, but vegetables are still poison, although he can eat enough carrot sticks to turn himself orange. He eats an ice cream sandwich a day for dessert, and he’s been known to eat two donuts in a row. I don’t know how to do it any other way without causing a nuclear disaster. I don’t know who these moms are who are all like, “Oh, they just eat what we eat…” If I only gave my kids what we eat, I’d get CPS on my ass for neglect and malnutrition. And who are these kids whose pictures I see on facebook eating sushi? That’s an urban legend. Photoshop. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Everyone knows the most important thing is routine for kids. We’ve got our routine down pat: at 7 we start discussing milk and cookies, at 7:30 we start fighting about milk and cookies and turning off screens, at 8 we finally sit down to milk at cookies, at 8:15 we say we’re still hungry, at 8:20 we eat a bag of apple slices, at 8:30 we eat a bag of carrot sticks, and at 8:45 we finally let ourselves get dragged upstairs. We hap-hazardly brush our teeth, and then force our mommy and daddy to stay in the room with us until we fall asleep. If they don’t stay with us, we will get out of bed and come downstairs. Or we will stay upstairs and wail until we puke. Both work great.
4. Night time
After bedtime comes night time. And at night time we play the super fun game called “musical beds.” At midnight, child 1 arrives to our marital bed. Child climbs in on their own without assistance. At 2am, child 2 realizes that child 1 is sleeping with the parents, and cries that they’re scared. Child 2 then climbs out of their bed and into the parents’ bed. Parent 1 is displaced and goes to sleep in child 2’s bed. Child 1 wakes up again and realizing that parent 1 is gone and parent 2 just is not the same, goes to find parent 1, and upon finding parent 1 in child 2’s bed (a twin bed, btw), climbs in with that parent. Parent 2 sleeps through the whole thing. Fortunately, I’m parent 2. I live to hear the tale in the morning.
5. Positive language
More and more I’m seeing articles and posts about like, “Don’t say no to your kids…” and “don’t raise your voice…” and “gentle parenting,” whatever that is… And I’d just like to say that the people that purport to be consistently practicing this are taking valium. Or day drinking. Because who could possibly have that much patience and self control? It’s just not possible to deal with a stubborn child without raising your voice to bellow “NO!” You can positively encourage them and speak softly all you want, but they just don’t give a shit. And they didn’t read the articles you read, so they don’t know they’re supposed respond to gentle talk. And also, you’re only supposed to give certain kinds of compliments, like, you can’t tell your daughter she’s pretty, and you can’t say “good job,” you have to say, “I see you worked very hard on that…” or something. Who can possibly keep track.
6. Quality time
Quality time is very important- with proof. If there is no picture, it didn’t happen. But every time I try to have quality time, it turns into a complete disaster, partly because the children just don’t wanna cooperate or have a different idea of what quality is, and partly because there is a reason that kids play with kids: it’s because kids’ games make adults want to poke their eyes out. Those people who say that they enjoy playing tag with their kids at the playground are lying to you, or to themselves (with the possible exception being manchild dads who are “just big kids inside,” how adorable). Those people who are just dying to play round 3504 of Disney Princess candy land, they’re also lying. Kids should be playing with OTHER KIDS because they speak the same language.
LISTEN, this is only the TIP of the iceberg. I am sure that when I wake up tomorrow, I’ll think of a hundred more things I do wrong.
Right now though, it’s your turn, confess something. And… GO: