Parents of the World (but Moms, specifically):
It’s time we all come clean. In the year of our lord 2017, surely we should be able to drop the act and stop lying to ourselves and each other about an important and fundamental truth: kids are assholes.
Yes, children are beautiful little cotton candy clouds made of kisses and sunshine. I’m not a some heartless Cinderella-stepmom type who resents their kids and I certainly don’t want to see them suffer. The people closest to me in life would probably say I’m actually too nice to my kids when I should be stricter. I’m a firm believer (albeit rather reluctantly) that in most cases, it’s the behavior and not the kid who is “bad.” You know, positive redirection rather than negative consequences, taking advantage of “teachable moments,” setting boundaries and offering choices, and various other mumbo jumbo concepts we cling to as parents to evaluate whether our parenting matches up with who we think we are and what we believe in.
But I’m not going to bore you with a listicle of ways you can be a “good” parent- mainly because I’m also a firm believer that as long as you’re doing your best and actually interested in being a good parent, your version of being a “good” parent will likely look very different than mine, and who am I to judge? This entire post was inspired by a conversation between me and my best friend and our friend, who happens to be a guy and who does NOT have children. The conversation went something like this:
Brutally Honest Bestie: “So I’m standing with the other moms at this little girl’s birthday party and the host mom comes over and says ‘I really can’t stand my daughter right now’ and all the other moms let out a sigh like ‘Oh my god, it’s not just me!?’ It was like we’d all been waiting for one of the other moms to say it so we could talk about how much we don’t like our children sometimes. [Editor’s note: this birthday party was at 9 in the goddamn morning. Yet another example of another woman being a better mom than me, because you’d be able to name your own price for a winged pig on Priceline before I’d attend almost any optional event at 9 in the morning.]
Friend With No Kids: “Really? People really only talk about how their kids are miracles and all that.”
Me: “Oh, yeah. Don’t get me wrong. Being a mom is awesome. I’d definitely choose it all over again if I had to. But kids are total assholes.”
FWNK: “That’s funny, man. I’ve never heard anybody say that, like ever. That’s so good to know.”
And that is exactly why I’m writing this: Kids are assholes and seriously, no one talks about it. They’re tiny little assholes who think the world exists solely for them, yet are also completely and utterly dependent on you for pretty much everything. Mom and dad are idiots who know nothing yet, paradoxically, need to have the answer to any and every question a kid could ever have because, duh. You’re the grown up. (There’s no point being old if you don’t even know how to play Minecraft on expert or fly an airplane, your four year old is just sayin’.)
They stomp around the world without knowledge of basic social norms or manners or obvious facts like the heat coming from the stove means it’s hot- like, really fucking hot– and you shouldn’t touch it with your bare hand. And then you’ve got to answer deep ass, existential decisions on-the-spot like “What does it say about me as a person that I don’t appreciate having to tell this tiny person not to touch the big thing literally radiating heat for a tenth time and am almost certain the skin on the palm of their hand will grow back just fine if I let them get a little singed in the name of learning from experience.”
Omw to be an asshole.
They insist on wearing cowboy boots that are just a hair too small, despite your repeated protests that they’ll make their feet hurt by the end of the school day, and- lo and behold!- the little shit comes running to your car in tears insisting that it’s your fault that they have blisters on their disobedient little pinky toes, leaving you and your bright pink cheeks simmering in shame as the extended day teachers shake their heads disapprovingly at the mom who can’t even be bothered to put her kid in shoes that actually it.
Yeah, kids are dicks. They really are. They can’t help it. The little shits can’t even be bothered to know they shouldn’t be. And to add insult to injury, they don’t think they’re assholes. And I guess that’s where we come in: we’re here to dedicate most of the best years of our lives to ensure that by the time they hit adulthood, we’re not adding to the
I know that my personal ever-evolving parenting philosophy revolves around not unleashing two more assholes into a world filled to the brim with jerks and pricks and douchebags aplenty. That and something about making sure they never doubt that I love them. I, like most (all? I hope all) parents, love my kids so much that I can’t even really fathom the depth of it.
But yeah, kids are dicks. And just in case no one has said it to you, you’re not the only one who thinks so and it doesn’t mean you love them any less.