Tag Archives: Parents

Parents at Playgrounds on Phones Are the Worst People Ever

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I’ve been waiting for a chance to use this picture for three years!

There are some bad people out there.

The world is full of liars, cheaters, serial killers, rapists, pedophiles, and New York Jets fans. Unfortunately, the derelicts are living next to us, conversing with us, and subversively poisoning our way of life as they chip away at society’s common decency. They’re right under our noses, yet because there’s no readily identifiable mark of evil to witness, it’s impossible for us to tell the good guys from the dregs.

Until now.

If you’re not familiar with the worst people on Earth, I’m not surprised. No one has ever actually seen what they look like, because their faces are perpetually pointed down. Yup, that’s right — we’re talking about parents at playgrounds who use their smartphones!

I know. Savages, right? I mean, these are our children. Our babies. Our future. But sadly, you can’t throw a dead Angry Bird on the Internet these days without coming across another heartbreaking tale of innocent children being shamefully neglected by smartphone wielding monsters. Seriously, it’s an epidemic.

And you thought ISIS was bad news.

I’m sure you’ve run into their ilk at the local playgrounds. It’s always the same horrid scene. Kids happily cavorting and scampering around the playground, instantly making friends with other kids as only children can do. They climb the climbing walls, slide down slides, and cross the monkey bars while enjoying some exercise and the outdoors. On the surface, everything seems fine until you see the parent sitting on the bench tapping away on a phone.

Make no mistake, these people are what’s wrong with society.

Don’t approach them, as they probably won’t notice you anyway. Because hell, they’re already missing every single precious moment of their baby’s life and clearly prioritizing technology over their own flesh and blood. Instead, just make a mental note of everything they’re doing wrong, and shame this abomination on your blog as soon as you get home.

These people are so dangerous because they’re not thinking about the children. I mean sure they could be a stay-at-home parents who devote every waking second to the kids all day long up until this point and now they’re searching Pinterest for a dinner recipe while their kids get exercise, but that’s beside the point.

And yeah, I guess this could be a working parent returning a quick email because she negotiated a flexible schedule and the ability to work remotely so she can see her kids more often instead of coming home from the office after they’re asleep, but that’s neither here nor there.

And yes, there is an infinitesimal chance the dad on the phone needs just five minutes to himself to check Facebook or read the news while his kids play, because he hasn’t had an adult conversation in more than a week and he fears his brain is turning to mush. But that’s hardly relevant.

What is important is shaming these parents without knowing anything about their personal circumstances.

After all, if your head is buried in your phone how can you ensure your kid’s safety? Didn’t you watch the incredibly frightening video about child abduction??? Anyone with a furry creature and a warm smile can steal your kid at any second. I mean yeah, technically that video uses erroneous statistics and only 115 “stranger abductions” a year are reported in the US. And it’s true the world is actually statistically safer now than at any point in recent history. But the point is, PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR KIDS!

Every mom and dad knows the only way to be truly great at parenting is to spend 100% of your time and energy on your kids and always put them first at all costs. That’s just science.

You need to follow them around the playground and be a shadow.

Is junior having trouble climbing the ladder? Help him immediately. Is your little girl in the middle of a nonviolent disagreement with another child? Step in as soon as possible and resolve it for her. Do your children have trouble playing independently and need you helicoptering around them at all times? Then congratulations, because you’re winning the parenting game.

In a world where the bad guys often look like good guys, it’s comforting in a way to have a common despised enemy. That’s why it’s not enough for you to parent your own kid and let other parents handle things in a more hands-off way. You have a responsibility to point out perceived shortcomings of others based on little to no actual information, and use it for blog fodder and just making yourself and others feel better about themselves in general.

In a world gone mad with terrible dangers like parents with smartphones and deflated footballs lurking around every corner, it’s up to you, super parent, to continue to fight the good fight.

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Why I Prefer Parents With Messy Houses

mess

How many times have you gone over to someone’s house for a play date and before you’re even through the door you get “Please excuse the mess in here. It’s been a DISASTER but I’ve been so busy I haven’t had a chance to clean it?” 

As a father of two precocious boys, I nod knowingly and walk in to find — nothing! Not only is there no mess, the place is freaking immaculate. Floors you could eat off, carpet freshly vacuumed, no crumbs on the couch, and not a speck of dust to be found. The throw rugs are all perfectly aligned, there’s no dirty laundry draped on the banister or hanging from light fixtures, and — wait a second, did they — yup, someone has put all the DVDs in alphabetical order.  The family has three kids and a 90-pound Labrador, and yet this house would pass inspection from even the strictest drill sergeant our fine Armed Forces could produce.

It’s like a museum, and I’m immediately uncomfortable because I’m wondering if anyone has ever sat on that white, pristine couch. And since there are no scuff marks or fingerprints on the walls, I start questioning if this is one of those rooms that no one is allowed in unless company is over. Then I wonder why anyone would have a room no one can go in! But mostly I’m afraid I, along with my rambunctious clan, will ruin anything we come in contact with.

Truth be told, I prefer a little mess because it puts me at ease.

I’m not talking about hoarders or people living in their own filth, I just mean I tend to gravitate toward parents with domiciles that — you know — actually look like a family lives there. And it doesn’t mean I automatically dislike or distrust the Mr. and Mrs. Cleans of the world, it’s just…I don’t get it.

The big things I realized when I became a parent included 1) how much STUFF babies come with, and 2) how messy life gets. Even with one kid, the mess factor is incredible. Little kids pull stuff out of cabinets and off tables. They spill drinks you forgot to pick up, and smear food everywhere but their mouths. Even older kids come with problems like leaving their clothes everywhere and littering the floor with an ungodly amount of toys.

So when families have more than one kid, the mess increases exponentially. Throw in a cat or a dog, and fuhgeddaboutit.

Honestly, even a stay-at-home parent would have trouble keeping up with cleanliness on the immaculate scale. That level of squeaky clean can only be maintained by constant vigilance and an unimaginable force of will. It would have to entail either not letting your kids and dogs outside, or wiping them down each and every time they come into the house. It means you’re following them around with a Dustbuster (did I just date myself??) and tailing them to put everything back into place once they’ve blown through like a hurricane. I just can’t see any scenario in which the highest levels of cleanliness can be consistently maintained without sacrificing time to actually parent and enjoy what’s happening.

Which is why I prefer a messy parent.

Messy parents understand spills happen and a few stains are the price of doing business. They don’t follow their kids around with the vacuum, they chase them because they’re playing tag or pretending to be a superhero. They know muddy footprints in the kitchen are just evidence of fun times had out in the yard — at least they hope it’s just mud. And they’re OK with some pet hair on the couch because that’s where they cuddle with the dog after the kids go to bed.

Don’t get me wrong, I have my hang-ups. When Sam flings his food around it gets to me, because I have a weird thing about dirty hands. And I cringe a little when MJ paints with the boys in the kitchen, but then I get over it because I see how much fun they’re having. And I can only speak for myself, but the fun is fleeting so we’re going to enjoy it. Even if that means putting off some chores and letting the mess win for a while, it’s worth it.

I’m a proud messy parent, because I believe a home is meant to be lived in and enjoyed. After all, life is messy. And messy can be a whole lot of fun.

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Celebrate the First Day of School, Don’t Mourn It

school_angstLast September, I stood in my driveway on a cool autumn morning and watched my then 5-year-old beam with pride. After briefly struggling under the weight of his oversized backpack and kissing everyone goodbye, he was literally buzzing with excitement as the big yellow school bus pulled up. He bolted up the steps, found a friend to sit with, the doors closed, and off he went to kindergarten. The kid never even looked back to wave.

Which is to say it was a complete success, because that’s exactly how my wife and I wanted it.

There was no sobbing in the corner. No hand-wringing. No cursing of time and how it robs us of our little babies. No one jumped in the car to follow the bus like some crazed helicopter parent stalker just in case our little cherub had a tough time. Mainly because, in the weeks leading up to the big moment, we treated the first day of school as an exciting and joyously momentous occasion — something to celebrate instead of mourn and fear. And I firmly believe because we took that approach, so did he.

That stands in stark contrast to the script playing out for many other parents, and parent bloggers, who seem to dread the start of school. Some even seem to be making it about themselves instead of their kids.

Look, I get being astounded at how fast the time passes. And, as some pointed out, I also understand getting a little melancholy, or being so proud on the first day of school that you shed some tears out of happiness. While I completely get that we’re all different and so are our emotional responses,  I think emanating a feeling of dread leading up to the first day of school — and then either crying or hovering in front of your kid on the day of — is a potentially terrible thing.

Our kids look to us for direction, so if we’re showing signs we’re upset about a huge transition, it stands to reason they’ll start getting upset and anxious as well. That’s why there was no crying on Will’s first day, and we didn’t go to the school with him to witness his transition into the classroom. MJ and I talked, and we thought getting sad in front of him and showing up at the school sends the message that something is wrong, there’s a reason to be sad, and he can’t do it on his own.

But he can do it. And he did.

Also, I know I’ve delved into this topic before, but I just don’t get the constant wailing about wishing we could turn back the clock. Parents of incoming kindergarten students, you have no idea what kind of amazing things you’re in for this year. If they can’t read already, suddenly they’re reading EVERYTHING. And if they can already read, their skills are sharpened exponentially and taken to the next level. Will grew so much in kindergarten both inside and outside of the classroom, and it was amazing witnessing his progress in real time.

Time flies and lamenting its passage is understandable to a degree. But as a parent, I just won’t let that sadness ooze out in front of him — especially not on the first day of school. I won’t turn something that’s supposed to be exciting into anything resembling a negative. Because as a Facebook acquaintance who works as a kindergarten teacher wrote:

First day of school this year a mom started to cry…what does the boy, who was absolutely fine up to that point, do?? He starts crying – no wonder. If the mom cries the child gets the feeling something must be wrong or even bad about this place, so he starts crying too. The mom stayed all morning (Grrrrrr!!) and sobbed all morning long. Please, by all means go cry if it helps you, but do it AFTER you said goodbye and your child can’t see you anymore!”

See? It’s bad for the kid, the parents, and even the teachers. That’s why when Will has his first day of first grade tomorrow, it’ll be with a smile on all of our faces. A happy day with no tears. A day we’ve been looking forward to, and the start of a new chapter.

I’m saving the tears for three days from now when I’ll be having trouble helping Will with his first grade math homework.

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The 11 Most Annoying Types of Facebook Parents

fbparentsYou know them. You’ve seen them. You might even be one. Well, not you of course. You’re cool. I’m totally talking about that annoying friend you have. Yeah…that’s the ticket.

So even though I am a parent and I love parents, the fact of the matter is we can be an infuriating bunch. The know-it-all mentality, the one-upsmanship, the showboating — it can all be a little much at times. Unfortunately, social media — and Facebook especially — serves as a virtual bullhorn that broadcasts that obnoxiousness across the Internet and beams all the bullshit directly to your laptop, tablet, or phone.

Well, it’s time to call these perpetrators out by shining the spotlight of truth on them.

I have used every bit of scientific methodology and cutting-edge research available to mankind (or simply looked in the mirror while also observing many of you) to put this list together. So read this list of annoying kinds of Facebook parents to find your friends, see a little bit of yourself, and tell me which ones I’ve missed.

Continue reading The 11 Most Annoying Types of Facebook Parents

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I Don’t Love My Kids More Than My Wife

morelessI love my wife. I love my kids. But which one do I love more?

Strangely enough, that’s a question people are actually tackling because of a recent study that found 75% of mothers openly admit they love their kids more than their spouses. But if you ask me, I think the entire conversation is a load of crap.

I do not love my kids more than my wife. I don’t love my wife more than my kids either. I love them each in very different ways, but I love them all completely and equally. And I think even attempting to quantify or rank that love is pointless, hurtful, and potentially harmful.

My family is my world. My wife is the most beautiful, caring, sexy, sensational person on the planet and I’m madly in love with her. My kids are a source of unimaginable joy and my life is enriched in countless ways with them in it. But they are a package deal, and asking me to choose which one I love more borders on the ridiculous.

Which begs the question, what are these moms in the survey thinking?

Click here to read the rest on iVillage!

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