On Twitter, it is possible to create lists into which you can group and categorize the people you follow. As I’ve grown my presence there, I’ve seen myself added to more and more lists (you get notified when it happens).
Yesterday, I was added to one that was simply called “parents.”
And it made me a little sad.
Everybody has that one friend for whom they’re constantly making excuses.
“He’s not normally like this” or “He’s cool once you get to know him” or “He’s got a weird sense of humor.”
After a while, though, it starts to become apparent that despite your friendship, that’s an awful lot of caveats. Maybe it’s time for the guy to start taking some of the blame for his own behavior.
Lately, that’s how I feel about my son.
Despite the fact that I could quote Cape Fear ALL DAY LONG and just pretend I’m having a conversation with my toddler —
“I can out-learn you. I can out-read you. I can out-think you. I can out-philosophize you. And I’m gonna outlast you! ”
— that’s not what the title of this post refers to.
This post is about Other Parents and the way they use their experiences to scare you.
Kids are strange.
Even my own son, whom everyone thinks is my spitting image and who you’d assume shares some of my personality traits and interests, is alien to me in many ways.
Every day he does things that make no sense to me. Which should be good preparation for his teen years, when he’ll be into stuff I have no understanding of and he’ll hate stuff I love just because I love it. But his thought process is not yet that sophisticated and, therefore, might even be more honest.
Some of the stuff he hates he hates because he’s young and doesn’t know any better. Some of it is because he’s two and two-year-olds like to be jerks. And some of the stuff he likes he likes because he’s young and doesn’t know any better, some of it is because he has a little bit of Mom and Buried in him too, and some of it is because he’s as unique as a snowflake.
A snowflake I thought I knew.
Yesterday, I wrote about the idiotic gulf that exists between people who have kids and people who don’t. There’s no reason we parents can’t get along with the childless; if I didn’t have childless friends, I’d never be able to escape my own kid!
But a year ago, I discussed the one thing in particular that some childless people do that is quite annoying for parents, and that’s when they offer suggestions on how to raise your kids. So for this week’s Zombie Post entry, I’ve resurrected that post (see link below).
It takes two to tango. If I didn’t have a son, I wouldn’t be on the receiving end of such unwanted advice. And if I had good taste in friends, I would have ditched the kind of person who offers unsolicited advice on topics they know nothing about long before I even had a kid. It’s not the not-having-kids that makes someone obnoxious, or the having-of-kids that makes someone bearable; to paraphrase Jay-Z: they were who they were before they got here.
And as much as I love my childless friends, and respect and even sometimes envy the child-free’s choice to not have kids, taking their parenting advice is where I draw the line. Not totally sure why someone who decided against having children would even want to get involved in raising any, but hey, to paraphrase Walt Whitman: we contain multitudes.
Original Post: Immaculate Suggestions: Taking Parenting Advice from the Childless
Having kids is not for everyone. After reading my blog, some people might even say it’s not for me. (Some people even have, god bless ’em!)
There are moments when I wonder if it’s right for me, usually when my son is screaming about something and we’re out of beer. But those moments are fleeting.
I’ve always known I wanted to have kids, though I suppose it can be tough to know whether that was a true desire or the kind of checkpoint-based “maturity” and conformity Tyler Durden was so angry about (it’s just what you do). Fortunately, I knew I’d made the right choice when my son was born and I didn’t have even the slightest urge to split, and that choice is validated every day.
But it is a choice. And there’s nothing wrong with going the other way.