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.
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.
Sometimes I worry that I love my son too much.
I was thinking about that this Christmas, when I saw the haul of toys he received from his parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, and watched as he was indoctrinated into the Culture of More. It definitely made for a fun holiday – the joy of little kids can be contagious – but it also made me nervous.
There’s a reason we call it “spoiling.” Overindulgence breeds assholes.