It’s easy to be arrogant about parenting before you become a parent. Here are some insane beliefs I had about parenting before I tried it.
1. I’LL NEVER WEAR A BABY BACKPACK
I was so sure I would never wear one of those ridiculous baby holders that go on your chest, I bet another dad $100 that those straps would never touch my shoulders. “A baby only weighs 15 pounds,” I’d say to the beta males strapped to the BabyBjorns. “You can’t carry 15 pounds?”
No, you can’t. Not when the 15 pounds has a wobbly head with no neck muscles and you need both arms to keep him from flopping over. Not when this 15 pounds wants you to hold him all day. After trying the Bjorn, I felt like a war vet who magically got his arms back, and I happily paid that guy the $100 I owed him.
2. THEY’RE TAKING PIANO LESSONS AND IF THEY DON’T LIKE IT, TOO BAD
We tried piano lessons. They were really expensive and the kids hated them and sucked at them. The same thing happened with ballet and gymnastics. Trying to force them to do things they don’t like is as implausible as that gay Mormon dude who married a woman because he said his sexual preference is like smoking and you’re able to quit.
3. I WILL MAKE THEM FINISH EVERY MEAL
You think you can make a kid eat something he doesn’t want to eat? Go feed a cheeseburger to a salamander. He doesn’t even want to crawl on it. It’s too dry. The first time I forced my kid to eat something, she barfed and I haven’t done it since. If making your kids throw up is good parenting, I’m a bad parent.
4. I’M GOING TO BE VERY ATTENTIVE
I was very attentive at first. Time-outs were doled out after every fight and if they didn’t say sorry to each other, they went back in the corner. But after 347 fights you start to think, “You know what? You’re on your own.” Sometimes you might even catch yourself thinking, “Go ahead and beat the shit out of each other for all I care. You might learn something.”
5. WE’RE GOING TO HOME-SCHOOL THEM
Kids in public school spend something like 30 minutes a day actually learning. At private school it’s probably three times that. I have an hour and a half of spare time a day to spend talking about history, so why not pull the kids out of school? Well, for one, they’re already in my house way more often than I can handle. By contrast, sometimes I feel like going to work where I deal with getting sued, licking clients’ asses, and where firing people is some kind of party. What kind of maniac thinks 100% of their waking moments are about the right amount of time to spend with your kids? When I told a home-schooling parent that my kids go to public school, she said, “The only thing they’ll learn there is how to fight.”
6. WE WON’T LET THEM WATCH TV
Pushing the “on” button on the TV is like pushing the “off” button on your kids. They just sit there like zombies. If you worked in a zoo and the howler monkeys had a magic button that shut them off, how could you resist pushing it? You love the monkeys and you think they’re cute, but when they’re really going bananas and you have to make an important phone call, that button becomes as irresistible as the “Get me a drink” button they have on airplanes.
7. NO LOGOS ON THE TABLE
Eating dinner with the family is a very important ritual that should not be sullied by corny logos on milk cartons and juice containers. So all beverages will be served from jugs and the butter will be unwrapped and placed in a small glass dish. The problem is that getting children to sit at a table and eat anything takes up more than all of your energy, so defining the design aesthetic for what’s actually on the table is about as high on your priority list as what underwear you’re going to wear.
8. I’M STILL GOING TO PARTY
After my first child was born, I continued to have parties at the house. My wife and I would wake up at 6AM the next day wondering what the hell we were thinking and then forget about it six months later and throw another party. One night during a break-dancing competition, a beer smashed on the kitchen floor. I thought I cleaned up all the shards, but my crawling infant daughter found one with her hand the next day. Since then, the only parties we have here involve piñatas and cake and “Happy Birthday” sung by very short people who don’t know the words.
9. I’M STILL GOING TO SMOKE POT
We stopped having people over, but what’s the matter with a small joint after the kids go to bed? It might make all these terrible TV shows kind of interesting. This seems like a fairly safe idea until you try it. You’re on call 24 hours a day when you have kids, and that means it’s fairly negligent to get yourself into a state of mind where you were worried about satellites but then you forgot and now you keep saying, “Wait, what was I talking about?”
10. NO PRINCESS OR SUPERHERO SHIT
I’m Canadian and I grew up with old French cartoons such as Barbapapa, so my kids should do the same. They don’t need all the corporate crap and merchandising that Disney shoves down their throats. Then I took the kids to see Toy Story and my son’s head blew off. Soon after, I got him Woody and the guy who was on that giant screen was now his best friend. To deny him this fun would make me feel like the guy who made Beethoven deaf.
Same goes for my daughter. I avoided all the princess stuff until she went to her friend Cassidy’s house and saw a huge trunk full of princess dresses. She convinced me to buy her a pile of princess costumes of her own, and I haven’t seen her since. I think she’s in her room.