Parental Advisory

If you can’t feed your baby,
Then don’t have a baby.
— Michael Jackson

A month ago was Mother’s Day and this upcoming Sunday is Father’s Day and it makes me reflect back on my yout’. I had it pretty good. We weren’t without our struggles as a nuclear family, but I have good parents that respect me and allowed me to become the quasi-adult I am today. My dad is an insurance broker, that is to say, he’s basically a dealer at the world’s shittiest casino, and my mom, prior to her recent retiring, worked in the Operating Room at our local hospital – so, I guess, she was a dealer at the world’s second shittiest casino (yes, I put dealing with insurance claims above life and death when it comes to house odds).  I have a brother with Cerebral Palsy that commanded much of their time in my earliest days, but they handled it magnificently and with great poise and I am a better person for having watched and absorbed that compassion. Well, mostly.

Because I don’t have that much compassion for your children. Because they are the worst. I get it, “not MY child!” you yell at your phone as you read this, “MY child is the greatest thing since sliced bread!” Well, marketed pre-sliced bread wasn’t invented until 1928, so there’s not a whole lot of history for that kid to live up to. Besides, I’m a writer, I totally understand. Each one of my projects is like a child that I raise and care for and love. But much like you’re monkey faced baby or infant with the forehead reminiscent of the statues at Easter Island, I have a hard time acknowledging when my stories are ugly. Or bad. Or are having a temper tantrum in the grocery store. At least I have the luxury of starting over. You’re stuck with that thing. For at least eighteen years. Condolences.

I’ve done some teaching, I’m the youngest in my family, I’ve been around kids. “You’re great with kids!” I hear them say to me in every other nightmare, “you’d be a great teacher; you’d be a great parent!” I think of being with kids like math or driving – just because I’m good at it doesn’t mean I want to do it all the time. What excites me is being able to shape my friends and relatives kids in positive ways and in small doses.  Because the opposite of that is what scares me.

Raising children in this day in age is terrifying. Not because of the internet and technology, or disease and terrorism, no, I’m scared because of other parents. Most of you aren’t good at it. At all. The number of times I saw families at fast food restaurants get up and leave all their garbage at the table was appalling. You’re teaching you’re kids that that’s ok. “But the garbage cans are for courtesy sake, it’s your JOB to clean up after us.” First of all, go straight to hell. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200. Second, “courtesy” is something I would hope to be instilling in my child. Maybe it’s the Canada in me, but I feel like there’s a lot of rude in the world and there could be a few more please and thank you and you’re welcome. Not to mention feeding your kids fast food – it’s lazy and lazy parents scare me.

“But we work, we don’t have TIME to cook every day.” Then you don’t have TIME to be a parent. There are way too many people, most of which are children, that don’t have anything to eat and you are opting to fill your little meatsack with that garbage? If you don’t have the time or money to properly feed your child, you don’t have time or money to be a parent. Live your life. See places that are nothing like your own. Go experience things. Don’t think you need to settle down and have babies and come home every day at 5 and drink Bud Lights and watch the game and ignore your sons math problems and forget about your daughters dance recital or forget that you have a third kid somewhere I hope he didn’t get into the laundry soap again and go to bed and wake up and go to work and do it all over again. There are too many people for that to be a common reality.

Wow. This has gotten much more aggressive than when I set out. You’re not all bad. I’m painting with broad stokes, I know. There are some friends and family I watch with such admiration for the way they properly are shaping the lives they created. There is a little bit of hope in the next generation, even if the majority of them terrify me.

Anyway, I’m going to go fishing with some of those great parents and think about what just erupted out me here.

Happy belated Mother’s Day and upcoming Father’s Day everyone!

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