The shoulds of parenting.
It’s Tuesday and you should know that this week we are discussing a dirty word. Is it the dreaded ‘F’ word that will get you fined on the radio? Nope. Is it the ‘C’ word that makes women cringe and grab the closest bat? Nope. It is the ‘S’ word and we ain’t talking shit. That’s right! We are talking the dreaded ‘should’ and as parents we are so full of them it may as well be the other ‘S’ word.
Lee says: I would like to take a moment in the beginning to ask the Mom’s in the audience a question. How many things did you give up when you were pregnant? You know, things like sushi, tuna, alcohol, traveling after a certain point, certain physical activity, risky things like road rage. For 9 months we literally went without some of our favorite things so that our babies would get the best chance possible. Sure, this wouldn’t guarantee perfection but it would limit toxic or traumatic causes to ruin the baby. As Mommies, we were more than happy to put our babies first.
But, what would have happened if one day you broke down a little and took a bite of your husbands tuna sandwich or popped a California roll in your mouth because you just wanted one bite? That’s right! The wagging fingers and morality and Musterbating Police would have started waging a war of guilt on you the likes that have never been seen. What I’m saying is that as parents, these self-appointed, self righteous assholes do not stop at pregnancy. They keep judging and Shoulding us every chance they get. It doesn’t get easier.
Self-Righteous Asshole: Is Bobby taking any other classes other than Kindergarten? (Eyebrow raised in disapproval)
Me: Sure, he’s taking AP Physics and Calculus. We are a little bummed he didn’t make varsity dodge ball but there’s always next year.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have a minimum level of care for a child but please remember, the only thing your Mom didn’t do when she was pregnant with you was shoot up dope and I’m not too sure about that. You had no car-seat, helmet or pads and you made it. She fed you processed foods, white flour and sugar in the morning, afternoon and evening and you survived. You didn’t learn another language until high school and the only thing you can say is ‘Where is the bathroom’ in Spanish and you aren’t lacking. I’m saying let’s stop shoulding parents and let’s start supporting each other.
I, for one, will stop shoulding you if you stop shoulding me. Well? Have to go make dinner. It’s hot dog and Cheetos night at the CoupleDumb home. I think I’ll give them cubes of sugar for dessert.
Paul says: The 1950’s demands of fatherhood have changed significantly but the shoulds have not. A dad should be involved with their children but not too involved. A dad should work hard and still be at every game, recital and spelling bee. A dad should be an equal parent but always a little less than mom. After all, we didn’t push the kid out of our peepee hole so how can we have a bond like a mother does? I’m trying to be sardonic here but I do think that if we got a handful of moms and dads together, there would be an antiquated underlying belief that mom should be ever present and dad should be responsible but distant.
The shoulds for a dad, just like for a mom, do nothing but create inadequacy and fear. After Ricky was born, I was working in downtown Miami, about an hour away with good traffic. It was a corporate non-profit position and I was the chief financial officer. For me, this was an awful time. No matter where I was, I should be somewhere else. When I was at home, I felt that I should be at work. When I was at work, I felt that I should be at home. Since I could not shake off the shoulds, and the cloning machine was broken, Lee and I did what we needed to and pimped me out to the church job that was much closer to home and the topic of a week’s worth of other posts.