Dear New Parents,
How's it going?
Feeling a bit tired? Maybe a little less spry these days what with the 2AM feedings or trying to keep up with a toddler whose main occupation is trying to find new ways to turn your hair gray -- licking outlets, hurtling themselves down stairs, not eating antioxidant rich foods?
Maybe you're feeling a bit overwhelmed. Out of your league. Like you'll never get the hang of this parenting thing and the guilt is starting to seep in with more and more "Oh, what have I done?" moments.
How can this be? You aced Calculus, run your own successful business, maybe you even know how to drive a stick.
And yet you can't quite get over the feeling that if there were a parenting pop quiz tomorrow during Gymboree class, the best you'd get might be a C+. B- if you had a venti cafe mocha and a Red Bull.
All other parents seem like they have it under control. Know what they are doing. Are even -- dare you say it -- better at this parenting thing than you are.
I'm going to save you some wondering:
Other parents are better.
They are better than you in all ways.
They are better at disciplining their kids, motivating their kids, and keeping their kids out of harm's way.
Their children will have more friends in school, lead more fulfilling lives, and never need therapy.
Their kids will rule. And it will all be because other parents were much better parents than you can ever hope to be.
It's a truth I learned too late to save my own kids. It took me 13 years -- on the Internet reading parenting message boards, reading parenting books and magazine articles, then reading parenting blogs, and finally downloading the "Why Other Parents Are Better Than You" app -- to understand completely all the ways I would never measure up.
It's been disheartening.
But more upsetting was the sheer length of the process of fully coming to terms with the fact that, well, I kinda suck.
I mean, compared to other parents.
Most recently, The French.
So, to spare you my time and effort in learning all the ways I could change (but probably won't) in order to be more awesome (but probably can't), here is the definitive list of all the parents who are better than I am.
In no particular order.
- Strict Parents
- Laid Back Parents
- Urban Parents who give their kids access to lots of Culture and Street Smarts
- Suburban Parents who have Backyards, Good Schools, and Soccer Coaches From Brazil
- Country Parents whose kids Learn Responsibility by Running Large Farm Equipment and Who Know Exactly What To Call The Chicken Hole That Eggs Come From
- Parents who vaccinate
- Parents who don't vaccinate
- Parents who keep a clean house and who carry hand sanitizer in order to keep their kids healthy
- Parents who allow their kids as much contact with germs as possible in order to build up their immune system and keep their kids healthy
- Breastfeeding Parents
- Bottlefeeding Parents
- Religious Parents
- Atheist Parents
- Parents who don't know whether or not God can help them be better parents
- Conservative Parents
- Liberal Parents
- Anarchist Parents
- Noam Chomsky
- Free Range Parents
- Kiddie Leash Parents
- Natural Parents
- Hi-Tech Parents
- Unplugged Parents
- Parents who don't allow cell phones at the age you gave your kid a cell phone
- Authoritarian Parents
- Authoritative Parents
- Positive Parents
- Permissive Parents
- Persuasive Parents
- Mary Poppins Parents
- Dr. Sears
- Dr. Brazelton
- Dr. Laura
- James Dobson
- "I Love Ezzo" Parents
- "I Hate Ezzo" Parents
- Younger Parents
- Older Parents
- Parents of only children
- Parents of two children
- Parents of many children
- The Cosbys
- The Brady Bunch
- The Waltons
- The Duggars
- Kramer (The Dad, not Kramer The Mother)
- Parents who pick up crying kids
- Parents who don't pick up crying kids
- Parents who co-sleep
- Parents who don't co-sleep
- Parents who spank
- Parents who don't spank
- Parents who care enough about their kids to send them to public school
- Parents who care enough about their kids to send them to private school
- Parents who care enough about their kids to send them to homeschool
- Parents who birthed their kids vaginally
- Parents who birthed their kids vaginally at home with help
- Parents who birthed their kids vaginally at home with no help
- Parents who birthed their kids vaginally with no help in a rain forest on the summer solstice
- Parents who didn't birth kids vaginally just because they like fancy groin scars
- Parents who didn't birth kids vaginally because they are men
- Parents-to-be who will never make any of the parenting mistakes you made
- Madonna and Angelina Jolie
- Straight Parents
- Gay Parents
- Married Parents
- Single Parents
- Sister-wife Parents
- Parents with a high school diploma
- Parents with a college degree
- Parents with a graduate degree
- Parents with no fancy book learning
- Parents who read parenting books
- Tiger Moms
- Russian Moms
- Scandinavian Moms
- Southern Moms
- Your Mother-In-Law
- Mother Teresa
- Martha Stewart
- Crafty Moms
- Parents who blog about their kids
- Parents who don't blog about their kids
- Parents who update all their kids' baby books
- Parents too busy parenting to update all their kids' baby books
- Uber Moms
- Type A Moms
- Good Enough Moms
- Slacker Moms
- Parents who take time for themselves
- Parents who get down on the floor and play with their kids
- Parents who get down on the floor and teach their kids
- Parents who teach their kids to put in flooring
- Parents who stay at home
- Parents who work at home
- Parents who work outside the home
- Parents who are at home outside
- Parents who let their kids drink from the garden hose outside
- Parents who let their kids eat Chicken McNuggets from the garden hose
- Parents who let their free range chickens hose down the home as one of their chores
- Parents who pay their free range chickens an allowance to hose down the home as one of their chores
- Parents of chickens
- Parents of Chuck Norris
- My Mom
I may have missed a few.
I'm kinda subpar at blogging definitive parenting lists.
But surely, that's enough to convince you that you'll never measure up, either.
So, you know ... carry on.
Chances are that unless you are just really a complete jerk across several categories on a Venn diagram of types of jerks, your messed-up type of parenting is mediocre enough for your messed-up type of kid.
Even messed-up, you know more than you think you do. Maybe.
Still, you'll never be as good as Dr. Spock.
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