They Work Against You In Ways You Never Expected

Unless they were saints, your parents at some point said to you, “Just wait until you have your own children!”

You probably thought (not said, because you knew better than that) Well, when I DO have my own children, I’m going to be cooler than you! I’ll let my kid stay out til dawn/listen to heavy metal/smoke pot/eat ice cream for breakfast/not do their homework/(fill in the blank with the opposite of whatever patently uncool thing they wanted you to do).

Here’s the thing that your parents knew that you can’t possibly understand until you are raising children yourself:

Kids work against you in ways you never expected.

True, on occasion, your kid acts exactly like you did, and you suddenly understand how freaking annoying you were to your parents and marvel that they didn’t kill you.

Then they act the opposite of you. Remember the Keatons from Family Ties? The hippies who birthed a Republican? Yeah, like that.

You envisioned  being the kind of parent who would not censor the music your children wanted to listen to, and promised to not overly scrutinize it for profanity, unsavory characters, the expression of strong emotions, screaming, or screaming guitars. Your children like Justin Beiber and anime theme songs.

You decided at age eleven that you would never pull a book out of your child’s hands because it was deemed “too old” for them. Your kids would rather clean their rooms than read a book.

You promised yourself you would not give any girls you had a hard time about wearing skirts with a hemline above the knee.  Your girls almost never wear anything other than sweatpants and consider jeans to be “dressed up”.

Even when parents differ on certain issues, kids have an innate sense of how to execute a maneuver that will get to both of them.

Early on after the kids came to live with us, #1 asked me if I would go with her to get her first tattoo when she turned 18. I said yes. Her father rolled his eyes, hoping we would both grow out of it.

But when the time came, she no longer wanted my input.

She came home one day with the words “I now walk into the wild” tattooed on her ribs, in gangsta script.

Her father was apoplectic.

CC: A Christopher McCandless quote? Are you serious? You got the words of a loser tattooed on your body forever? What is wrong with you?

#1: He’s not a loser, he’s awesome!

CC: He went into the wilderness completely unprepared and died. That’s the very definition of losing.

#1: Nuh-uh!

Me: Where did you get it done?

#1: That place at Willowbrook next to Hollister.

Me: You got a tattoo done at the mall?!?! What is wrong with you?

CC: Wait, let me see it again. Did you read this? It says “I no walk into the wlid.”

#1: Daddy!

CC: Hmm, maybe if he had put it like that, he would have lived.

Me: Please tell me they didn’t actually tattoo the quotation marks.

Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 2.39.51 PMAt least none of the kids want to be clowns.


How do your kids get to you?


6 thoughts on “They Work Against You In Ways You Never Expected

  1. How does my kid get to me? He’s perfect…NOT!
    I could definitely relate to the music issue. Promised myself I’d never give my kid a hard time about music…until he started listening to stuff with lyrics I find so offensive, I cringe every time I hear them…and promptly tell him to change the music immediately! So much for being the cool parent.

  2. I’ve been a step parent for five years and I STILL call my parents after the kids go home on Sunday. This usually involves an apology and thanking them for letting me live to see adulthood. There is always unbridled laughter in the background. Always.

  3. I was a picky eater as a child, so I vowed that I would be understanding if my children were the same. Last weekend, when my soon-to-be step-kiddies didn’t care for the food I had cooked, I actually found myself utter the phrase, “there are starving children in Africa!” Never. thought. I’d. see. the. day.

  4. At least my eleven-year-old pretends not to be a Belieber in my presence. And I kinda dig the way two of mine try to layer six to eight shirts over one another in various garish patterns and colors… I guess the reading thing kinda gets to me – I thought they would be born with Philip K Dick novels in their slimy little hands. But the biggest one is really the tablets and assorted other technology things. I cannot STAND watching their little brains melt in front of various screens. It is helpful, however when I can’t figure out how to submit my homework online, etc.

Comment. It gives me a reason not to clean my house.

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