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.
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.”
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.
How do your kids get to you?