I do not have children, but I’m starting to think that I might want to have some in the near future. This seemingly simple realization has caused some surprising changes to the way that I think about parents.
Whenever I’m around my friends and their kids, I hear, “Oh, you’ll understand when you have kids,” a lot. Before, when I would see one of them handing her iPhone to her temper-tantrum throwing toddler I’d think, “Good! Shut that damn kid up so I can finish telling you about running into that girl we went to high school with!” But now I find myself thinking, “When I have kids, they’re not going to stare at a screen all day.” Before, when I would hear a friend telling his little girl she looks pretty, I would think, “I wonder if they make tutu dresses like that in my size.” Now, I smugly think, “If I have a daughter, I’m only going to tell her she’s smart.” I am either growing up, or turning into a smug asshole.
My new frame of mind fits in with this Flo & Frank video. All parents make promises to themselves about how they’re going to raise their children—and all parents end up breaking a lot of those promises. And that’s okay! Hopefully realizing that now will help me to put less pressure on myself when I eventually have kids.
We said we’d never:
Get our kids addicted to the pacifier…Or use a child leash.
Freak out about them failing… But it’s just so easy to point out that math homework mistake…
Let them use our iPhones or iPads…especially in a fancy restaurant.
Call our daughters “princess” or buy them gifts only from the pink aisle…except sometimes, it really is their favorite color.
Let them sleep in our bed…After a year of sleepless, torturous nights, it’s hard to give a damn.
Buy a minivan…or send those cheesy family-photo holiday cards.
Use the “Santa is watching” line before Thanksgiving…Or utter the phrase, “Wait ’til your father gets home.”
Give in to a tantrum…When you’re in the middle of Whole Foods, the options are limited.
Be inconsistent…(We’re totally consistent in our inconsistencies.)
Or brag about their accomplishments…
Because despite our broken parenting promises, they’re still turning out just great.