Hey, Old Man!

old manOh,  look at you, you magnificent tool.  I don’t even know where to start.  Are you drunk in this picture?  You have to be drunk.  Tell me you’re drunk, ’cause I’m having a hard enough time believing that I’m going to turn out like this.

Oh, and one question – WHERE THE HELL IS OUR HAIR??  What on God’s earth possessed you to do that to our head?  Is that natural or did you just lose your mind??  I’m going to go with natural, because I need to believe that I don’t actually turn into an even bigger tool than I already am.

So, yeah, you wrote about how you would like to go back in time and kick your own ass when you were me. Doesn’t look like it should be much of a problem seeing as how you appear to have packed on about 50 extra pounds.  What happened to working out all the time?  I mean, I know I’m not a gym rat or anything, but at least I get some cardio in every now and then.  Well, not the days I’ve got fraternity stuff going on.  Or usually the days after, because I might be moving a little slow if you get my meaning.  Crap.  You remember all this!  You remember how skinny I am!  What the hell did you do to my body??  Kick my ass.  I oughtta hop in a time machine and kick YOUR ass!

Oh, and don’t wine to me about school.  Apparently I got the diploma, so what are you complaining about?  As long as you’re not working with money, you should be fine.  Don’t forget that’s the one thing we promised ourselves – that we’d NEVER work with money!

(Editor’s note – I work with money).

Okay, so apparently now I’m bald and fat.  Fantastic.  How in the hell did you manage to get married?  What woman had enough love in her heart to actually choose this?  Like I don’t have enough problems getting a date now!  How did you end up with a quality woman.  Seriously, you left that out of the letter.  You’re supposed to tell me so I sidestep all the screwy relationships and don’t mess up when I meet her.  Don’t give me that, “you need to go through it all to learn how to be with her” crap either!  I’m getting real tired of spending all my time either in the friendship zone or on the wrong girl’s hook.  Come on, man!  You couldn’t have sent me her address??

All I know is that you better be treating her like the angel she is EVERYDAY.  All I’ve wanted all my life is to fall for someone who sees something more in me than I do.  Someone who can be my everything.  You damn well better not be screwing that up!  You hold on to her and tell her how much she means to you every chance you get.  Don’t get lazy!  If she was foolish enough to choose you, then you better be proving yourself worth it non-stop!  Don’t be taking her for granted.  You say you remember what that feels like.

The same goes for those kids.  I can’t believe someone actually decided to have kids with us, let alone make them!  Twice!  You’re telling me that we’ve got two boys?  Weird.  For some reason I always thought we’d have a girl.  I’m not suggesting you go make another one or anything.  Two’s good.  Worked for Mom and Dad.  Should work for us.

So two boys.  One of them has something called autism?  I have no idea what that is.  It sounds scary as hell.  With all the problems we’ve had growing up,  I wish I could say I’m surprised.  That’s something I worry about all the time.  That I’m gonna pass on something bad to my kids.  Looks like that turned out to be the case.  How do you live with that, knowing that he probably has it because of you?  I don’t think I’ll do anything different, though, based on knowing.  I mean, according to you I’m going to love him like I’ve never loved anything before.  Why would I give up the chance for that?  Mom and Dad helped me along through all the therapies and stuff I had to take as a kid.  If I really do love him that much, I’ll do the same for him in a heartbeat.

Dude, you are living my dream.  All I ever wanted was that family.  It’s not like I’m career-oriented or anything.  I can’t believe everything actually works out.  You got friends who’ve been with you since you were me, a beautiful wife, two kids.  When did we ever want anything else?  You should be dancing on the ceiling if you’re not already!  Like I said before, you better appreciate every bit of it!  I don’t know how you managed to get all this, but you damn sure better not take it for granted!

You obviously took our hair for granted, you prick.  Look how that worked out!

 

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Payback or What I Want From My Kids

Parenting can be a thankless job.  Sure we get Mother’s and Father’s Days, and every once in a while they’ll make us some little craft or art project out of the blue, but for the most part parenting is a one-way street.  We raise them, care for them, provide for them, and they go on about their lives never questioning the golden parachute that is provided them during their time with us.

Then they move out and we’re lucky if we get a phone call once a week.

Well, I say enough is enough!!  Considering all the time, money, and sleepless nights I’ve put in so far, and the countless examples of such that are still to come, I’ve determined that I have a completely reasonable set of expectations for how they can pay me back for all this selfless love and giving once they come of age:

My Perfectly Reasonable Demands:

  1. They will embark upon careers that will allow me to realize my life-long dream of an existence of leisure.  Whether it be renowned scientist, professional athlete, or lucky s.o.b. with a winning lottery ticket, I don’t care.  I’m flexible.  I just need them to be rich and supporting me in the manner to which I wish to become accustomed.
  2. Keeping that in mind, I believe I should also have final say on any significant others with whom they may wish to share our riches.  Need to make sure we don’t get any gold-diggers siphoning off Daddy’s portion of the fortune.  Applicants for the spousal position will be judged on age, body type, gender, and how adorable they think their bae’s old man is.
  3. While we’re at it, I want to make sure that I don’t become too intrusive into their lives.  Once I’ve arranged their marriages, they will definitely need their own space.  Therefore I just require a nice, secluded cabin somewhere with a built in-home theatre and a staff of willing help that will clean up after the wife and I to see after our every need.  The butler’s name will be Waldo.  Doesn’t matter if that’s his actual name or not.  He’ll make enough to where he won’t have a problem with me calling him Waldo.
  4. Checking off the necessities list, I will also require transportation.  I expect to wake up to this one fine Christmas morning, birthday, or Father’s Day: th(The day doesn’t matter, just make sure it’s fully detailed, in pristine condition, and that the atomic battery is to power and turbines are to speed).
  5. Finally, in respect of the fact that I have given them some space, they should understand that this is a privilege, not a right.  I expect them to be at my beck and call at all times, day or night, 365 days a year until I leave this blessed Earth.  The monument celebrating the selfless love and unconditional support I’ve always given them should be grandiose, for lack of a better word.

All perfectly reasonable expectations, yes?

Well, maybe not so much.

It always amazes me when I hear stories about how parents basically expect their children to live their entire lives as if it was some form of do-over for said parents themselves.  We all have regrets in life.  It’s not on our kids to make up for them, and it’s not on them to make true the dreams that we had every opportunity to fulfill ourselves.

Parenting is indeed a one-way street in the sense that it’s on us to provide them what they need to live their own dreams.  Don’t get me wrong – I expect a certain level of respect for what their mother and I have done and will do for them as time goes on.  However, it’s not fair to expect them to bend over backwards just to make me happy.  That’s my job, not theirs.  That said, while I’ll do my best to provide them the opportunities to do so, the reverse holds true as well.  Mommy and Daddy can’t make their dreams come true for them.  That’s on them.

So with that said, here’s what I really want once they come of age:

More Reasonable Expectations:

  1. That they show some respect not just for what we do for them, but for what others (family, friends, teachers, coaches, etc.) do for them as well.
  2. That whatever they decide to do, it’s something that fulfills them.  Money is important to a point (they will have to support themselves) but finding something that makes them happy to get out of bed in the morning and gives them a sense of pride is even more important.
  3. Whoever they bring home, regardless of race, gender, religion, etc., treats them with love and respect and appreciates them for who they are, not what they can do for them.  It would also be nice if the significant others liked hanging out with the family as well.
  4. Maybe a phone call every other week or so just to let us know what’s going on with their lives
  5. That when they have kids of their own, they’ll feel inclined to pass on the same lessons and values we tried to instill in them, and maybe add some new stuff to the mix that we never thought of.

THOSE seems perfectly reasonable.  I don’t think we should have any problem there.

That said, if they DO happen to strike it rich, and they WANT to get me that Batmobile, I won’t say no…….

Help Wanted

th

To this day, I can’t believe I got hired for this job. Twice.

Working Title:                 Child Development Administrative Partner (aka “Dad”)

Position Number:            2

Position Status:                Never-Ending

Work Schedule:               On-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year

Purpose of Postion:

  • To successfully raise a healthy, self affirmed individual of gender tbd, in an effort to insure self-sufficiency and removal of the grown child from the administrator’s residence within a rough timeline of 18 to 25 years

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Duties may vary based on unique needs of the child
    • Basic responsibilities include:
      • Keeping the child in one piece (nightly inspection to insure ten fingers / ten toes / all respective limbs remain in place mandatory)
      • Handling / disposal of toxic material (aka pooty diapers, snot from face after sneezes, etc.)
      • Frequent play interactions, including acting as substitute jungle gym or tea party guest when necessary
      • Sharing of life lessons that weren’t realized by the applicant himself until he became responsible for another human life
      • Frequent apology calls to parents now that it is realized just what kind of hell they were put through when applicant was the child
      • Conflict de-escalation at such time as applicant’s partner becomes ready to post the children on Craig’s List

Qualifications

  • No experience necessary.  All training will come on the job.  Background in culinary arts, conflict resolution, handling of hazardous material, philosophy, child psychology, dramatic acting, routine home maintenance, technical skills, athletics, and fluency in “child-speak” all preferred, but not necessary
  • Applicants should note that simple ability to physically procreate with another to produce a child is not a guarantee of fitness for the position.  Lack of ability to do so is also not a disqualifier.  Applicants will be judged solely on ability and willingness to “dad it up”.

Minimum Education:

  • None

Preferred Education:

  • Viewing of at least one birthing video; reading of one of those “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” books.

Compensation

  • Upon hiring, applicant will become responsible for forfeiting 99.999999% of take-home from secondary position to the needs and wants of the child.  Compensation may take the form of hugs, kisses, shout-out during graduation speech, child becoming totally self-sufficient upon reaching age of maturation.
  • Retirement plan – no guarantee child won’t place applicant “in a very nice retirement community” during twilight years

Pay Grade

  • Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,haaaaaaa!! Seriously, applicant will need at least one other job

Job Open Date

  • Remember that night with the tequila?

Job Close Date

  • N/A

Open Until Filled

  • Yes (Kind of an ironic way to put it, no?)

Interested parties should contact the Hiring Manager (aka “Mom”) to apply in person.  Flowers, wine, and a viewing of “Dirty Dancing” can only help.

 

 

 

Advice I Wish I Had Gotten

Well, hello there!  Feeling a little TIRED, are we?  Maybe a little RUN DOWN?  Surely, it couldn’t have ANYTHING to do with that wondrous little miracle that the hospital made you bring home without the courtesy of providing any care instructions!  After all, taking care of a new, incredibly fragile human being can’t possible be any harder than driving, can it?  I mean, you have to have a license to drive.  They let anyone who can properly install and strap a kid into a car seat take them home from the hospital!

Fear not, though!  Your good friend  Papa Cheeks (who you no doubt regard as a paragon of parenting by now) is here to share with you the five pieces of advice I wish someone had given me! Five pieces you absolutely NEED to start your parenting journey off right!

  • Let people buy you stuff  –  Listen very carefully to me on this; THROW YOUR PRIDE OUT THE WINDOW.  I know that having a child is the ultimate culmination of your journey to adulthood, and you MUST have planned for all of the expenses that were going to come with the child, but believe me when I say, you will be broke.  It doesn’t matter how much you stashed aside in anticipation of this child, you will be broke.  This kid will need EVERYTHING:  doctor’s visits, clothes, toys, diapers, wipes, really awesome lullabies remixed from AC/DC songs, etc.  Hell, you’ll even get a bill (if you haven’t already) just from them being BORN.  Chuck the pride.  If someone wants to buy you a stroller, let them.  Someone wants to buy you a month’s worth of strained peas, let them.  Grandma and Grandpa already saving for their college?  LET THEM.   You will NEVER STOP SPENDING MONEY ON THIS KID.  If someone slips you a fifty as you’re hugging them goodbye, simply smile give them an even bigger hug, and TAKE IT.  They know how broke you are.   Besides, once things slow down, maybe you can return the favor.  Probably not in money, but maybe in something else like:
  • Let people let you sleep – I CANNOT stress this one enough.  Your precious package came with an internal clock that was obviously put through a trash compactor.  You should have picked up on this when it kept you and your partner up all damn night before it was even born.  I know you thought it would get better with birth. WRONG.  It will get far, far worse before it will get better.  You see, children have a biological need to drive their parents to the point of exhaustion.  It could be to test how dedicated you really are.  It could be because it’s the only advantage they have over the giant servants that dwarf them physically.  Whatever the case may be, that child will keep you up and moving ALL THE TIME.  If someone taps you on the shoulder for a break, TAKE IT.  Don’t catch up on laundry.  Don’t pick that book you were reading before the delivery back up.  Do nothing other than slip on a sleep mask, turn on the CD of AC/DC lullabies, and SLEEP.  People will only make this offer for so long.  You will never, ever catch up on the sleep you’re missing.  It’s statistically impossible.  Best you can hope for is to catch a couple of hours where you can.  Trust me on this.  My children haven’t let me sleep in five years.
  • Let go of perfection – I know when you were reading the baby books and daydreaming about the little miracle that was about to join your family that you had this idea that it was going to be like some ABC Family sitcom.  Spotless house, grateful, well-behaved children, wacky next door neighbor.  Sorry to burst your bubble, but other than the questionable neighbor, you ain’t going to be living that dream.  Children are MESSY.  They are UNCOOPERATIVE.  They are SUSPECT.  Don’t kill yourself trying to live up to that dream.  As long as the kid is relatively clean, has all the body parts he came out with, and seems to be developing new and more interesting ways to test you, you are doing your job.  CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK.    Stepford parents are the bane of existence, and there is a special place in hell for them.  You’re better off with a messy house and a happy kid than the reverse.  At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.
  • Don’t give up you – You had a life before the child.  While you may not have much of one afterwards, you still need to have a life.  Why?  Because a happier you means a happier kid.  It may seem a bit self-centered, but if this is what I have to tell you to convince you, so be it.  Your kid isn’t always going to be this small and needy.  Eventually they’ll start wondering what’s going on with the world.  This is when you get to the fun part of parenting – sharing with them.  Showing them that you’re more than just a footman or maid, that you are, dare I say it, a real human being that has something to actually offer to the world, not just them.  So keep up the hobbies, take time for date nights, and never forget that YOU also need to be taken care of occasionally.  I suggest catching an AC/DC concert.  I really like AC/DC.  And last but not least:
  •  Be ready and able to ignore unsolicited advice –   Seems a bit counterintuitive, doesn’t it?  I mean, here I am laying down all this mad wisdom on you, just to say you should ignore it.  What the hell am I thinking?  I’m thinking that everyone’s experience is different and just because this is all the advice I wish I had gotten, doesn’t mean that this is what you need.  Parents, as a rule, like to give out advice.  To everyone – their kids, the mailman, and most especially, OTHER PARENTS.  Know why?  It makes us feel like we’re up on our game, like we actually know what we’re doing.  It’s why we say things like, “oh just wait until the baby’s 15”, or “just wait until you have another one”, or “just wait until you find them building a makeshift cat trap”.  As hard as you think you’ve got it, we’ve got it worse.  So there.

Perfect-parents

In truth, though, the advice thing could go on forever.  I can tell you all about what happens with a three-year old, but someone else can school me on dealing with a ten-year old.  It goes on and on.  So really, the most important thing you can do is smile, take the advice in the spirit in which its intended (other parents really do think they’re being helpful), and then completely ignore it.  Why?  Because no one on this planet will ever know or love your child the way you do.  Love is an interesting thing.  It makes you do all kinds of crazy stuff, like figure out how to deal with what is essentially a hairless kitten for the first couple months of its life.  You’ll figure it out the same way all parents did.  Trial and error, emphasis on the error.  Lord knows that’s how I’ve been getting by.

You’re going to screw up.  A lot.  Just take comfort in the fact that this means you are trying and that you are learning.   As long as the kid is healthy and happy (or unhappy when the case warrants it – discipline is key), you’re doing your job.

Oh, and the kid should also be listening to AC/DC.

I really like AC/DC.

The Grammanati

I’ve noticed something a bit curious about the interactions between my mother and children.

Every time Granny Awesome keeps the boys overnight, we always have a quick de-briefing to see when and if she’ll ever watch them again. The response I get is always the same: “Oh, they were sweet little angels. They slept all night, didn’t give me any problems with eating. They were just so happy and content”.

I find this puzzling as I cannot believe these are the same children I dropped off. They almost certainly turn out not to be the ones I picked back up. There are only two explanations:

1) They’ve somehow been replaced by sophisticated replicants programmed to obey my mother’s every word. This is, of course, completely preposterous, which leads to the only possible truth:

2) They’ve been brainwashed. They’ve become sleeper agents for an insidious conspiracy that is referred to in hushed tones only as “The Gramminati”.

Think about when you first brought your children home from the hospital. Who was the first person to volunteer to come over and keep the kids “so you can get some rest?” Granny. And while you were sleeping, that’s when the conditioning began. Their techniques are shrouded in mystery, and completely effective in making the child a willing thrall of the grandmother (not the grandfather. While he does benefit from the practice, he’s just the muscle. Grandma’s the brains of the operation).

It all becomes so clear when you think about it. Why are they always begging to have the kids come stay with them? Why do they always show up with gifts, hugs, kisses, sugar, and caffeine? To maintain the linkages on the brainwashing. Watch “The Manchurian Candidate”. It’s all there. Know what those loud noise making presents and cards full of cash are? Discreet arming and funding of home-grown terrorists.

To what end you ask? Revenge for the sheer hell we put them through when we were agents of THEIR parents. Haven’t you ever wondered WHY you will drop absolutely everything just to go mow Grandpa’s yard at a moment’s notice, or do household work for Granny that you would never do for your parents, let alone yourself? It’s an endless, vicious, escalating cycle, and it must be stopped.

happy old couple

But this doesn’t make any sense, you say. If they could manipulate children so easily, force them into compliance, why didn’t they do that with us? Simple. When you’re a first-time parent raising a child from infancy to adulthood for the first time, you don’t know
$h!t. It takes YEARS to refine the techniques that can turn a feral child into an instrument of vengeance. This is how it’s worked for generations, when the first European settlers brought with them the Ancient Babylonian mysticism that makes it all possible. It took years to meld those arcane spells with the practices of the native people to create this infallible system. “THE WAY” is only passed on once you are accepted into the ranks of the conspiracy (typically when you receive your first AARP card – Press “0” on the help line to speak with an operator that will send you a free indoctrination kit).

Now you know. I write this to sound the charge to defend yourselves. Don’t be lulled by Granny’s warm words of support and sympathetic nodding of the head the next time the children decide your walls make excellent canvases on which to express their artistic inclinations, or that the toilet makes an awesome jacuzzi.  Don’t be fooled by their understanding hugs when puberty hits and the children go bat-a$$ crazy, staying out all night doing God knows what. Now you know what they’re doing. Her will.

She is the architect of all your pain.

If anything happens to me, you know where to start looking. God Bless.

 

You can follow on instagram at fatherhood_in_the_trenches, or on twitter@jmwilson3055.  At least, you can for now…..

Lawyered

judge matt-matt

“Here come da judge…here come da judge….”

Everyone goes on and on about “the terrible twos”.  Weary parents the world over have bemoaned how terrible life becomes once the small ones move past the “cute, unable to escape you” phase to the point that it has become a cliché.  This might be surprising to hear from the guy constantly going on about the challenges of parenting, but I didn’t find “two” quite so bad.  Sure Roundbottom could run and hide around the house now, but he was still so wobbly that I could catch him pretty easy.  That, and his hiding skills still left something to desired:

hiding

“Nothing to see here, folks.”

No, it wasn’t too tough.  It was actually kinda nice.  He was not only more interactive, but still huggy and cute, still lovey.  No, it wasn’t too bad at all.

Then he turned three.

He could talk now.  And with the power of speech came something truly terrifying:

A law degree.

EVERYTHING is a negotiation now.  I can’t ask him to sit down without getting into a five-minute argument about how he not only doesn’t want to sit down, but shouldn’t have to because he’s obviously in the middle of something very important that shouldn’t be interrupted.  Like chasing the cats.  If not for the fact that I’m still far larger than him, there would be no way for me to enforce the rules of the house.

Of course, he just sees that as parental brutality, and such injustice WILL NOT STAND.

I used to joke that with the way he hopped around and hooted all the time, he was channeling John Belushi.  Now it appears that another spirit has taken hold of my diminutive barrister:

Johnny Cochrane.

Don’t believe me?  You better start. From what I hear from other beleaguered parents, EVERY three year old now comes with a juris doctorate.  If you haven’t already made it to this stage and found yourself buried under an entirely different mountain of briefs than the diapers you’re used to, you will.  To give you an idea of what we’re facing, let me share with you some of the common defense strategies he employs when caught red-handed in the midst of his shenanigans:

The Jedi Mind Trick:  This is where my son, no lie, actually attempts to use the Jedi Mind Trick on me.  For example, if he requests a cookie, and then is denied said cookie because its 6 in the morning and that is not an appropriate breakfast food, he will fix his gaze on me, concentrate, and say the following:

“But you WANT to give me the cookie!”

Fortunately for me, this particular Dark Lord of the Sith has not refined his powers to the point where he has mastered that little trick just yet.  Or Force Lightning, thank Lucas.

The “Exorcist” Defense:  This isn’t him telling me he doesn’t want to do something I ask him to.  Oh, no.  That would be too pedestrian for the likes of him. No, this is when I call him on something I don’t want him doing (again, like scaring the hell out of the cats I didn’t want in the first place but that a story for another time), and he responds with the following:

“But I don’t want to chase the cat!”

This is the one that makes MY head spin.  Essentially, the child is telling me that he doesn’t want to do something that he’s been thoroughly enjoying prior to being disciplined.  This would imply that some otherworldly entity has taken possession of his form and forced him to carry out its evil desires.  Long story short, the only response to this one would appear to be to call a young priest and an old priest.  I’m letting Momma Angel handle that one.

The Stall:  This one is fairly typical from what I know of other children.  It’s the point of night wherein he asks to put off his much-needed (by me) bedtime to engage in some sort of crucial exercise that MUST be completed in order for him to sleep soundly.  The plea deal starts small.  He asks for one more episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  22 minutes.  Fair enough, that doesn’t seem too much to ask, especially if it’s the weekend.  That’s the trap, though.  Now that he’s gotten what he wants once, it’s time to sweeten the pot:

“One more Mickey Mouse Clubhouse?  The one with Santa?  Watch Three Mouseketeers Movie?”

It’s at this time all previous agreements are rendered null and void, which leads to our final strategy:

The Civil Disobedience of Doom:  Yeah, it’s a temper tantrum.  The likes of which I pray no one else has ever or will ever see:

The child drops to the floor, tear streaked face turned bright red, and essentially becomes completely limp in an effort to impede any attempt of “incarceration”.  Any attempt to reason with him is rendered moot, as the child is caterwauling so loudly that at different points of time, he actually gets so choked up that he goes silent for a brief moment.  At this point, it is only the reassurance that he will receive milk, night-night songs, and his “rainbow” night light that will calm him enough to get him to his cell.  I mean bed.

These are only the beginning.  The boy is nothing if not studious, continually seeking to learn and hone his craft.  He’s recently been dabbling in the “You Make Me So Mad” and “I Don’t Like You” strategies.

IMG_0424

“No one has ever suffered as I have suffered!”

These however, have not gone over well for him, leading to lengthier sentences and less chance of time knocked off for good behavior.  This is due to one very important, teensy-tiny detail that he has overlooked in the orchestration of his practice:

He doesn’t live in a democracy.  He lives in a dictatorship.

I may not have as much control over my house as more mature, responsible parents my age, but there are some aggravations of justice THAT WILL NOT STAND.  He doesn’t seem to realize that his punishments have not been as egregious as he supposes. This is because I realize that for the most part, he is a very sweet little boy with a good heart.  I punish him in the hopes of keeping him that way and teaching him respect.  Not just for me, but for the community we live in and the people who populate it.  He has to learn right from wrong, and unfortunately fate has bestowed upon me the responsibility to mete out these lessons when necessary.  I am judge, jury, and executioner, and my word is FINAL.

Unless Mommy’s there.  She’s the Supreme Court.  He does NOT want his case to go there……

What strategies do your little litigators employ?  Sound off in the comments section!

You can follow Roundbottom’s ongoing proceedings on instagram at fatherhood_in_the_trenches or twitter @jmwilson3055.  Public opinion will be about the only ace he has left to play at this point……

This One’s for the Moms

So you may find it a bit confusing to come across a post about mothers on a blog about fatherhood.  The first thing to keep in mind is that, as we all know, there would obviously be no fathers without mothers to begin with.  The second is that this is my blog and I can do whatever I want.  Nyah.

In all seriousness,  there’s been something nagging at me about the perception of mothers in society (no, that is NOT a pun about nagging mothers.  I’m not suicidal).  We Dads have it pretty easy.  For the most part, we’re seen as the B-team. The perception is that we’re the well-meaning stooges that chip in when Mom is absolutely unable, usually with hilarious if not disastrous results.  Now I obviously don’t buy into that vision of fatherhood (as you can read in my previous post, “Not Just Window Dressing”), but I get where the idea comes from.  We can be clowns, and we do tend to “improvise” a lot  (that stretched out sheet was a totally appropriate trampoline, and yes it was harnessed properly.  Not my fault the kid can’t aim).

Point is, we have it way easier as far as general expectations go.  For Dads, just showing up is a medal-worthy occasion.  Moms, though?  You don’t get to just show up.  You have to show up looking like you just stepped off the cover of Glamour Magazine, with children who look like they stepped off the GAP KIDS catalog cover.  Dad picked up a Lego he stepped on?  Get that man a beer.  Mom?  She better make sure every toy has been put away in its very own mom-made, super crafty, organizing tub, that the spot on the floor it laid on has been swept and Lysoled, all the while insuring every inch of the rest of the house is the same.  Dinner has to be home-made, nutritious and delicious, made only from the finest all natural, chemical and preservative free ingredients.

I fed my kids chicken nuggets and Jell-O last night.  I think you get the picture.

You know what the worst part is, though?  It’s that the group of people who are hardest on, and most judgmental of moms……are other moms.  Why do you hate each other so much?  I don’t get it.  I’d think you would all link arms in a united front just to survive us and the children.  My God, it’s gotten to the point where it’s not just the way a woman chooses to raise her child that’s up for dissection, BUT HOW THEY BRING THEM INTO THE WORLD, TOO.  Oh, you didn’t go out into a specially prepared spot in the woods and give birth in crystal-clear water while Brahms was  gently played by a string quartet in the background?  Don’t you care about the child????

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Yeah, it’s gotten a bit nuts.  Don’t even start me on the whole breast vs. bottle fed war.  I want no part of that.

Ladies, I’m not sure where you got this idea that you have to embody some impossible standard of perfection.  If it was from us (the dads), you have my heartfelt apologies.  I don’t think that’s the case, though.  At least not totally.

I think there are two influences here.  The first is that while Dads are result-driven, Moms are process-driven.   Dad doesn’t really care what he feeds the kid so long as the child is still upright, healthy, and doesn’t have any body parts falling off.  That’s not how Moms are wired, though.  It’s driven into them from the time they pick up their first Cabbage Patch Kid that parenthood is supposed to be this wondrous journey like something out of a fairy tale.  I don’t know about you, but my kids are more like a cautionary warning.  They are messy, loud, and from what people have told me, just like other kids for the most part.  Unless people are just being kind.  That’s another story.

The second thing is that because of all those ideas that are pounded into their heads,  some mothers feel so insecure about the job they’re doing that they judge lest they be judged first.  It’s easier to feel good about the job you’re doing if you’re knocking someone else you don’t think is doing that same job as well.  I feel for those people, I do.  I feel for them because they’re so obsessed with perfection that they’re missing out on the beautiful crazy merry-go-round that is raising kids.  Call me nuts, but with all the demands placed on parents, you should probably still have the opportunity to let go and just ENJOY it sometimes:

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Lord knows you deserve it.

So ladies, there’s no point in trying to hold yourself up to some impossible standard of perfection, whether it be from others or yourself.  You know why?

Because you already are perfect.

For most, you’re the first person that your children ever loved or was loved by.  If nothing else, you’re definitely the first that comes to their mind when they think of someone loving them unconditionally.  As long as they never question that love, you have done a perfect job.  Delivered your child naturally?  Perfect.  Delivered caesarean? Perfect.  Adopted?  Perfect.  Fostered?  Perfect.   Breastfed?  Perfect.  Bottle-fed?  Perfect.  Make them a roast to die for?  Perfect.  Give them Pizza Night?  Perfect.  Married to your high school sweetheart?  Perfect.  Raising your young’uns as a kick-ass single mom?  Perfect.  So long as those children grow-up knowing you always have their back,  that you believe in them, and that you love them as adults just as much as you did when they were infants, you’re already perfect.  You have nothing to prove to anyone.

So give yourself a break.  You’re the best thing that ever happened to us, and we know it.  We’re not always good at showing it, fathers or kids alike, but we know we’d be lost without you.  Maybe life isn’t the fairy tale you imagined as a kid.  Regardless, you’ll always be the queen to your own little brood:

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ALL HAIL THE QUEEN!!

FOR MAMA ANGEL, GRANNY AWESOME, AND ALL THE OTHER ROYAL MOMS OUT THERE.

you can follow “Fatherhood in the Trenches” on Twitter @jmwilson3055 or on instagram at fatherhood_in_the_trenches.