Some stay-at-home parents get me hot and bothered.  It’s mostly mothers, but it’s not in a good way.  (Maybe some of my female readership can help me understand why??)

We’re out somewhere and I happen to start a conversation with another parent about kids.  The standard opening line is, “Boy, you got your hands full.”  Yep, I do.  Worm still wants me to carry him everywhere and Smush can’t walk yet.  I literally do have my hands full whenever we go out in public!  (Worm specifically asks me to “hode bose babies” often and I usually comply.)  Half the time, I’ve got a dog leash dangling from my fingers as well…

Then the talk veers toward our respective kids and how they’re so difficult at this early age, etc.  But actually, mine are not.  And I say so.

“My kids are really well-behaved most of the time.  They’re just great kids.  We’re lucky for them.”, I tell the other parent.

All of a sudden, we’re no longer commiserating together.  I get the “you must be kidding me” slightly-drop-jawed stare as they’re wondering how I’m carrying 50lb of kids, 40lb of gear and a 27.5 tooth grin.  The other parent quickly ends the conversation with a backhanded, “Well, I hope they’re great kids as teenagers!  JOHNNY, get your ass over here right now!”, or something to that effect, and scurry off towards their brood.

I’m standing there thinking to myself, “WTF?  That was awkward.  Do I have vomit on myself?”, and I check my shirt, my fingernails and slyly whiff my armpits.  I’ve upset yet another parent from something I’ve said.  It happens way more often than I’d like, but this particular scenario really irritates me.  I’m not bragging or trying to be pompous about my son and daughter.  If you want me to show off, watch me toss my kid 20ft  in the air and catch him behind my back.  I’ve got two wonderful babies and I shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed about it.

Now I need to get this off my non-lactating chest and I’m sorry if I offend anyone.

First off, this isn’t a competition.  The fact that my kids are well-behaved and yours aren’t, shouldn’t shatter your probably unrealistic idea of motherhood (or fatherhood. But I’ve never, and I say never, had a father try to make me feel like a putz for mentioning I have happy, pleasant tots.)  We’re two different people raising different children.  It’s like comparing your apples to my coconuts.  (I’m really into coconuts right now.)

Secondly, I’m not saying that you are incapable of handling your own kids.  I don’t think you’re doing a poor job and I won’t report you to child services for your inability to properly care for a dependent…maybe (unless, of course, your kid steals my wallet.)

Thirdly, don’t believe that I don’t have to work hard because my kids are well-behaved.  And don’t assume that it’s all balloons and birthday cakes with me.  I work damn hard at listening to my children and understanding their needs.  Paying attention can be just as exhausting as getting angry.

Fourthly (if it’s a word), I find it upsetting that some women are still surprised that a man can raise children just as well, if not better than, a woman.  (The internet is a vast ocean of knowledge.  Thank you, Al Gore!) Stay-at-home dads are not as much of a rare bird as they used to be, and fathers can step up to the proverbial child-rearing plate as much as moms, producing some damn fine progeny.

Fifthly, I’m not judging you as a parent.  I’m dealing with enough issues in my own life to worry about anyone else.  We parents all have our struggles and no situation is black and white.  I don’t understand your entire position, so don’t talk to me for 5 minutes and assume you understand mine.  Besides, the worst parent is one that doesn’t want to be there for their children.  As long as that’s not either of us, we’re both probably doing ok.

I find it sad that some people think their offspring are more trouble than fun.  I think it’s too bad that they have a hard time parenting them and enjoying it.  But please don’t try to make me feel embarrassed because my children are agreeable and I look like I got my stuff together.

My sippy cup is not half-empty, not half-full, but completely full.  My kids are lovely human beings.  All the time.  And I’m not going to apologize for that.  I will continue to be thankful for them.  Good or bad is not the important quality here.  Worm and Smush are mine and I love them for being my children.  I’m doing the best I can and trying to make lemonade out of the lemons tossed my way.  (No, really.  Try our MVG Strawberry Lemonade recipe this summer!)  And I hope that lemonade continues to fill my sippy cup to the top.  Cheers!

Look Happy, Dammit!

Look Happy, Dammit!