Everybody’s always trying to figure out how to do it right.
What’s “best” for my children? What can I do to raise the healthiest, most well-adjusted kids possible?
How can I do it “right?”
Well I think we should reframe this whole discussion into a simple recognition that we’re doing it all wrong.
Everything we do, it’s wrong.
Every decision is the wrong decision. And I have proof. Check this out.
If you have a hospital birth you run the risk of being bullied and manipulated by misogynistic OB/GYNs determined to cut you.
But if you have a homebirth, you’ll probably kill your baby.
So there’s that.
And then, once the kid comes out, you will fail. If you circumcise your boy you’ve engaged in genital mutilation and will have most likely set off a disturbing chain of events in the child’s psyche, possibly resulting in a fascination with burning puppies.
But if you don’t, your kid’s gonna get HIV. And you’re a dirty ass hippie.
If you vaccinate, your kid will probably get autism. If you don’t vaccinate you’re a leach sucking the life out of society and bringing back preventable diseases.
So basically, killing all the people.
Breastfeeding? You’re tied to your kid and undoing years of feminist work. Also you’re ruining your tits and will never be hot again.
Not breastfeeding? Wow. Really nice of you to give your kid brain damage, ADHD and a propensity toward obesity.
Cosleeping? Your children are overly-dependent and will not leave your bed until they’re 19 (if they’re lucky enough to even live that long, since you’ll most likely SMOTHER THEM before that). Also your sex life will die and you’ll never sleep again.
Putting baby in a crib? Hello, attachment issues. Babies need their parents, not a CAGE! If you want to stick something in a cage why don’t you get a rabbit? Also you’ll never sleep again.
Working out of the home? Your children are suffering from your absence. They need a MOTHER, not more MONEY. Teen pregnancy and drug use a sure future.
Stay-at-home mom? Well since you don’t work you can’t afford the character-building activities that turn your children into well-rounded individuals. Teen pregnancy and drug use a sure future.
Involved in everything your kids do? Helicopter parenting. You’re creating entitled lazy asses.
Involved in nothing? Hands-off parenting. Why did you even have kids? Kids need parental involvement to succeed. Studies have proven it.
Private school? Your kids are receiving a skewed version of reality wherein everybody’s wealthy and hyper-educated. Learn nothing of the real world.
Public school? Learn too much of the real world. Pushed into non-thinking followers of society. Worker-bees. Nothing ruins a kid like public school.
Well except maybe homeschool.
Homeschool creates social derelicts. Everybody knows that.
Let your kids play with guns, raise serial killers.
Don’t let your kids play with guns? No worries, they’ll chew their pretzel into one.
Barbies? Your daughter requests breast implants at age 13.
No Barbies? Your daughter becomes so obsessed with Barbies she ends up jacking one from Walmart and you get taken by CPS for raising a little hoodlum.
Have TV in your home? Brainwash your kids.
No TV? Raise out-of-touch weirdos. Go fucking nuts because you can’t get a break, which increases irritability and thus yelling, which we all know ruins children.
Speaking of yelling, do you fight with your partner in front of your kids? Well, that sucks. Way to create an unstable, unsafe home environment.
Don’t ever fight with your partner in front of the kids? Nice. Now they have NO EXAMPLE of conflict resolution and will never communicate well.
We could go on like this all day.
Always vacation with your kids? If you don’t vacation alone with your spouse your marriage is going to fizzle out and die, ending in divorce.
Vacation without your kids? How are they ever going to see the world? You’re a self-centered asshole.
Stay in the same house for 20 years? Raise sheltered children afraid of the world.
Move? Without stability, your children will seek shelter and grow afraid of the world.
And so…what’s the moral of this story?
What does it mean that we’re going everything wrong?
Well, lest my brain deceive me, I’ll be damned if it doesn’t mean we’re doing everything RIGHT.
It’s simple logic: if everything is wrong, then nothing could possibly be right, which then makes everything neither right nor wrong, but rather the same. Equal.
Cost, benefit. Advantage, disadvantage. Right, wrong. Yin and yang and shit.
Playing field, LEVELED.
So sit back and enjoy your failure.
Since there’s no other option, we might as well embrace it, have fun, and raise some fucking well-adjusted children…you know, by doing everything, WRONG.
Just like we’ve been doing since the beginning of time.
StephanieThursday, 16 May, 2013 at 13:24
So, basically, parenting is like every conversation I’ve ever had with my mother? Finally! Terms I can understand!
Sarah W.Thursday, 16 May, 2013 at 13:28
Seriously, you are my hero ~ I can’t even begin to describe how much I adore this!
BrinThursday, 16 May, 2013 at 13:32
I think you just read my mind. Seriously. SAHM of twins, I just put a resume out for a job to get out of the house so I don’t kill them, and now everyone has an opinion and no matter what I do I’m doing it’s wrong. If I go to work I’m leaving them exposed to the horrific acts of the world and therefore they will be damaged, belligerent degenerates their entire life. Stay at home and (aside from the risk of murdering their cute little asses) I make them co-dependent weirdos with no life. thanks for the positive spin, I totally needed it today!
ShanThursday, 16 May, 2013 at 13:40
Totally putting my feet up now.
KellyThursday, 16 May, 2013 at 13:51
StaceyThursday, 16 May, 2013 at 13:59
Love the no tv one. I would never get ANYTHING done without a little tv here in there. Well maybe a little more then a little. LOL
LaurelThursday, 16 May, 2013 at 14:02
Chock full of truthiness. I assume everything I do is wrong, but I’m okay with that because I’ve set the bar pretty low. If my daughter doesn’t become a sociopath, GOOD ENOUGH.
NancyMonday, 20 May, 2013 at 2:42
Living in Holland, I’ve realized expecting good enough is awesome– and think the reason we have so many issues is because we are not happy with that.
Renegademama, you are damn funny and right on the mark
LesleyThursday, 16 May, 2013 at 14:45
So true. What’s right? What supports you and your kids in the best feeling way possible. Fuck everyone else’s opinion.
KateThursday, 16 May, 2013 at 15:11
Also, don’t forget sport trophies. Giving participation trophies is creating a class of entitled little jerks that expect everything to be handed to them. But having kids continually fail at sports with no recognition leads to self confidence problems and drugs. Or America’s awesomeness. Depending on your political views.
MelanieThursday, 16 May, 2013 at 15:52
There is no winning. That’s why I’ve stopped worrying about what others think and just do what right for us (well, I try to most of the time).
CarylThursday, 16 May, 2013 at 17:34
TV = free babysitter. Win.
Alcohol = happy me. Win.
Go to work every day = more money. Happy me. Win.
Kid in my bed = sleeps all night. Win.
My tits were gonna sag regardless = fact of life. Neutral.
I only see the wins here. LOL
LizaTuesday, 11 June, 2013 at 12:22
Caryl.. AMEN SISTER!
KateThursday, 16 May, 2013 at 18:14
BWAAAHAHAHAHAH. snorting and choke laughter. can’t breathe. no, wait, I’m ok. I love you again. the way you share.
Cortne @ CocoinMagnoliaThursday, 16 May, 2013 at 19:45
Well, this sucks. I’ve done just about all of them. Oh well, pass the wine.
AmandaThursday, 16 May, 2013 at 20:57
You fucking rock! My thoughts exactly, only much more eloquently said!
KellyThursday, 16 May, 2013 at 22:38
I bought a “safety certified” bassinet because the SIDS risk is shoved down your throat as a new parent. He slept in it a total of 2 hours, if that, because he hated it. Within 4 weeks we starting allowing him to sleep on his tummy (the horror!) and now he even sleeps in our bed, on his tummy (are we crazy?!). I’m surprised someone doesn’t call CPS on us for such ghastly behavior. But guess what? He won’t have a flat head from being on his back all the time and he is a happy, happy babe from getting better sleep in our bed. Kiss off to any haters!
HeatherThursday, 16 May, 2013 at 23:20
BRILLIANT!!! absolutely positively BRILLIANT!!! I knew I was screwing up my kids anyway because my mom screwed me up, and her mom screwed her up, and on and on. Basically we are all screwed up…or maybe we are all just fine! 🙂
JenFriday, 17 May, 2013 at 0:24
You are gaining a following over here in the UK! Brilliant!
OlevaFriday, 17 May, 2013 at 6:46
Love this! So true and so sad that all of these feelings are what many moms deal with. My husband has a much better grasp of the “everything will turn out OK” thinking then I.
Kateri Von StealMonday, 20 May, 2013 at 6:10
Take a bow sister!
I enjoyed this post…
Natalia ErehnahMonday, 20 May, 2013 at 11:04
Fantastic! I always suspected either we’re all doing it right, or we’re all doing it wrong.
jill (mrs chaos)Tuesday, 21 May, 2013 at 14:12
I love you so hard.
TuplaTuesday, 21 May, 2013 at 16:20
This is brilliant. I believe I heard every single one of these statements as an actual advice from someone.
CharityTuesday, 21 May, 2013 at 22:25
When you write your book, I will buy dozens of copies to give to every new parent I know.
RoxieSaturday, 12 October, 2013 at 7:53
Let poster, I know.
Henry Beecher wrote something about ‘people seeing the truth only in fragments’… You just did a great job of putting them all in one place! This is a must-have print out for all moms!
wrinkleyoldTuesday, 15 October, 2013 at 21:24
You are totally hilarious, I want a signed copy of the book you are writing. Oh and where’s the recipe section on here? Thanks from wrinkleyold.
BethanyWednesday, 16 October, 2013 at 13:24
So true! Darned if you do, darned if you don’t! The one thing that is right though is to make all of your decisions with love.
SaraSunday, 3 November, 2013 at 10:23
Aaaaaah… Relief! I’m going to read this everyday until it sinks in… I kept saying to myself “You do the best you can”, but somehow it’s not enough… This text really speaks to me!
JennFriday, 24 January, 2014 at 21:30
Chip GentryThursday, 22 May, 2014 at 15:58
This was a very interesting and thought-provoking article. I am totally on-board with the foundation of the discussion: that every action and every decision has a set of pros and cons, pluses and minuses.
But the conclusion of the article is another matter: “It’s simple logic: if everything is wrong, then nothing could possibly be right, which then makes everything neither right nor wrong, but rather the same. Equal.” I believe the intent of the author’s conclusion was to help parents relieve the anxiety they feel when dealing with complex and difficult decisions regarding their children. To reduce anxiety is generally a good thing and certainly the intent was good and highlighted some important issues. But to conclude that everything is equal is to miss something important: everything is not equal and outcomes are not equal. Some kids turn out good, some bad, most in-between, and some we won’t know for sure for a while. The decisions along the way are the same: some good, some bad, some in-between, and some we won’t know for sure for a while.
If the decisions along the way were good, the probability of a good outcome is increased. As we know, there are many factors and no guarantees. But this decision making process is where the rubber meets the road – this is where the game is generally won or lost. You take in X amount of input and you do Y amount of analysis, and Z is your decision (X + Y = Z). Some people seem to flow through life and the hard decisions as they mostly pick the path to success. And of course there are also people who don’t. This is a result of many factors as well – but it is not usually blind luck. This process is about good or bad judgment based on information and analysis. Is it all logic? No. Is it all emotion? No. You do the best you can with what resources you possess. But if you take the position that everything is equal and hence it doesn’t matter what you do, then you are likely to end up with a below average outcome and your anxiety will be real, and sad.
Calling everything equal is not the only way to reduce anxiety. Anxiety is generally about fear, or in this case, also regrets. Fear and anxiety are obviously very complicated, but I would suggest that fear and anxiety can be significantly reduced by considering thoughtfully the situation, then making the best decision you can, and being peaceful about it regardless of the outcome: you did all you could do or all you wanted to do in the situation – and no matter what happens, you can handle it. All outcomes will not be positive. Some will be painful. That pain is real but you can work through it. And you will learn from the mistakes and make corrections in the future.
I believe the optimal attitude for positive outcomes is to approach decisions without fear, knowing that based on your life experiences so far you have a good chance of making a good choice and having a good outcome, and realizing that you can only do the best you can in any given situation and that it is much better to have tried, and failed, and tried again and again to make the best choice and to be content that you have done what you can do.
ErinWednesday, 9 July, 2014 at 16:47
Ha! I’ve been saying for 13 years now that from the time she gives birth, everything a mother does is wrong…no matter what she chooses. In the end, choosing what keeps us sane and our kids safe/loved is what is best for them. If I hadn’t worked, the lack of intellectual stimulation would have turned me into resentful bitch mother (which–usually–I am not). For another woman working outside the home would have done that, and staying home allows her to stay sane. Brava!
Patricia HaggertyWednesday, 22 July, 2015 at 1:47
Thanks for laying this out! I have several friends doing the same as me and several doing the opposite. I know that really no matter our choices we give birth to humans who will learn more of our traits than our teaching. They will likely learn more than we would like from several influences around them. I know that most of the things I hated my parents for at the time have been the things I am most thankful for now. I had parents who divorced so badly that I emancipated myself and started living on my own at 14 graduated high school with honors while living in my car. I had plenty of opportunities for a totally different path. I instead wouldn’t change a thing for risk of loosing something awesome bout me! Do what you can with what you will and have what you have. Sorry for run on sentences, did i mention i went to Massachusetts public schools?! lol
ShannonSaturday, 24 October, 2015 at 11:05
Another one I’ve heard is-
spank your kid, you’re an abusive jerk who’s teaching their kids to use violence to solve problems.
Don’t spank your kid, and he’ll turn out to be an undisciplined asshole who will eat babies and rob convenience stores.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I got spanked. Remember having to go get your own switch off of the tree? That. We survived…
I love this post!
NanciThursday, 14 April, 2016 at 8:12
So true. Being a mother means being able to feel guilty simultaneously about two opposite things.