Bad Parenting

25 Apr

What would you say if I told you I never take my kids to the doctor? Not even for annual check-ups? Or that I don’t make them take their vitamins? That I let my daughter eat as much fast food, chocolate and candy as she wants? Kool-Aid instead of water? It’s shameful, I know.

What if I told you my kids go to bed at 1 a.m.? That they spend most of the day sitting, in chairs or on the couch? That they don’t watch much TV but can spend as much time on the computer as they want?

What if I admitted that not only do my children not get enough nutritious food, sleep, or exercise, but that they also aren’t given time to play with their friends during the week? And don’t even get me started on art projects. Way too messy for this house.

Are you judging me yet? Maybe just a little, right? Because you might believe that things like annual check-ups, nature walks, broccoli, naps, finger-painting and socialization are super important for kids. Maybe even vital.

So do I.

But tell me this: When did it become satisfactory, normal even, to enforce these rules upon our children but give ourselves a pass? How many parents do you know who do all of those things for themselves? Are you one of them?

What would we be like if we took care of ourselves the way we take care of those adorable little people who run our lives? Happier? Healthier? What if we held ourselves to the same standards?

No Mom, you may not have more chocolate because you will ruin your dinner.

Dad, you may watch one show before bed and then it’s lights out. You know the drill; bedtime is 8 p.m.

Mom, you’ve got playdates scheduled two evenings this week and an art class on Thursday night. The only rules are to share with your friends, wash your hands after using the potty, and HAVE FUN.

Gosh, even as I was typing that last paragraph I was mocking myself. “TWO playdates a WEEK? HA! That would never happen. I’d be lucky to fit in one a MONTH.” For myself, anyway. For my kid? Two a week is easy. Standard, even.

Why are we always last? Because we put ourselves there. But as anyone who has flown on an airplane knows, someone needs to be there to put an oxygen mask on your babies in the event of a decrease in cabin pressure. And if you haven’t put yours on first, there’s a decent chance you won’t be up to the task.

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5 Responses to “Bad Parenting”

  1. Linda April 25, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

    You’re such a great Mom and I’m so happy you’re figuring out now what I figured out much later in life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. C Lo April 26, 2011 at 8:28 am #

    At the end of your second paragraph I realized where you were going with this….and immediately felt guilty.

    I’m pretty good about eating the same as my kids but…….I think we all need this check in our lives.

  3. C Lo April 26, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    Thanks for keeping us in check. More parents need this than we probably realize. I was just talking with a friend about how our bodies just are not made to sit in a cube for 8 hours at a time, and yet we do and we wonder why we are unhealthy, have no energy…….

  4. Dad April 26, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    Why didn’t you tell us this when you were three?

  5. Kellie Lambert April 27, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

    Thanks so much for this much forgotten reminder!

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