This morning I had just finished reading a chapter in my new favourite book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, when I popped over to the Life in Pleasantville Facebook page to see what was happening. I noticed an article we shared called 40 Places to See With Your Kids Before They Are All Grown Up and I was suddenly feeling ranty.
I understand, of course, that the author of that post was not looking to make people feel bad about themselves. It’s an SEO thing first and foremost, everyone is looking to have their thing read on the internet. Heck, I am going to SEO the shit out of this post in the hopes you’ll find it searching “How can I be the world’s best mom.” Related: Watch for a future rant on how SEO is ruining great writing.
Secondly, the article is “aspirational”, my least favourite buzzword right now and the thing that has really stuck in my craw. It’s not lost on me that I originally picked that post to share on Facebook because I knew people would eat it up. I’m a slave to the interwebs too people, lest you think I’m sitting on a high horse over here. But I digress.
Aspirational posts are just another way for people to feel like they’re not living up to their potential, but as my new favourite book just pointed out, what the hell is wrong with mediocre? We should all aspire to mediocrity, especially when it comes to parenting, and chill the eff out.
I’m so very, very tired of parenting experts telling me the 12 things I must do to raise successful children or the 8 things my kids should be able to do by the age of thirteen. Frankly, if my kids move out of my house before 25 then I’m declaring victory. That is my goal post, but yours may be to have a neurosurgeon in the family. Potato, pahtatoe, and never the twain shall meet or something like that.
I also know that I’m personally not going to go broke trying to get my kids to those 40 places for three reasons. One, mama has to retire someday and preferably not in a cardboard box. Two, I was not put on this earth the ensure every moment of every day is an endless parade of unicorns and pixie dust for my kids. Third, they wouldn’t appreciate me. Basically, by being a less than stellar parent 90% of the time makes my kids appreciate my awesomeness the other 10% of the time.
So in an effort to make Jane Q. Public feel better about the job she’s doing, I’m sharing the least goal-oriented list ever. These milestones don’t give a crap what’s in your bank account, and are probably going to happen without you lifting a finger. Achievement unlocked.
40 Things You’ll Probably Do With Your Kid Anyway Before They Move out
- Lose your shit in the most epic way possible in a public place. Bonus points if you’re wearing track pants while doing it.
- Stay up all night worrying.
- Cry the first day of kindergarten.
- Do a happy dance the first day of Grade One.
- Laugh about that time you cleaned up the most insane poop explosion ever.
- Don’t vomit cleaning up vomit.
- Vomit cleaning up vomit.
- Say you’re sorry.
- Go on a school field trip.
- Just once say, “If your friend jumped off a bridge, would you?”
- Teach your kids how to cook a meal.
- Question if you’re doing a good enough job every day for eighteen years.
- Suffer through the same movie 1,289 times because you love them.
- Make them suffer through your favourite movie just once.
- Make an entire trip alone in the car listening to Sharon, Lois and Bram without the kids in the car.
- Emphatically state, “Because I said so” and mean it with the white hot conviction of a lunatic tyrant.
- Let your kids take care of you when you’re sick,
- Have a homework burning party the last day of school.
- Share the moment of truth with your kids; you have a life outside of them.
- Help them through their first breakup.
- Say “no” one million times.
- Say “yes” two million times even though they think you say no more.
- Feel the pain of them not wanting to kiss you in front of their friends.
- Feel the pride when they don’t care what their friends think anymore and kiss you in front of them anyway.
- Break down crying because you are just so fucking tired.
- Go to a museum and enjoy it. Or not.
- At least once serve a meal so bad that you have to order in a back up pizza.
- Change your mind and make no apologies for it. Yes, it’s okay you once thought Flo Rida would ruin your children, and now you’re all sort of meh about it.
- Laugh out loud every time you read the title “parenting expert”.
- Tell the world that your kids dressed themselves today, say it jokingly but mean it so that people really don’t think you dressed them.
- Watch your kid accomplish something you secretly never thought they could pull off. Tell them you believed in them all along.
- Pass off store bought baked goods as something homemade for a school bake sale.
- Lie to them. Feel zero guilt about it.
- Simultaneously want to kill them and hug them.
- Cry with them because their heart is broken and there’s nothing you can do about it.
- Smell something out of the dirty laundry pile to see if it’s clean enough for one more day.
- Lose your child at least once, even it was only for a moment. Shiver with horror every time you think about the what ifs?
- Declare your schooling days are over, homework is not your problem.(Secretly admit to friends it’s because you don’t understand Grade 3 math.)
- Put the mother curse on them. “I hope that one day you have a child, just like you.”
Feel free to print this handy dandy list off so you can tick the milestones off as they happen. Trust me, it won’t be long before you’ll feel like a total overachiever.