12 Ways Your Family Will Decide You’re Parenting Wrong This Holiday Season
We do so love the holidays. That time when you give up all your vacation days, yank the kids out of their schedules, and gather round with all of your family to compare childrearing notes. Hopefully this is over a meal you made all on your own while the grandparents enjoyed playing with your kids, during which they of course taught them everything they know, which is a lot, because those kids are geniuses. How come you never realized that? Are you sure you spend enough time with them? If you lived closer, you could. Ahem, sorry. The holidays have the potential for being a lovely time. We suggest having these arguments in your head ahead of time, getting them out of your system so you can just smile and nod when the time comes.
1. Yes, his sleep schedule is actually very important.
Those grandparents are having such a good time, can’t the kid just skip his nap today, and tomorrow, and the next? And look, he’s full of energy, he can’t possibly be ready to go down for the night. We never sleep-trained you. Can’t we just go in there and check on him? (And where will they be next week, when months of your hard work are shot to hell and the kid refuses any kind of sleep schedule?)
2. Nope, my “baby weight” is not a thing we need to talk about right now.
Have the olds been reading too many women’s magazines or something? Your body, whatever its size, is not up for discussion.
3. This is what the kid eats; get over it.
Oh, really, is she too fat/skinny/big/little? Has everyone else but her mother done extensive research to show that processed foods and sugars are perfectly harmless? Are her parents feeding her too many weird foods and also not enough weird foods? Should picky eaters just be left to eat nothing but white bread? Thanks! Go ahead and slip her some cookies while you’re at it. (As if you haven’t agonized daily over what to feed them.)
4. It’s hilarious when you slip the older kids drinks!
Ah-ha-ha-ha! This isn’t how teenage alcoholism starts at all! (It also starts with mullets, obviously.)
5. Yes, safety standards for kids have changed a lot since the ’70s.
In fact, it’s a miracle we all survived to adulthood. And since we did, we’ll just go ahead and ignore all the other advances of science since then too.
6. I can actually cook this turkey on my own.
The last time we checked, we were adults who feed ourselves quite often. Really. And sometimes other people even enjoy our cooking.
7. Nope, we’re still not OK with 1950s gender roles.
It’s great that some of our parents found that division of labor worked for them, but we’d like to go ahead and share responsibilities in the house, thank you. Also, if putting our girls in anything but pink and dresses is “dressing them like boys,” consider us steadfast advocates of cross-dressing.
8. Speaking of gender, let’s be a little more imaginative about the kids’ toys.
Weird how we’re in the 21st century and some people can’t grasp that trucks, dolls, blocks, cooking are all acceptable playtime activities for our boys and girls. And if when we mention this, the grandparents get all huffy and say we should just pick out their presents for them, well, maybe that’s OK. You take checks, too.
9. Speaking of the ’50s, keep those racist jokes away from our table.
Nope, nothing funny about mentioning “those people,” nor the idea that our kids might pick up on that “humor.”
10. Are you sure you remember those milestones correctly?
All those mentions of how smart we were as children, how we learned to talk and read at such an early age, whatever, whatever, are now coming across as a direct insult to own kids’ progress. Children do things at different speeds. And if we were in fact child prodigies, where did that land us in the end?
11. Where we live is actually a great place to raise kids.
You didn’t move away from your hometown by accident. It wasn’t a temporary moment of rebellion. But having kids somehow compounded your own parents’ delusion that you’d reconsider and come back home. Not. Going. To. Happen. And they can really stop making jokes about kidnapping or keeping the kids for long periods of time. It’s scary.
12. You never visit enough.
Um. See all of the above.
Reminder: Rehearse all of these arguments ahead of time. That way, they won’t sound quite as bitter as I’ve outlined here. This is an important exercise in catharsis. One of the oldest family traditions in the book. Happy Holidays!