I’ve been trying, really trying to let things go. This has been good for my mental health, but bad for blogging. Currently, I hate back to school season. I hate the asking for the money. Back to school night is a giant waste of time. Nothing like some good bile to start the school year off right.
What’s currently cheesing me off is this cute trend of “homework for parents.” I’m calling it a trend because I got two things, and that is enough to irritate me. In case you’re not up on “the trends”, here’s what goes down.
Your child hands you a piece of paper. “It’s homework for you dad.”
It starts off easy enough. Sometimes there’s a cutesy introduction. “Tee hee, sorry there you Grown Up Person but here’s a homework assignment for you, don’t copy from your kids LOL ”
Teachers today talk in emoji. This does not concern me in the least.
Then there’s some basic demographic information. I’m trying to be a better dad, so I put in my own cell phone number instead of my wife’s like I’ve done every year for 10 years running. LOOK OUT, DAD OF THE YEAR COMING THROUGH.
Hmm… phone number… email… Tinder profile… Wait a second, what kind of relationship are we forming here? My understanding of the social contract involved is I pay my taxes which pays for the public school system, albeit barely, you do your best to teach my kids something they don’t know, and also you get summers off. I think I get the better end of this deal, particularly because my children think anyone over 10 is an idiot, so good luck with THAT.
I do not like where this is going. Oh wait, what’s this… “Tell me something about your child’s strengths and weaknesses.”
Oh you you don’t, sucka.
Snitches get stitches.
Find out their weaknesses on your own- I’m hoarding my hard earned knowledge of their psyche like a college freshman hiding cases of Natural Light in their dorm room.
Can you imagine this situation as an adult? “Hi honey, I had a great first day of work. Can you fill out this survey for my boss? He wants to know my weaknesses. Can you please just tell him ‘chocolate’ like we did at the last job?” “Sure dear, I’ll keep your near-crippling insecurities to myself.”
I get it, I’m supposed to be an involved parent and want the best education for my child. If I tell the teacher little Johnny is a little nervous in front of groups, the teacher is supposed to do something with this knowledge, either boost up little Johny or shelter him. I think both options are, at best, misguided and at worst, harmful.
I am beginning to understand why people start to get more conservative as they get older. Mostly because I am getting more and more convinced that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Sure, it seems harmless, even caring to tell a teacher your kid is a little shy. But in doing so I’m robbing the child of a chance to be not shy, to be unlabelled, to re-invent themselves. To start over.
No, I’m sorry Mr. Teacher. You get to experience my child as a stranger, and my child gets to practice being a person. Their insecurities are theirs to tell you as they see fit. There is no user’s manual for my child, no instruction book, and I’m not going to write one for you. Not because I don’t care, but because I do.
Today my Spider Man Underoos are in a bunch over this post on the ever-reliable Huffington Post called “The Default Parent“. Forwarded to me by Mrs. Nostrikethat, I had my suspicions on what the post might contain– and I was right.
Perhaps you’re wondering what a “default parent” is?
Are you the default parent? If you have to think about it, you’re not. You’d know. Trust me. The default parent is the one responsible for the emotional, physical and logistical needs of the children. Spoiler alert: It’s typically the one with the uterus.
Hurray! I am not responsible for the emotional, physical, or logistical needs of my children!
I would make a plea for these kinds of articles to stop, but without stories about interrupted bathroom time the Mommy Blog economy would collapse.
HOWEVER, I have a hilarious idea for a blog post, it’s called “Letting Women Out of the Kitchen Makes Them Uppity”.
The Rules of the Games
I wasn’t particularly athletic as a kid, but even I managed to lace up some cleats and gamely play a few seasons of soccer. Team sports and games are foundational experiences in a boy’s life. The lessons we learn as boys on the field help shape our worldview as men.
1) Support your teammates. We don’t trash talk the guys on our side, even if they’re not very good.
2) Win or lose together. The team wins or the team loses, and we all contribute to that effort.
3) Be a good sport. Graceful in defeat, humble in victory. No one likes a whiner.
4) Play your position. You have to stay in the zone you were assigned. If you’re on the left side, stay on the left side. If you’re a running back, don’t block for the QB. No one person can do it all, not even LeBron James.
5) Every position is equally important. The corollary to rule number 2. We all have a role to play on the team. The goalie is no more important than the striker, the quarterback no more than the kicker.
These are not exclusive to men, but you would be hard pressed to find a functioning adult male who hasn’t internalized them to some degree. Sure, we have our sociopaths too, but if you want to understand at a fundamental level how a man looks at the world and relationships, it’s through the lense of these rules.
This notion of the Default Parent concept breaks them.
Every single one.
It’s offensive to me as because the core premise is that the parenting roles are separate, unequal, and favor the Uterus-Americans when everything I believe is that while the roles have different challenges, they are both equal in importance and vital to the success of the Family Team.
So my plea to you all is don’t be the kid on the team that puts down everyone else, complains they are carrying the team, and is never in position.
Or you’re going to lose.
Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment and tell me what you think.