01 March 2008

Pay attention, parents

I'm only trying to help, parents. I'm on YOUR side. I'm not one of you, but that is to your advantage, because I haven't drunk the same Koolaid that you have been drinking. Trust cranky old Auntie Suebob, because I had perfect parents who taught me:

1. Children do NOT need a birthday party every single year. A 3-year-old does not need a party that requires invitations and planning. Cake, ice cream, family, a present or two. STOP AT THAT POINT. Nothing else is required. THEY WILL NOT REMEMBER THE PARTY OR THE LACK THEREOF. Promise. Relax. Breathe.

2. You do not need to attend every single birthday party of every single classmate, kid on the soccer team and child that you are in some way associated with. Free yourself! Take the weekend off the party circuit.

3. You are not responsible for entertaining your children. Children are self-entertaining devices. If they aren't, you are doing it wrong. If they are "bored" make them clean house. That was my mom's favorite trick. We learned to quit saying we were bored.

4. Your child's school project is his or her responsibility. You may contribute by purchasing supplies. STOP THERE. If their project is not as good as their classmates', at least they have the pride of doing it for themselves. Teachers KNOW whose parents do all the work for them, believe me. They are not stupid.

What are you teaching your kid by doing it for them? That mommy/daddy will always bail them out? Yeah, keep doing that and see how much fun it will be to bail them out when they have a $50k rehab bill.

5. Kids don't believe what you say. They believe what you DO. They are so freaking smart that way.

6. What other people are doing isn't important. Stick to your beliefs, your morals, your ethics (assuming you have some). YOU are the adult. YOU are in charge. Your kids need to know that someone is running the ship, and they will ultimately be happier if it is you, not them.

Ok, 6 pieces of excellent advice are enough for one post. Remember, I'm not a parenting expert, but I play one in my head.


Amy said...

The Poo has never had a birthday party with a single other child. Just a cake and presents at home, and a special lunch date.

I agree with all of your points, and we follow them at home.

Sure you don't want to take the plunge? Or how about moving to Central Illinois to be a nanny?


LittlePea said...

Yeah. My sister admitted to doing some of her kid's project once , her excuse was because he was sick. Yeah right, I thought. And goes way overboard with the 1 year old birthday party. People get all defensive with those of who haven't had any yet though so I don't say anything.

LittlePea said...

-I meant to write, those of US, not those of who. My brain is not functioning. Forgive me, I quit coffee again.

super des said...

I agree with you whole heartedly. I was already planning on being your type of parent (at some point), but your endorsement lets me know that I am sane in doing so.

Karen said...

AMEN. Why don't more people GET this?? My parents raised me this way and now my sister is raising her kids this way and (some day) I will follow suit...great advice! :) (I play a parenting expert in my head too.)

Mandajuice said...

As a woman who prefers a male gynecologist, I say you are totally entitled to your opinion. In fact, I think these points are dead on.

The only one I don't necessarily follow as a parent is the birthday party thing. Early birthday parties are for the PARENTS, the ones who gave up their freedom to have kids, the ones who LABORED, etc, which is why we invite all our own friends. My parents never gave me birthday parties and I hated that, so I guess I'm swinging that pendulum the other direction with my own kids.

KiKi said...

Here here! Especially #5... As for

Green-Eyed Momster said...

You are wise beyond your years, Suebob! Some of your posts leave me speech(type)less. You always seem to give me something to think about! Thank you! I hate your Weight Watchers ad though, are you trying to tell me something? Just kidding. I hope you can tell!
BTW- Word Verification is:gfixwuw I thought it was funny!

SUEB0B said...

Mrs Chicken - um, no. Sunday School defeated me, so I'm def not ready for parenthood.

Ms LittlePea, Des, Karen - it cracks me up how many non-parents commented on my non-parent parenting advice.

Amanda - but the boatload of presents, the Jolly Jump - it seems so out of control to me.

TraceyTreasure - I don't get to pick the ads - they are fed to me by BlogHer ads. We can say if we absolutely do not want something though. I think about WW all the time since I can get it half price thru work...but I never have done it.

Blog Antagonist said...

I agree wholeheartedly. Right now Diminutive One is deep in the throes of a very involved project and I am biting my tongue and resisting the urge to "help". I know his won't be as good as some, but he will have the pride of a job well done.

I did have to advise him not to use black face as part of his costume though.

Amie Adams said...

Oh I'm right there with you, and I have three kids. Uberparents freak me out.

Anonymous said...

You know, this is exactly the flavor of Koolaid I've been drinking as a parent for some time now. Well said.

Anonymous said...

My parents didn't throw me birthday parties because my mom didn't love me. The breaking point of their marriage was in fact my dad insisting on throwing me SOME sort of party for my 16th birthday.

I will always, therefore, throw my children a birthday party. From 1 till they tell me to stop. Because I love them and they deserve to be celebrated every stinking year.

meno said...

My friend and i, who had children the same age, used to compete for who could do the least and still call it a birthday party.

Cupcakes to daycare. Yep, that counts.

Grandparents over and they brought a present? Good!

The kids don't know/care/remember.

Suzanne said...

This is the type of parent I would want to be if I had kids, but probably not what would happen in reality, which is why I am not having kids.

Kizz said...

I'm wondering what sort of accidental mommy blog mire you walked through that made you write this post.

I don't have any kids but I taught a lot of them and I couldn't agree more. I think the birthday party one is flexible but friends over with cake counts as a party to me.

Susan C said...

The birthday party treadmill is crazy.

For my daughter's 5th birthday, she chose a fairy theme. Each child got to bring home a self-decorated star cookie, a fairy wand and a head garland. And yet, at least two children came up to me and asked, "Mrs. C, where are our treat bags?"


Christina said...

You are wise beyond your womb. I love your tips. Ever thought of writing a parenting book? "Auntie Sue Says"

the mystic said...

That's surprisingly good coming from the aunt perspective!

But listen, on the birthday thing -- you do NOT understand the pressure here. Serious societal/child/self inflicted guilt, because really, if it were up to me there just wouldn't BE birthday parties, period. I'm crabby that way -- but did I mention the pressure?

QT said...

yes, housecleaning and yardwork will instantly cure "bored".

Lynnea said...

You are spot on.

I remember the time I 'realized' I didn't have to take my son to every birthday party - what a relief!

We like simple family stuff too. But throw in a party with friends on special dates - say 5 years old, 10, like that. You know, cake, hot dogs maybe, play outside. Good enough.

VDog said...

Great post!

We did the absolute minimum for our son's 1st birthday party. We followed the family + 1 friend for each year of life rule.

It was perfect. I can't imagine going trough all that stress for a party.

LOVE the "I'm bored" suggestion. And my parents NEVER helped me with school projects, therefore, my kids ain't getting any help either. LOL

Mrs. G. said...

Amen on #3. When my kids were younger, we had no money. I remember feeling bad that they didn't have this lesson and that lesson and this class and that class and this daycamp and that daycamp. Now, I am grateful that we were forced to be creative and just play and hang out. It's good to be bored.

Anonymous said...

You're not wrong. In fact, you are spot on.

Are you sure you're not secretly a parent? ;-)

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