Sunday, October 5, 2014

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Lessons I Teach My Kids That I Have Yet To Master


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I’m a father of three kids ages 7, 5, and four months. Most of my parenting time is spent teaching them things I still don’t do properly. I’m always telling them not to do this, or or to do that: clean your room, make your bed, put some clothes on, don’t pee on the toilet seat, wipe your own butt… But am I qualified to teach these lessons? Because frankly, I haven’t mastered many of them. Here are a few examples.

1.     Putting things back where they belong: Has anyone seen my keys?

2.     Making my bed: Unless I’m putting on clean sheets, I never make my bed. My wife straightens the sheets right before she gets in bed, but that’s about as close as we come. And yet, we are constantly insisting that the kids make their beds.

3.     Properly wiping my butt: Sometimes I have skids marks in my underwear. Let’s not talk about it.

4.     Picking my nose: I have a problem. You see… I’m a compulsive nose picker. I won’t go into details here because I’ve already published a few essays on this subject. But what I will say is that I don’t eat them anymore. Stopped that in grade school, so… you know… I’m developing.

5.     Missing the bowl: I probably should just start sitting down when I go pee, but I have too much pride.

6.     Eating before bed: I always have a snack before bed. Usually something sweet. Sometimes I do this after I’ve brushed me teeth. And yet, I am always telling my kids no when they ask for this kind of treat. Why? Mostly because I just want them to go to bed. This rule really has nothing to do with their health, and everything to do with how difficult it is to get little kids into bed. They drag their little feet, and gnash their little jaws, and look for any opening to stay up a little later. Letting them get up for a snack would mean starting the whole bed routine over and staying up even later. Not going to happen.

7.     Not eating too much candy: I. Eat. Candy. All. Day! I love it! In my desk is a 6 pound bag of gummy bears (stop by sometime--I love to share!). Although I must admit, it’s probably closer to 2 pounds now. I should stop by Costco. This is what’s great about being an adult. Being able to eat as much candy as I want. However, I was told as a child not to eat too much candy, and then when I became an adult, I became a candy addict. Perhaps by limiting my kids’ candy eating, I am creating addicts. Ugh! Parenting is complicated. But I must admit, being a candy addict is really sweet (bud ump, crash).

8.     Not whining: I bitch all the time. Why am I not getting enough sex? Why don’t I make enough money? Why am I getting fat? Why are there skid marks in my underwear? It’s really unattractive.

9.     Not walking around the house in my underwear: I’m really going to have to put a stop to this one once the kids become teens.

As I finish writing this list, I can’t help but ask myself one question: why bother? Why am I trying so damn hard to teach my kids things that I obviously don’t value? Well… that’s a good question. I think it comes down to this. I honestly, and truly, want my children to be better than me. I want them to be more successful, more educated, more charming, better groomed, and better behaved. I want them to accomplish the great American dream of being something more than their father. This has caused me to try and teach them what’s right and wrong, and how to be socially accepted. I want them to be able to overcome those stupid irritating quirks and bad habits that I can’t seem to break, and become someone astounding. To exceed the great potential I see in them everyday. 

Click here to back my hilarious essay collection, "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things." 

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