As parents we learn to lie to ourselves. A lot. First when we are expecting it is about how we won’t raise our kids to be “like that kid!” or that other people just aren’t doing it right. Your kid will totally sleep through the night, not teethe and always happily eat every wonderful morsel you plop onto its plate. We lie after they are born about how hard it is, how sleep deprived we are and that we are so totally not afraid our kid might be dumber than we project to others.
Then comes the big fake out. The fake parenting, I call it. It’s something I have only recently become acquainted with and realized a few of my friends must be masters of because I like them too much to think otherwise. You know what I’m talking about too. It starts with a voice we affect around our kids when they become, erm, less than manageable. When we want to grumble and grouse and use a bunch of four-letter words like Ralphie’s father from A Christmas Story but instead we say sweet, stupid things to entertain our kids out of epic meltdowns. We placate them with raspberries, funny faces and silly voices that we do not feel or even want to do. Yet, we do them for our sanity. And so that a passerby doesn’t call CPS.
You become the parent who is doing their best to maintain a smile and happy attitude despite the kicking, wailing and biting toddler who DOES NOT WANT to go into the flame-decorated grocery cart no matter how bad ass you make it out to be. You make frog sounds. Start using a British accent or shake your tush and stick out your tongue all so that your kid will FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY shut the f*ck up and sit the f*ck down.
It took me a while to get here. To figure out this parenting game. Typical to my nature I didn’t want to participate. If everyone else is doing it, I don’t want any part of it. Then I realized that my sanity depended on it and I, too began to fake parent my own kids. If you see me in a parking lot walking like a duck or doing a jig while singing in a Popeye voice, just walk on by, I will thank you later.