BY SUSAN RICE @laughlady1
I'm a standup comedian, and due to my work schedule, I let the baby clock run out. Still, as a member of society who deals with children frequently, I was asked to share my perspective on parenting.
Let me begin by saying that I love children. I've been a child and stayed one for as long as possible. I admire mothers and fathers and see how hard they try. Feel free to challenge this point of view, and remember, this comes from my perspective as someone who gets a full night's sleep and has no student loans to pay off.
That said, here are seven ways you can be a better parent.
1. Please, please, please get off your phone!
Please! I'm one of those people who will not interfere, but if I see an errant child with no available parent, I will hang out and watch for you. If I see you're on your phone at the grocery store and not paying attention to your child who is pulling the flowers out of the water, be prepared for a lecture.
Let me tell you a story about one such lecture, delivered in the line at Safeway.
Little girl: Mom. Mom? Mom, look. (Points to a magazine with a Frozen character on it.) Mommy? Look! (Tugs at her mother's coat.)
Mother, on phone: I know she told him to leave, but you know he was drunk and all.
Little girl: Mommy, look at this!
Mother, into phone: Just a sec. (Turns to her child.) What? Stop, I'm on the phone!
Me: No, you're in line with your daughter and four other people who don't care about your chat on the phone but are directly affected by your lack of attention to this young child. Get off the phone, pay attention to your child, and stop giving me a reason to loathe your generation.
Applause from the rest of the line.
2. Don't ask your kid what they want at the grocery store if you aren't going to get it for them.
Cereal aisles seem to be the vortex of decent parenting. Why ask a child their opinion when you know they will choose stuff you don't want to buy? Hmmm, let's see… Do you want the box with all the colorful animals and prizes, or the one with a picture, or a bowl of cardboard? STOP asking! Also, if you're vegan, great, but I don't need a lecture from a 4-year-old who mimics your judgmental rants. I like gluten, kid, let it go!
3. Don't give me the stink eye when I try to divert your toddler from having an all-out meltdown by making a silly face.
Think of me as a human emoji. If I can stop that baby from melting down, I will.
4. Please speak correctly to your kids.
Do not leave your child's grammar imprint solely on the shoulders of overburdened teachers. They mimic what they hear. Pay attention!
5. Keep your dirty little secrets to yourself.
Your 10-year-olds don't need to know how much pot you smoked at 13. This is not a "life lesson" at this age. Let them unfold your shortcomings like the rest of us did, through keen observation and by listening to loser friends exaggerate teenage adventures.
6. Don't assume that because I have gray hair your kids can call me "Granny."
I'm nobody's granny. I have neighbors who said after meeting me that it's great to have a grandma in the neighborhood to baby-sit. Really, bitch? I went topless at a Doors concert. I'll watch your kids as long as they can wipe their own bottoms and like binge-watching Orange Is the New Black.
7. Be funny!
Please teach your kids to have a sense of humor. Let them see you laugh at yourself. Their life will be much faster and harder than yours. A little self-doubt is healthy. Without self-effacing humor, their level of anxiety will be so high it will only cost you in the end. Teach them irony—sarcasm comes naturally.
Portland Bars Where You Can Bring Kids
Portland's Best Kindie Musicians
A Free-Range Mom Talks About Why She Refuses to Helicopter
A Primer to the Parenting Fights of Portland
The Social Baby: The Ethics of Posting Kids' Pictures Online
Thrift Stores for Kids in Portland
The Big People's Guide to Hanging Out with the Little People