6 Things Pretentious Parents Do

I don’t mean things cool as fuck parents, such as myself (BAHAHA!) do. Like drink. And say words like “fuck.” Be honest about shit and write blogs about our terribly mundane lives. I mean things pretentious parents do. I like to call them the ass-wipers.

The ass-wipers are the parents that baby their children well into adulthood. That wipe asses way past potty training. They are the helicopter parents and the parents that blame all of their children’s shortcomings on other people. They are the SOAPs (Summertime Overachieving Parents), as well as the all-times-of-the-year OAPs. They are the people that tell other parents what to do; that are bitching about Octomom stripping; that look down on others with passive aggressive statements like “oh … we don’t [insert activity] …”

As the weeks of overindulgence in summertime community activities continues, I can see now that they all do some very core things the same. All of them; every one of them does at least the following six things:

Share Chicken and Rice Recipes

Before I started homeschooling a few years ago, we had started off with parochial school. For those not familiar, that means run by Catholics, prayers between lessons, and shit. It’s the bridge between 50 kids crammed into one public classroom and uber-private $18K a year school.

The school had each teacher send home a monthly newsletter, on which the pretentious parents had a “corner” to talk about stuff, share information, etc. As one of two room moms, I had no interest in spending time on this so asked the other room mom (the Queen of the Pretentious Parents) to do it. Every month she gathered information from other parents and shared it there; and every damn month after the next, included was a recipe for chicken and rice. Sometimes it seemed like this was all the people could talk about – their damn variations on chicken and rice.

Respond To Everything With “Do You Love It?”

Conversation overheard between two pretentious parents, yesterday morning:

“So how was your weekend?”

“Oh, it was okay … Dill came home from work early Friday so we had a little extra time together.”

“Did you love it?”

“I did. We went on a date night to this new fusion place – I had a cranberry martini.”

“Oh, I bet you loved it.”

“What about you?”

“Parker went camping with his brothers so it was just me and the kids. We ran errands, went to a movie.”

“What movie?”

“Oh the new Ice Age. It’s a little wild for the kids but I figured ‘what the hey!'”

“I bet they loved it.”

“And then we ran some errands and I got those new U Kotex tampons.”

“Do you love them?”

I’m not even shitting you – every other phrase out of their mouths faithful blog followers.

Wipe Asses – Everywhere

Now I’ve been known to carry those disposable wipey things with me. They come in handy when I don’t want to look like we haven’t bathed in weeks. But pretentious parents earn their subtitle of “ass-wipers” for a reason, that being they are constantly wiping, anything and everything.

The fundamental reason why people get sick so much now is because of these people. They are constantly over washing, over sanitizing, and over-wiping everything down, removing not only the bad germs but the good germs. Ironically, these are the people that think breastfeeding in a public pool is acceptable – where milk and all of the bacteria, viruses, and fungi within it can mix with the water to contaminate other people.

My point is that the pretentious parents are not only over wiping, but in doing so overprotecting. They are the helicopter parents whose kids can’t wipe their asses themselves – both literally and figuratively.

Bring Their Digital Cameras With the Huge Zoom Lens and Snap 10,000 Photos

I’m not one to bag on people for having hobbies, or for taking pictures of their kids. But when I’m trying to take a few shots with my little HTC EVO, or God forbid my Nikon, it gets pretty damn annoying when these pretentious parents are knocking over everything and stepping in front of everyone to get their large zoom lens in the right angle (messing up everyone else’s shots) so as to create 10,000 copies of the most precious image of their little gem.

Of course if they didn’t, then they wouldn’t be able to enter their kid in those Cute Baby Gap contests and then ask you to vote every day for a month and a half for their kid, right? That’s besides the point, though.

Pretentious parents are always the ones who seem to have thought that because they could buy a digital camera they both (a) are now professional photographers, and (b) can and should turn everything into a photo shoot. This makes it difficult for cool as fuck, relatively mediocre, parents such as myself, though – because not only does it make my kid think I’m a dick that doesn’t care, but also gets in the way of being able to make my own memories.

Call the Poor Doctor For Every Single Sneeze and Scratch

Recently, Little Pookie fell and scratched her leg. It was a typical scratch. It wasn’t deep; I cleaned it and put Neosporin on it. End of story. Then on the way into her science camp, she was talking about the scratch and another pretentious parent said “did the doctor make it all better?” She responded “my mom did!” And the woman, looking horrified, said “you didn’t take her to the doctor?!?!?”

This is an extreme example, but I can’t tell you how many times I have seen friends that rush their kid to the doctor for every single sneeze, cough, or runny nose. And the antibiotic over usage is astounding. I’m no doctor, but I know what ours has said – sometimes a sneeze is just a sneeze and nothing more.

Convince Themselves They Enjoy Housework

Were any of you around when I talked about Hello Kitty Toaster and I getting into an argument about housework? She isn’t even a parent yet, but you’d better believe that when she is one she is going to be a pretentious parent. The crux of the argument was that she said she enjoyed doing housework. Not the house being clean afterwards, but doing it.

Pretentious parents, and future pretentious parents, seem to be the masters at convincing themselves that they love doing housework. And why wouldn’t they? They have to enjoy what they do otherwise they will be miserable.

I’m perfectly fine with embracing my misery though. Cleaning up after the ungrateful slobs that live in our house is not fun. I hate it. Cooking healthy and delicious meals for them to either scarf it down like feeding time at the barnyard, or throw it in the trash and say it’s gross without trying it – well, that is just absolute bullshit too. I can’t stand these pretentious parents that claim they love cooking and love cleaning and “oh please, can you give me some more laundry to fold?!” And what is worse about this is that anyone who is honest – God forbid that – is called a jerk by these pretentious-everything-shits-roses-parents for doing so.

I call bullshit on all this pretentious parenting. From the ass wiping to the 10,000 photographs of the bastard kid standing in front of a flower. Let’s get back to cool as fuck parenting, like I had when I was little. My Little Ponies on TV and my mom always bitching about how my dad acted like she was a slave. Meals other than chicken and rice every night and being told to brush it off and carry on every time I fell and scraped my knee. Those were good times; better times you might say.

Momma’s Boy

This image was posted on Facebook by one of my friends.  It was a repost, so I cannot fault her too much for it – but as soon as I read it, I knew I would have to blog about it.  Clearly, this was written by some fifty or sixty year old woman, likely going through the emotions behind an impending empty nest.  Possibly her grown man of a son has not left the nest, though; maybe he just returned home after a bad breakup.  I imagine the son of this mother to be in his thirties.  Possibly employed, very probably still breastfeeding every night before padding off to bed in his jam-jams.

So what is my problem with this, you faithful blog followers might ask?  A lot.  When I read the line at the bottom and considered some of my own experiences in life, I realized that this is a terribly biased and wholly judgmental thing to assert – and it uses the veil of not judging as a way to do so.  Let’s examine its assertions:

His Mom says:  He loves his mom

His Ex-Girlfriend says:  He’s a momma’s boy   

As with all things, I believe there is a fine line between going overboard with anything and being reasonable.  A card and call on Mother’s Day and birthdays?  Probably a good idea.  Dropping everything and flying across the country, using money you don’t have to do so, to take your mom out for Mother’s Day brunch when you just lost your job?  Probably a momma’s boy.  Making a phone call to see how mom is doing once a week?  A nice gesture.  Calling every day and never moving more than fifty miles away from mommy so that you can continue to come suckle on her teet whenever she rings the teet bell?  Over the top.

A few years back, I was dating a guy that invited me to go out to brunch with him and his mother on Mother’s Day.  His brother was going as well and we were all going to have a nice time.  After a phone call with mommy, though, there was a sudden change of heart and I was left at home to go find myself some Quizno’s while mommy had her special time with her boys.  I wouldn’t have minded being left behind on Mother’s Day if only I hadn’t actually already been invited.  A few days before then, I had gone along with them when they bought her a gift card to buy new sheets for her bed – a $100 gift card I might add (that, combined with the expensive brunch, is more money than I have spent in all 29 Mother’s Days since I was born).  A few days after I was left behind while they went out to brunch, I was at lunch with her and a group of their family and friends (a “lady’s lunch”) and she spent the entire time complaining that my boyfriend and his brother had not done enough for her for Mother’s Day that year.  I almost vomited up my entire lady’s lunch at the sound of her ungratefulness, as well as the realization that I was dating what could unambiguously be coined:  a momma’s boy.

His Mom says:  He is nice to his friends

His Ex-Girlfriend says:  He’s a doormat

Some time ago I had a male friend that I saw get walked all over time and again by his friends.  His mom always said “oh … isn’t Matthew so nice to his friends,” and yet I sat back and watched him get screwed (literally) countless times.  One time a friend asked to borrow money – this being a friend that had showed himself to lie, not pay back debts, and who used cocaine.  Matthew didn’t want to loan him any money because he knew it would be used for drugs, but his mom convinced him otherwise with a simple “oh … Matthew, you were always so nice to your friends before you started hanging out with girls” (whatever that meant..).  So he loaned the friend some money and two days later the guy was arrested for possession of cocaine.  Matthew never saw his money again.  As in the case above, there is a fine line between being nice to your friends and being a push over.  Generally it’s when adult children have no boundaries with their parents that they also have a similar lack of boundaries with friends, as well as work.  All people – men and women – should set a line and never cross it – with anyone; although, mothers often no longer teach this boundary setting because then their kids will set boundaries on them as well.

 His Mom says:  He’s in between jobs

His Ex-Girlfriend says:  He’s a bum

Do I even need to justify this one with a response?  As with a lot of helicopter parents that do not teach their kids any kind of responsibility, as well as with the situations of men sitting in their parents’ basements playing video games rather than getting a job, the “he’s in between jobs” is simply excusing the fact that your son is unemployed (many times by no fault of his own, many other times by much fault..)  Just because a person calls something other than what it is, or is equivocal enough to leave room for excuses, does not change the reality of the situation.

 His Mom says:  He likes to have fun

His Ex-Girlfriend says:  He’s a drunk

There is a kid that lives next door to my father, that graduated from high school in May.  Every day he roams out of the house around noon in his robe, where he sits on the front porch drinking beer until his parents get home from work (did I mention he is only eighteen?).  He does not go to school.  He is not looking for a job.  Three or four nights a week he disappears around eight in the evening and comes home the next morning, often still drunk or high from the previous night’s events.  His mom says “he likes to have fun” and that he is just taking a year off to explore his options – on their dime.  Need I say more?

 His Mom says:  He has a healthy appetite

His Ex-Girlfriend says:  He’s a pig

At the end of that little inspirational picture that my friend posted on her Facebook page this morning (pictured above), it says that “…truth is likely somewhere in between.”  This is the one example of those “perspectives,” though, that I would actually agree is likely a matter of the truth (of more cases than not) being somewhere in the middle.  If someone eats excessively and has undiagnosed or untreated health problems, or spends more time sitting on the couch shoving hotdogs down his face than actually moving around, then chances are he’s closer to being a pig.  But if he is physically fit, has no untreated health problems, and just eats big meals, then he maybe does just have a healthy appetite.

One thing to remember, though, is that unhealthy eating habits always catch up with you eventually.  Excusing porking down six whopper-sized burgers as a “healthy appetite” because your son doesn’t gain weight quickly (right now) is never okay.

His Mom says:  He’s a good son 

  His Ex-Girlfriend says:  He was a terrible boyfriend 

The bottom line is that if the guy really does treat you borderline-assholish to cow-tow to mommy, if he isn’t just nice but lets himself get pushed around, if he spends all his time on the couch rather than looking for a job and paying his own bills, and is drunk most days before three o’clock in the afternoon – saying “he was a terrible boyfriend” is probably much more accurate than saying he is a good son.  Ultimately, what love does more than “accepts and doesn’t judge” is allow bias to completely blind a person from seeing what is really going on right in front of their eyes.  One of a mother’s principle responsibilities to her son is not to excuse his bad behaviors, or enable him to be irresponsible; it is to teach him to be able to go out in the world as an adult and make it on his own.  To form lasting relationships.  To have the street smarts to not get screwed over.  To have the economic smarts to make wise decisions and to do everything he can to stay gainfully employed.  To have the emotional understanding and morality to do what is not only fiscally responsible, but morally right.  It is to teach someone to be an upstanding citizen in the world, who can survive without still having to thrive on mom’s milk.  Before teaching people that a negative or less-than-nice perspective of someone’s son is a bad thing, consider how well-adjusted in life and relationships he is outside of his mother’s arms.

Helicopter Down

Earlier this week, I talked about the CNN opinion article Why Men Are In Trouble, and also the broader issue of responsibility in our time.  I think the general consensus is that men and women alike have lost all sense of what it means to be responsible for their actions.  I see this being the result of a few possible things:

  1. There are no more consequences.  It seems that as time has gone on, less focus has been put on the consequences of our actions than the actual actions, themselves.  You can see this everywhere, even in the most intricate family or work situations.  Take for example the amount that people get away with petty crimes in this country.  When you speed, it is only considered wrong if you actually get caught; and when you do, (at least in California) you have a 60% chance of getting away with just a warning, as well as a 40% chance that in the event you do get a ticket, the officer will never turn it in.  There are a lot of places in society today where there are no consequences for poor actions.
  2. Even when there are consequences, there is always someone waiting there to bail you out.  I used to work with a girl that came in to work every day wearing some new, cute article of clothing.  She was a single mother, refused to ask her child’s father for child support (as a matter of pride), and worked at Longs Drugstore for a whopping $13 an hour.  One day I asked her exactly how she was able to afford such cute, new clothes all the time and she responded “well, I charge it and usually my boyfriend pays the bill .. and I figure that if all else fails, I’ll just declare bankruptcy.”  When all else fails, there seems to always be someone there to bail us out:  be it the government, bankruptcy filing, or family.
  3. Helicopter Parents.  Ultimately, I think what this all boils down to is the Helicopter Parent.  You know at least one of them:  that mom or dad that is so over-involved in the actions of his or her kids that there is an entire team of psychiatrists out there just salivating in anticipation of the situation turning ugly.  How the Helicopter Parent is to blame is simply that by always coming to the rescue, or by always handling the problems or being the one to trouble-shoot any of life’s troubles, the kids of the situation never learn how to deal with problems on their own.  Further, most children of Helicopter Parents rarely understand the notion of consequences and (most importantly) have a skewed understanding of what it means to take responsibility.  Helicopter Parents are most seriously causing a problem with the education of their children, for when things go awry the children always expect mom or dad to come fix the problem.  This, over years, transcends into a much greater problem, though, for in college children of Helicopter Parents are now being found to either suffer or still need “mommy and daddy” to come to the rescue; and there are even young adults with Helicopter Parents that have a number of difficulties functioning in society as a result of having been babied all their lives.

It is strange to me how much Helicopter Parents have become the “norm.”  As a parent, one of your principle responsibilities is to raise your child to become a functional and well-rounded individual; and included in that must be a sense of being able to handle things on their own.  Helicopter Parenting is rife with so many disastrous possibilities:  from social awkwardness to co-dependency issues, even to emotional or physical abuse on the part of the child simply because they don’t know how to deal with situations on their own.  So as all of you faithful blog followers are out there populating the already-overpopulated world with your love seed, just remember not to let your propellers get too close.