Don’t tell the Parenting Police. I fed my kid a chocolate bar. With sugar. And red food coloring.
They’ll revoke your parenting license for that. Your kid might get cancer. Or, I don’t know, red poop. All right, I’m a bad parent. A bad, bad parent. Didn’t I read the studies? Don’t I care about my child at all? I do. I love him to bits!
But I’m not sorry at all.
While most mothers will succumb to guilt and peer pressure from the Parenting Police/Mama Militia, I choose to go at parenthood like men are expected to, without asking for directions, and without apologizing. Like Frank Sinatra, I do it My Way. Hell, yeah.
Come to think of it, that explains why children from my generation were constantly being pushed alcohol and cigarettes by their fathers and uncles at Christmas parties. They did it Their Way, too.
Our parents didn’t have the Parenting Police breathing down their necks, or at least not how they are with every decision you make today.
You know the Parenting Police—that group of experts, doctors, educators, celebrities with causes, bloggers, your mother, and your mother-in-law, plus her holy hotness, Angelina Jolie, who define the correct and fashionable way of raising your kids.
‘Pan de sal’ with butter and sugar
It was a simpler time back then. We grew up drinking Sunny Orange (100-percent artificial!). We fell off our bicycles. We fell out of trees. Our grandparents wanted us to eat more red meat. For merienda, we were fed pan de sal, butter and sugar, for crying out loud.
We had dirty ice cream back when it was really dirty. We had Kool Aid (100-percent artificial and 110-percent sugar.) We got bitten by dogs. We ate organic food (mud). It was a different time, and you know what? It’s not coming back.
Today we have celebrities with causes, lactivists on Facebook, Twitter mothers capable of bringing big brands to their knees, yogis, rival gangs of Attachment Parenting Aficionados versus Baby Wise Zealots, PETA telling us to not eat meat and to hug the Philippine Cloud Rat, and did I mention St. Angelina Jolie? (Pray for us.) We have milk brands with millions behind their marketing campaigns.
We have organic food hippies. We have all of this and our very own mothers, too, and our mothers’ friends. And they’re all watching you, mommy. Every move you make. Every cake you bake.
Moms are told that they should provide comfort and care and glue their baby to their breast 24/7. Then they’re scolded that their kids are clingy, weak and sniveling. So they try some discipline, some tough love, then they’re told that they’re not doing enough. You have to be on the ball, mom!
How can you not be there for your child every waking moment? What are you feeding them? How can you even consider a career? Or the unkindest cut of all: What kind of mother are you?
I’ve had it with the Parenting Police. I am immune to them, but most moms aren’t.
I think it’s time to end the guilt, moms.
While I admit we have these militant moms to thank for things like child abuse going out of fashion and breastfeeding becoming fashionable, other causes are misled (correlational studies are NOT science), misinformed, or just plain crazy.
No TV; it rots the brain. No soda. No sugar; it makes the kids hyper. No chemicals. No MSG. No artificial flavoring. Organic is the new black. No fat; it makes the kids fat. No carbs. (A dangerous trend if I ever saw one, as human food is made up of mostly carbs; just look at the food pyramid.) No sun; it causes cancer. No dangerous sports. No competition. No bicycles. No skateboards. No violent games. No iPhone. No technology; wooden toys only.
Sorry, Parenting Police, I’ll have none of it. I appreciate what you guys are doing, really, but forgive me if I don’t swallow everything you try to shove down my throat.
The guilt trip stops here. Yes, moms should be educated and made aware of the latest developments in raising children, and yes, I understand, sometimes you have to shout very loud to be heard. But moms know best, and they’re the ones who have the final say on how to raise their little ones.
Going back to my kid eating candy with far too much coloring, my defense: it was mine, he grabbed it from me, and he liked it. He liked it a bit too much. Instead of stopping him, I took photos.
My wife said I couldn’t post this picture on Facebook because the Parenting Police would get on our case, so now I’m publishing it in a national daily. I don’t regret it. I did it My Way. He had fun. I got some great photos. He’s fine now, no nasty side effects. (His mother, though, almost had a heart attack when the food coloring turned his poop bright red.)
I plan to continue being a bad parent. I have every intention of lying to him, making him believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy and monsters under the bed. I plan to continue to dance with him while watching TV. (Yes, television. Deal with it.) I hope he reads age-inappropriate books, just like I did.
When his fingers can handle a game controller, I’ll be there playing Mario 4D and Final Fantasy 52 with him. I’ll teach him to be strong and independent and probably a little defiant. I’ll teach him not to be cowed by so-called experts or by his future mother-in-law, and really, mommies, you shouldn’t be either.
You are beautiful, smart and capable women. You don’t need male genitalia. You can do it Your Way, too.