Once upon a time, a man and a woman fell in love, got married, and had children. Like most parents, they wanted to be Super Parents of Super Children. So they read, and they spent way too much time reading books by parenting experts who told them what they needed to do to raise the most brilliant children ever to grace this earth.
So they did what everyone else did to become Super Parents of Super Children. At first, it was easy. The woman nursed — for years and years! They used cloth diapers. They made their own baby food. They eschewed television, especially for the babies. They even co-slept, until the oldest child decided he’d had enough of sharing with the man and the woman and wanted his own space. The man and woman were sad, until they realized that it was much nicer to be able to actually sleep in their own bed, but then they had another child, and he much preferred sleeping in their bed to anywhere else. And still does, even though he regularly gets kicked out and sent back to his own bed.
But I digress.
The boys grew. They grew, and they grew, and the man and the woman realized that being Super Parents wasn’t so easy anymore. No one cared if they co-slept. Everyone would have cared had the woman still been nursing the children, but she wasn’t, so no one cared about that either, especially not the man and the woman.
So the man and the woman started doing what parents have always done: what made sense for their children, rather than what someone else told them they should do. But why, they asked, could it be that the rules for being Super Parents were so clear for infants, and so discretionary for children? Could it be that other parents were also making it up as they went along?
The man and the woman decided that there had to be things that they had to do to remain Super Parents. They made a list of all those things that they’d heard other parents say that they never let their children do, use, eat or experience, plus all the things the experts said that the man and woman weren’t supposed let their children do, use, eat or experience, plus some random items that were thrown in because the woman was feeling guilty about something that day.
The list looked something like this:
Things to Never-Ever Let Your Children Have, if You Want To Remain a Super Parent:
- Sugar. Of any sort. Except on Hallowe’en, and even then, only one piece.
- Video Games
- Knowledge of, or understanding of the existence of a world outside their neighbourhood (in other words, don’t let them watch the news!)
- Babysitters, Nannies, or Day Care Caregivers
- Internet Access
The man and the woman looked at the list, and they knew that these were the things that the Super Parents of Super Children were supposed to care about. They were proud of themselves for figuring stuff out on their own without You Tube.
But there was one problem.
If you asked them to be truthful, the man and the woman didn’t care about any of this stuff. At least, not enough to deny outright any of these things to their children. They tried to set rules around how often the children used the computer, but they fell by the wayside when the man and the woman realized that they could steal another few hours of sleep on the weekends if the kids played video games on the internet. The woman, unwilling to give up her day job, happily delivered her children to day care each day. The occasional glass of juice was drunk. Sugar was consumed, sometimes in mass quantities. Occasionally, the children went to bed without brushing their teeth on days when sugar was consumed. Not that often, mind you, but… yeah. It happened.
It happens. And it also happens that despite the man and the woman doing all those things that the parent experts and the other parents tell them that they’re not supposed to do, the children seem to be just fine. Despite the video games, sugar, day care and the fact that they occasionally fall asleep, watching decorating shows while snuggling in bed with their parents, they’re thriving, even. In the end, the man and the woman decided that they didn’t really need to be Super Parents. They were doing enough just being parents, and that was good enough for them.