The Game of Parenthood


Does anyone else think the Man in the Yellow Hat gives Curious George a little bit too much freedom? If you leave your monkey home alone while you run laps around the park, he’s going to turn his bedroom into a worm farm. It’s gonna happen. Maybe I’m just a helicopter dad, but what kind of a parent lets their monkey take a rocket into space to resupply the international space station? I understand the laissez faire parenting style is a key plot device, but still, I think social services should pay the man a visit.

As you can see, I’m highly judgmental of other parents. But let’s be honest, one of the great joys of being a parent is that we get to secretly judge the parenting skills of our peers.

I mean really, what kind of a parent lets their kid climb up the slide?

Judging other moms and dads is like a sport for me. If I spot a parent giving their kid juice instead of water, that’s one point for me. If I see a bag of chips with a kid’s lunch, that’s one point. What’s that? You don’t feed your kid all organic, locally raised poultry? Two points for me. Your kid’s bedtime is “fluid”? Three points for me.

Should parenting be a competition where we keep score and declare a winner? Hell yeah, it is. And don’t start throwing stones—you all do it too. If we didn’t judge other parents, how would we know that we’re doing a good job ourselves? By raising healthy, happy kids? That’s too subjective.

And don’t worry, if you’re playing by the same rules and point scale that I use, there’s a good chance you’re beating me in the Game of Parenthood.

I have a good friend who lives down the road—he’s another stay at home dad—that can’t help but be a better dad than me. He rarely uses the microwave, cooks breakfast every morning, has his kids in bed by 7:30 nightly, and doesn’t use lollipops as currency. The bastard even bakes. He’s definitely winning.

Little does he know, I get the most satisfaction out of judging people who are obviously better parents than me. Why are they trying so hard? It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Right?

Alas, my judgmental days may be over. My kids seem to be picking up on the habit, and they’re not quite as subtle as I am. Recently, when my daughter saw a college kid with a pink mullet, she smugly informed the room, “that girl has weird hair.”

So I think I’ll take it easy on the Game of Parenthood. I mean, I’ll still judge the hell out of all of you, I’ll just keep it to myself.

Okay people, what habits of other parents do you secretly judge?

15 thoughts on “The Game of Parenthood

  1. I judge those parents who let their children run around like monkeys in a store. Irritates the crap out of me when they don’t make their kids behave and let them climb all over stuff.

  2. I used to wonder about the Man in the Yellow Hat too. I found him to be quite irresponsible really. But who am I to judge? I bought my daughter a tattoo gun when she was fifteen with her promise only to use it to tattoo grapefruit. Needless to say, she gave me something to write an interesting post about. Well – not that interesting I guess, but something to write about.

  3. Well, the list of things I judge on is far too long to recount since I am clearly superior to everyone else. (HAH!). But one that comes to mind is parents and movies. A few years ago a friend of mine wanted to see an intense R rated film and took her barely 5 year old son with her. Then a few days later she wondered why he was having nightmares every night. Can’t imagine why.

  4. I appreciate your honesty, and you’re totally spot on. It is impossible not to be judgmental as a parent simply because our parenting decisions are so personal. I really think we do it because we feel threatened by other parents who make decisions that are different than ours (at least that’s what I believe is going on in my subconscious when I judge a parent for pushing her kid in a stroller instead of wearing the baby strapped to her chest). Comparing and contrasting against other parents is how we confirm whether or not we think we are doing a good job at one of the most important things we will ever do.

    • Nice Midnight Mama. Feel free to judge the hell out of me–I just finished a run to the park with the kids in the stroller. And then I judged all the other patents who drove there.

  5. First of all, the man with the yellow hat was basically every parent in the 50s and 60s. The only reason we’re so uptight is because we’re the first generation to grow up eating breakfast every single morning while staring at the smiling photo of a kid who had been abducted. Curious George isn’t a children’s series. It’s a cautionary tale for grownups.

    As for me, I judge rude kids. I’ve lectured kids at the park for their parents who are too spineless to deliver the lecture themselves. Then I judge the living hell out of their parents.

  6. I saw a toddler and his dad the other day out for ice cream. Both had dreds and it didn’t appear to be for religious reasons. All I could think was, “Let your kid decide for himself whether he wants to be a jam band parking lot wookie. Not fair to set him up for a career at a “tobacco shop” so early in life. Guess this is no longer a “secret” judgement. Lots more where that came from:)

  7. Yes, the up the slide thing drives me ape-sh*t crazy. I think the man in the yellow hat needs to get himself a time out chair. It’s really tough for me to scale back the judgement, especially when others’ parenting decisions affect my kid. Come on, he just wants to go down the darn slide.

  8. Pingback: Good Enough: My Mom Mantra | Lindsey Living

  9. I have always seen this in another way, that the kids will laugh at the story and the parents will cringe a bit. But I guess it is like Dennis the Menace or Leave it to Beaver, there were the responsible ones and then there were the kids who goofed up. I did feel you were good at what all the reasons to say it is an example of “bad parenting” on the part of the Man with the Yellow Hat! I don’t like parents who grab their children’s arm or say swear words. I do not respect (at all) parents who put pop in baby bottles! Believe me, I have seen it more than a lot!

  10. I also don’t like rude children. But then, monkey does as monkey sees! Rude parents make rude babies… Laughing at children that used a swear word! really? I’d slap all the laughing people behind the head if I could… Profanity is not funny, it is rude.

  11. Haha! I took that line as sarcastic…up the slide is way more fun, especially for boys who live to climb! All taken with a grain of salt, the same doesn’t work for everyone – it’s all about keeping sane 😉

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