My non-parent friends ask me what it’s like having kids.
I tell them that before you have kids, you are the star in the movie of your life. After you have kids, you’re lucky if you can get a speaking part.
You’re an extra on the set of your own movie. When the credits roll on the reel of your life, your part will be listed toward the very bottom as: “Lady driving car” or “Man who handed out money.”
That’s my life.
Don’t get me wrong; I love being a parent. I always have.
Even before I had kids, I used to fantasize about being a great parent, a nice parent, the kind of parent that didn’t turn into a raving maniac when things went wrong. That was before I learned that there is no such thing. You can have a nice buddy, a nice grandparent, a nice teacher, but there is no such thing as a nice parent.
Sure, we all want to be nice. We start off that way and try being nice for a while, but the problem is that “nice” just doesn’t work. Try being nice and your kids will own you. You know what does work? Being a raving maniac. That’s what works.
That’s why the raving maniac parenting method is method-of-choice the world over.
Let’s go over it once more, just to make sure you have it.
Nice = Doesn’t work (i.e. Your child grows up and makes frequent appearances on one of those prison reality shows.)
Raving Maniac = Successful parenting! (i.e. The only time your kid is on TV is when he’s holding a trophy.)
I love watching new parents interacting with their little ones as they discover this revelation for the first time.
“Honey, Mommy says to get away from the electrical cords. No, no, honey. Nooo. Cords are dangerous, sweetie. Dan-ger-ous. No… NO! I SAID GET AWAY FROM THE STINKIN’ CORDS!”
If the people we were before we had kids could see us now, they wouldn’t even recognize us.
So, you ask, how does it ever get to that point? What causes this transformation from a relatively normal person into this Incredible Hulk-type parent? What is the catalyst for this behavior?
I think it’s the fact that kids never shut their mouths. Ever. You’ve got this incessant monologue (or polylogue, if you have more than one kid) running all the time and you can’t hear yourself think.
We drove to Florida on vacation last year with the kids in the back seat and they talked the whole time. About three or four hours into the trip they started playing that cloud game where they look at the clouds and see what images they can see.
“Look, Dad, that one’s an angel. Look over there, Daddy. There’s a mommy holding a baby. Look, Daddy, there’s a little doggy. Look, Daddy (ad infinitum).”
While they were doing this, it occurred to me that the cloud game is sort of like an inkblot test. They were seeing all of these beautiful images, so I was thinking that they must have wonderful little psyches. But it was starting to worry me about my own, because I was looking at the exact same cloud formations and seeing completely different pictures.
“Look at that one over there, kids. That one looks like a dad driving off leaving the kids at the gas station. That one over there looks like a daddy throwing himself out of the window of a car.”
Well, it’s time to wrap this up and go pick up the kids. And, hey, if you happen to see me acting like a raving maniac out in public sometime—well, I’m pretty good at it, so feel free to applaud.
© 2021 Charles Marshall. Charles Marshall is a nationally known humorous motivational speaker and author. Visit his Web site www.CharlesMarshallSpeaker.com or contact him via e-mail at Charles@CharlesMarshallSpeaker.com