As parents, we love our children more than anything in the world (except guacamole). They inspire in us a hitherto unimagined flood of emotions and musings. This much we know. We talk about it all the time, all the lovely feelings that come along with parenthood. What we don’t talk about too much is that sometimes not all of those musings are the lovey-dovey kind. This is why one of the most important tools one can have in their parenting kit is “a filter.” Because it’s not always necessary (or even advisable) to say every thought out loud to our kids, especially when it comes to some of the things we think about them.
Look, it’s not that we’re all secretly hating our children and the loving parent thing we show to the public is all fake. The loving parent stuff is very much real. It’s realer, in fact, than whatever pissy thought we’re having in a moment of our kids being obnoxious that we’re suppressing. It calls to mind this brilliant quote from Dr. Horrible:
“Sometimes people are layered… There’s something totally different underneath than what’s on the surface ... And sometimes there’s a third, even deeper level, and that one is the same as the top surface one. Like with pie.”
In short, parents are like pies: Whatever is going on inside is contained in the context of something much more powerful. But any parent who tells you that they do not routinely have inhospitable or uncharitable thoughts about their children is a lying liar who lies. Reaching from the dark annals of my own mom-mind, and reaching out to fellow parents, I’ve compiled a list of thoughts we regularly have about our children, but love them too much to voice.
“You Are Such An Asshole.”
When I asked my fellow parents this question — what is something you've thought about your kids that you feel weird admitting to? — this answer was always included, always in those exact words. Do you know why? Because kids are totally assholes. Or, rather, they can be. That’s basically true of everyone on the planet at some point, but the thing with kids is that they don’t know when they really need to keep their jerk behavior under wraps. As a parent, there gets to be a point where there’s only so much you can take before you begin to admit to yourself, “Yeah, you’re being a dick right now.”
“This Virus You Have Is Awesome Because It’s Making You Sleep All The Time!”
No one wants to see their children suffer. When your little one is tired and coughing or throwing up or aching, you hurt with them and you would do anything to make them feel better. But when they’re sleeping? No one’s complaining, no one’s hurting, and everything is quiet and stays clean. You can’t admit that you love this, because it makes you sound callous, but everyone who has been in this position thinks it. You enjoy reading quietly with a cup of tea, mama. You’ve earned it.
“I Don’t Think You’re Ever Growing Into Those Ears, Kid.”
Everyone thinks their child is beautiful. But parents aren’t always completely blind to our kids’ physical quirks. We don’t care, of course, and their unique features make them even more precious to us, but just because we don’t say anything about them doesn’t mean we don’t notice.
“I Don’t Like You At All Right Now.”
You will always love your children… but you won’t always like them. Whether they’re being annoying, mean, petulant, whiny, or clingy, sometimes you just want nothing to do with them. Or sometimes it’s like, “We have zero in common at the moment. I don’t want to do any of the things you are insisting we do.” It’s OK, though. Love conquers all, even being a giant pain in the ass.
“You Need To Stop Touching Me Right Now.”
There is nothing in the world like getting a warm, loving hug and kiss from your child, except for maybe cuddling up with them on the couch and just enjoying one another’s company. There is also little more annoying than being constantly and aggressively grabbed by a small human who feels completely entitled to your personal space. Sometimes you just don’t want to be trapped underneath all that affection. It’s like, “We buy you all these toys. Can’t you go clamber on them for a while?”
“If They Get Hurt Doing That Stupid Thing I Keep Telling Them Not To Do, Maybe They’ll Finally Stop Doing It.”
Not seriously hurt, obviously. But just enough of a shock to the system that makes them goddamn listen to you for once in their goddamn lives.
“You Are Hilarious When You Cry.”
I once had a friend who extolled the virtues of allowing yourself a daily cry (which seems excessive to me, but whatever). If kids only had one cry a day, parents would be stoked, but kids cry over everything. My son once started sobbing because he saw a picture of a duck that made him sad. So you know what parents do? We laugh. Because sometimes they cry for hilarious, stupid reasons. Of course kids are uber-crazy sensitive, and they don’t take kindly to you laughing in their faces, so you have to keep it inside.
“Not The Brightest Bulb, Are Ya, Kiddo?”
So we’ve covered the fact that sometimes our kids are assholes, goofy looking, obnoxious, annoying, emotional, and now, stupid. It’s fine. They’re kids. Everyone is stupid when they’re a kid, even the smart kids. But sometimes it strikes you just how much these little ones have to learn.
“You’re Really Bad At This.”
Sometimes this is thought in amusement. Like, “Oh my God, you’re trying to tap dance right now but you suck and that’s adorable.” Other times you think it when your kid is “helping” you with something or doing something all by themselves, and you impatiently and annoyedly think, “I could have done this seventeen times already, for the love of God would you hurry it up?” But in both cases you obviously say nothing, because you’re trying to encourage creativity and independence and this is how they learn (at least you hope so, because they need a lot of work).
“It Was Only Funny The First Time. Shut Up.”
Repetition is important to kids. They like to read the same books, watch the same movies, and eat the same foods over and over and over again. Constantly. Incessantly. Heaven help you on the day you genuinely laugh at something they say, because they’re going to be saying it about 20 times a day for the next week or two. I hope it was really funny.
Images: Fox; Giphy(10)