Despite the fact that most of my growing up occurred in the 1990s (and definitely most of what I remember) I am a child who wholly and completely immersed herself in the pop culture of the 1980s. I have watched Back to the Future, Indiana Jones, The Princess Bride, and Clue more times than I can count. We're talking every day for weeks or months at a time in some cases. But one series towered above them all: Star Wars. Return of the Jedi (which came out when I was 6 months old) is the first movie I ever saw. I mean, at 6 months old I don't know how much I can say I actually even saw, but it's a symbolic viewing. Something so influential on my young and impressionable psyche was bound to leave an indelible mark on me... including on how I parent.
Don't you get all nerd-shaming on me and rolling your eyes, people! I know I'm not alone. These movies are the pure and distilled childhood of millions of Millennials. (And Gen X-ers... Hi there, Gen X people! You guys look amazing with grey hair. It's working for you.) It makes perfect sense that, consciously and unconsciously, Star Wars creeps into some of the unclaimed corners of your parenting and take hold. For example...
Sword Fights Almost Always Turn Into Lightsaber Fights
Complete with sound effects, of course. How do you know it's a lightsaber fight if you don't add in sound effects? Also, for namby-pamby parents like me who hate violence, I feel like there's a level of fantasy to lightsaber dueling that sort of ameliorates the fact that we're making a game of combat.
When One Of Your Kids Starts Getting Into Princesses, You Will Immediately Point Out Leia Is A Princess
Because amid all the twittering, hapless maidens whose primary strengths include hair tossing, unquestioningly riding off with strangers, and being followed about by unnaturally friendly animals, it's important to introduce some badasses into the mix. Leia Organa is nothing if not a badass.
You Will Speak To Your Children The Way Han Speaks To Luke
Maybe not at the beginning of Episode IV, where he's all gruff and callous (except when they wake us up at 5:00 a.m. on a Saturday; You deserve no courtesy at that hour, child), but later on, once they've established a friendship. He's joking and warm with a tinge of sarcasm wrapped up in a paternal protectiveness.
"Piggyback" Rides? No. Tauntaunback Rides.
Who doesn't want to ride a tauntaun?! Come on. They're way cooler than pigs (though pigs are pretty adorable)...
You Become Yoda When You Need To Encourage Them With Tough Love
Yoda was lively, frisky, and fun, but the dude had powers. Mad powers, and you will draw on the strength of your inner Yoda to guide your child through life's travails just as the Master himself guided Luke in the ways of the Force. It won't always be easy on them, or you, but with the Force as your ally you will both get through.
When You Babywear, You Always Pretend To Be Luke Carrying Yoda
My daughter is totally my Yoda these days. She speaks kind of broken English, she's usually pretty calm, but she has a ton of energy and is not above smacking me over the head if she feels I'm doing something wrong.
You honestly don't do it on purpose anymore. It just flows out of you... not unlike the Force; its energy surrounds us and binds us... see? See?! I'm doing it now.
You Turn Into Admiral Ackbar When You Realize Your Child Has Become Engaged In A Triggering Situation
Whether you've put on the shirt with the tag that scratches the back of their neck, or you served them a "broken" cracker, or you didn't know there was going to be a bear in the movie you are watching and they are terrified of bears... it's too late now and a meltdown is eminent. FML.
Images: Gordon Tarpley/Flickr; Giphy(9)