From the time I was in preschool, the "teacher's notes" section of my report cards unfailingly described me as "enthusiastic." It's carried through to this day, so it's no wonder that, for a long time now, I've proudly accept the fact that I'm a really big nerd. Because what is being a nerd, after all, if not having a deep and enthusiastic love of something? Nerd qualities set us up to be excellent parents, too. In fact, nerdy parents are the best, and every kid could stand to benefit from our admirable qualities.
Let's be clear on something, though: no one else can label you a nerd. It can only ever mean anything as a self-declaration. But let's also be clear on something: if you have an entire bookshelf dedicated to Octavia Butler and Ursula K. LeGuin, you should probably admit you're probably a nerd. Or if you have a whole room dedicated to crafting? You're probably a nerd. Were you part of a Game of Thrones pool? Nerd. Disney-themed living room? Definite nerd.
And it's cool, dudes! Being a nerd is fun and nothing to be ashamed of! Embracing the nerd label is a sign of not only enthusiasm but of accepting who you really are, regardless of what other people think of you and your interests. This is good for us and for our kids, and for the following reasons:
We Never Really Grew Up
One of my favorite things about being a nerd is that I'm basically a grown-up child. Lots of adults lost that spark of carefree enthusiasm somewhere along the way (which isn't something I judge, because adulthood is exhausting and doesn't always leave time for anything else), but not nerds. Somewhere in them, more prominently, perhaps, than in most people, is a determination to be joyful about something (even if that "something" is practically-speaking unimportant).
That's not to say nerds don't take the subject of their nerdiness seriously. (And some people take it too seriously. Looking at you, Star Wars fans who harassed Kelly Marie Tran until she deleted her Instagram account, you jerks.) But unless they're missing the point of being a nerd entirely, they're approaching at least a part of their life with a childlike sense of fun and joy.
Our Interests Are Often Kid-Friendly
Anyone can be a nerd about anything, but in my experience, people most likely to identify as nerds are the ones whose interest either started in childhood or has a childlike bent to it. For example, fantasy novels, toy collecting, Star Wars, superheroes, My Little Pony. So you can imagine how excited these delightful dweebs are to share their interest, and how excited their kids are to delve in with them.
Kids Will See All The Nerdy Movies Before Anyone
As soon as they are old enough, they will be first in line to midnight showings of all the Marvel movies (or Disney movies or whatever movies you're into).
Nerdy Parents Have The Best Toys
I mean this literally and figuratively, depending on a parent's chosen interest. Maybe it's literal toys (which, certainly, will take a fair amount of negotiation as to which of "daddy's or mommy's toys" a kid is allowed to play with) or maybe you're just an audio-visual nerd who has a super cool TV and stereo system. Maybe you're into cos-play and have a room full of supplies that your kid can get creative with. Maybe you're a film buff and have shelves upon shelves of cool movies. In any case, being a nerd often comes with stuff and if there's one thing children love it's stuff.
So Much Cool Merch
You can bet that children of nerdy parents are going to be decked out in onesies, t-shirts, dresses, etc with their parents favorite fandoms emblazoned across the front: because everyone needs to know that they must "Snuggle This Muggle!"
Kid's room? Similarly dorky, loaded up with bedsheets and decorations that pay homage to their parent's passion. Of course, as they get older and develop their own taste and interest, they may forgo their parents influence... but, like, not if we can help it? I'm just saying: have you considered the symbolism pervasive throughout Lord of the Rings?!
We'll Encourage Our Kids' Passions
As adult nerds, we'll understand how much it means when someone shares your interest, especially if it's an interest most people think is weird or somehow beneath them. So nerd parents are going to be encouraging in their children's dorky hobbies and interests. Even if we don't get it ourselves, we'll know that it means something to them, and that makes it important.
You'll Almost Certainly Be Surrounded By A Ton Of Books
I'm not saying all nerds are big readers. I'm just saying the Venn diagram between nerds and book worms has a whole lot of overlap. And speaking from experience, a huge reason I'm a huge reader today (and my partner feels the same) is that I was surrounded by bookshelves as a kid. The love affair started early and it's been a whirlwind ever since.
We're Passionate & Enthusiastic
These qualities are what define someone as a nerd and, ultimately, make someone a great parent. I cannot overstate how far enthusiasm will take you after months of inadequate sleep and a baby chomping on your nipples.
Halloween Costumes Will *Rock*
Surely, there is no nerdier holiday that Halloween. It's basically like a nation-wide ComicCon. It's the one day a year nerds can go out into the general population and dork out in full glory. We will absolutely get our kids in on that, too, ideally with a family costume.
(I'm working on convincing my husband and children to go as The Addams Family this year: I can feel I'm getting close to living my best life as Morticia.)
Built-In Bonding Activities
Whether it's sitting down and reading your favorite manga with your new reader, showing them Star Trek for the first time, or waiting until they're old enough to handle Game of Thrones, nerdom has a lot of opportunities for you to share something with your child (and lots of ways to engage even within a single interest). You don't have to be a nerd in order to bond with your child, of course, but it gives you even more ways to do so.
Kids Have A Parent Who Has Embraced Who They Are
I can't stress enough how important having a strong sense of self is to having a positive parenting experience, and nerds have nothing if not a very strong sense of self. Nerds recognize that their passion is not everyone else's, shrugged and said, "That's OK, I know what I like and it's this."
That sense of "you doing you" is going to help you out in ways both big and small when you're raising a child. Your kid will benefit in seeing someone who is comfortable embracing their passions with their whole heart.