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The Things You Are Not Supposed to Say

Being an adult is hard. Being a parent is even harder. The work load is out of control and I am somehow supposed to not only teach these small people how to read, have good manners and grow up to be responsible, productive adults but also feed them and do their laundry.

On top of that we are expected to haul them around to numerous extracurricular activities to ensure that they are well-rounded and can get into a good college. During these lessons and den meetings and practices and rehearsals we are expected to play the political game. We are supposed to make friends with the “right” parents and say the “right” things.

The following is a list of things you are not supposed to discuss.

1) The first six months of parenthood were the worst six months of my life.

This is a true story. When my twins were babies I thought I was going to die. I was miserable. I wanted to be a mother so badly, then I got my wish and it was a nightmare. There was NICU, then one was colicky and the other had reflux and threw up on me eight times a day for six months. Someone was always crying. I rarely had time to bathe or brush my teeth. I averaged two non-consecutive hours of sleep each night. It was miserable.

It got better. I sleep and bathe now, but the beginning was hard. It wasn’t blissful, it was hellish. I know I am not supposed to say that, but there it is.

I love my kids, but the beginning part sucked.

2) I can’t stand that kid.

You know the kid. There is that one kid that you just don’t like. You know the one I am talking about – the girl that pits the other little girls against one another, the boy that you know is in the woods torturing squirrels, the little blond girl with the dead eyes.

I personally treat children as I treat adults so it isn’t surprising to me when I run across a child that I just don’t like, but you are not supposed to say that.

3) I hope our team loses.

I have bad sportsmanship. I have a bad attitude. Clearly I am a horrible parent. I hope our team loses.

If our team loses in the tournament this weekend we don’t have to play anymore baseball until spring clearing the way for scout camping, family vacations and piano lessons.

4) They haven’t bathed in four days.

Listen, it happens. We all know it. We get busy and things fall through the cracks and if it is between the math homework that is due tomorrow and a shower the word problems win.

5) We don’t go to church.

You are absolutely allowed to be Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist, but people get nervous when you say that you are an Atheist. I got chastised the other day for saying “We are Atheists” because the person I was talking to said I shouldn’t speak for my children when maybe they believed in God.

I have a neighbor that is a pagan and while the other neighbors are creeped out by her I don’t think anybody tells her to her face that she is raising her kid wrong.

6) Poop

Oh, you can talk about baby poop or dog crap all day long, but adult human excrement is totally off the table as subject matter.

Even if you have IBS you are really only supposed to say “I have stomach issues” or the very bold might refer to “intestinal distress”, but even when you are trying to convey the very common goal for parents of young children of wanting to go to the bathroom all by yourself you are really only supposed to act like you are talking about peeing.

I don’t get this at all. We all go #2 every day if we are healthy.

7) I Can’t Afford It

All those after school activities add up. Clothes aren’t free and food is nuts. Braces are exorbitant. It is fine to say you aren’t taking a vacation because you don’t have the money. If you really pushed it you could probably say you aren’t doing karate again because it is just too expensive, but you can’t say that you had to stop taking your child to occupational therapy because you could not afford the $150 a week out of pocket. Not in mixed company anyway. Not even if it is true.

* * *

What is it about adulthood and parenting in particular that makes certain subjects taboo?

What subjects did I miss?

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