I was hanging out with some moms in the playground the other day and I heard one of them say something. It was really hard to hear her with her face all buried in the sandbox (she was playing “Hurricane Marmaduke vs. the Amagansett Dunes” with her toddler) and we were all kind of distracted with our mortars and pestles and fielding calls from Top Tier Private School Brokers. But something told us this was important. The mother rose up. “Parents! We are lost! Who will help us find our one true path?” A shower of feral cat litter fell from her poorly managed hair like a divine light upon us all.
Obviously, this created quite a stir among the moms, at least the ones who weren’t busy sending dirty texts to the hot dads they were having affairs with. After a little debate about whether it was better for moms to work or stay home (that one CFO on her day off totally ruined her gel manicure scratching the homeschooler’s eyes out) we agreed that our savior would have to be a person who had no experience at all with parenting. Who else but a non-parent could have the proper perspective to see just how wrong we all are?
So it was pretty hard for me not to be thinking weird religious thoughts when I saw that piece by Frank Bruni in the Times today. It was like he heard our prayers, and there, from the unsullied vantage point of his Vincente Wolf chair, was able to point out every little flaw with laser precision.
It was like he saw EVERYTHING.
The obsessing over what kids eat, or watch on TV.
The helicopter people.
That whole annoying thing about people thinking parenting is a “thing” and should be done in a certain way, when in the old days people just flailed around and let their kids grow up however and it just kind of worked. Or it worked ok for some people and not for others, but really, is the percentage that much different now anyway?
Some people don’t think Frank is the real savior because all his ideas were already published in earlier articles in the Styles section. But I disagree, because who would ever have time to go back and look in the archives, especially when the Times’ search engine is not that great? This is the 21st century. If you can’t aggregate the message properly, who’s going to have the time to read it? Not all these parents busy with their intricate webs of wrongdoings!
Then there’s that weird part at the end where he acts like actually parents should just “relax” and not worry so much (except I guess about all the annoying things he told them to stop doing?) And that it will all be OK, as long as you didn’t give birth to a lemon in the first place. Because maybe everything you’re doing is irrelevant and your kids just are who they are, so maybe you should just give up and focus on something else, like food or politics.
It’s a little confusing, but then, what major spiritual doctrine is not without its contradictions? I am just grateful to have the opportunity to spread the gospel here, on such a special day, to all of you. You can ignore it if you want, but don’t call me from the gates of Parenting Hell. Wait, make that Parent Hell. Parenting wasn’t even a verb until a couple of decades ago.