Do Parents Get Combat Pay?

23 Apr


My favorite memories of my parents are of Ma and Daddy lounging about, sipping drinks, reading newspapers, watching David Lean marathons, munching on snacks, laughing easily… generally having a good time and keeping an eye out for me, in case I was up to no good, which I frequently was.

Parenting seemed an okay sort of gig when I thought of them. I mean, I remember throwing up a fair bit for no reason at all and coming home with an infectious disease or two, which I suppose wasn’t too much fun for the two of them, but in the absence of pods from which human beings can spring fully grown, this rearing the fruit of your loins thing seemed pretty civilized. Didn’t appear to harm them any so I thought I might one day give it a shot myself.

No longer.

I look at parents of my generation and most of them don’t really appear to enjoy it all that much. They’re all too busy being shamed in public and drowning in guilt for doing whatever it is that they do to their kids.

  • Are you giving your kids special classes? How dare you! Don’t you know you’re depriving them of their precious childhood?
  • Are you not giving your kids special classes? How dare you! Don’t you know they’re essential if you want them to grow up into exceptional people?
  • Are your kids on medication? How dare you! Don’t you know that’s just warped and harmful to their tiny bodies?
  • Are your kids not on medication? How dare you! Don’t you know your kid’s life could be so much better if you just gave him a couple of pills?
  • Are you a young mother? How dare you! Don’t you know older mothers breed smarter children? Are you happy now your kids are morons?
  • Are you an older mother? How dare you! Kids aren’t fashion accessories you save up to buy so you can then show off! If you wanted kids then you should’ve had them when God and your ovaries wanted you to have them, not when you chose!
  • Do you have a nanny or a housekeeper? How dare you! If all you wanted to do was palm your kids off on other people, then why did you have them?
  • Don’t you have a nanny or a housekeeper? How dare you! Your superwoman complex is so off-putting! And your house is a mess!
  • Do you spank your kids? How dare you! Do you want to scar them for life?
  • Don’t you ever spank your kids? How dare you! Do you want them to grow up into undisciplined hooligans? You owe society something too, you know!
  • Are you sending your kids to private school? How dare you! Do you want them to grow up into overprivileged snots?
  • Are you sending your kids to public school? How dare you! Your kids shouldn’t be sacrificed on the altar of your social beliefs!

Hey, I have a question for you parents: how on earth do you get out of bed every morning?

[Also read: Martyr in the House via Wordjunkie]


Posted by on April 23, 2009 in Life


13 responses to “Do Parents Get Combat Pay?

  1. Smitha

    April 23, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Lol!! As a parent I can vouch for the fact that everything you’ve listed down is true 🙂
    ‘how on earth do you get out of bed every morning’ – How I wish I could answer that 🙂

  2. Kokonad

    April 23, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    LOL… my brother and sister-in-law are raising a kid now… and I had NO IDEA something like this could be happening! Calling them tonight…
    Meanwhile, that spanking thing reminded me of this news blooper.

  3. Gaurav

    April 23, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    Hilarious! I know a few couples who are raising their kids now…before this post, they seemed just fine hangin’ in there, now i have my own questions as to how close or far they are from having a nervous breakdown.. 🙂

  4. M

    April 23, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    LOL – your ctrl-c-ctrl-v skills are alive and well, I see! 😀

    We as a generation do seem to go in for navel-gazing, in whatever we do, including parenting 🙂

    I do know that 9 years down t he road, I am considerably more mellow, tending to agree with my parents’ view that it all comes out in the wash…or not!


  5. sraboneyghose

    April 23, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    LOL…I can identify with your list…I think people have become very competitive and will say anything to put down another person’s parenting skills or child so that they and their kids look better…

  6. Mamma Mia Me A Mamma

    April 24, 2009 at 8:05 am

    Oh I LOVE this!! This is so BRILLIANTLY written! This is also why we need clones!

  7. Amrita

    April 24, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    Smitha – it must be the patience of people accustomed to a small child yelling “no no no” right when there are five things that need doing!

    Koke – give ’em my condolences 😛 As for Fox “news”… they just discovered what “teabagging” means, give em some time to catch up.

    Gaurav – hey you’re probably their one friend who doesn’t care and they’re thankful for it! 😀

    M – right? Why borrow trouble? My mom did the whole dance class-music lessons bit too but I don’t remember her stressing out about it and thinking my performance was a reflection on her validity as a mother. Chillax people!

    Bones – and if it actually did make some difference in the kids’ lives then it would’ve been worth something.. as it is, everybody looks bloody miserable. sigh.

    Mamma – ooh, someone’s been getting the full treatment, eh? 🙂

  8. Wais Wombat

    April 25, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    Oooh, a topic after my own heart! But really, parenting is neither as precious as its proponents pipe it up to be, nor half as thankless as that traumatized tantrum-bearer’s toot will tell you it is. The sword of Damocles is certainly not dangling over your head at all times.

    And scandalous as it perhaps sounds, I’ve found (retrospectively, of course, so yeah, not in time to help me!) that first-time sex and first-time parenting share three of the same precepts: (Disclaimer: Unless you’re Juno, the former is generally NOT what launches you headlong into the latter!)

    1) Trust your own instincts over “How To” manuals, “What To Expect” books and free advice from the perennially overflowing cups of well-meaning others, no matter what their proclaimed proficiency.
    2) Expect the unexpected.
    3) Chillax (you said it)! 🙂 The toboggan is just as good a way to negotiate that snowy, slippery slope as a pair of skis. (In other words, no need to be all control freaky; just sit back and enjoy the ride, or not! It is what it is.)

    But seriously, tune out all those “others” at all times. And if you’re still possessed by a desperate urge to LEARN the ropes, why not do so from your own kid? At the end of the day, they manage you just as much as you manage them.

    And no, Wordsworth wasn’t merely whizzpopping when he proclaimed: “The Child is Father of the man!” 🙂

  9. Mudra

    April 25, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    So true! 😀

  10. desiGirl

    April 26, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Oh Ams, to think you foolishly offered to babysit if and when I have a daughter….

  11. Amrita

    April 27, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    WW – Thank you! And this is why I plan on eschewing the baby books and just asking people I know about what to do and what not to do. If I screw up, I screw up. It was good enough for my mom, and it’s good enough for me!

    Mudra – 🙂

    DG – ah, but you’ll notice we live in separate countries 😀

  12. Mom Gone Mad

    April 28, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Amrita, you drove your parents to – sipping drinks?!!! Shame, child, shame!

    Having survived three days of being puked upon, the prospect of alchohol (in quantities you won’t believe) IS what is getting us out of bed.

    That and a healthy disregard for “authority”, a common regard for gallows humour, “in-the trenches-together-eye-rolling” and a rather light take on education, nutrition and similiar “holy parent stuff”.

    And we’ve already covered the alchohol. So yes, Chillax parents are still out there:-) (secretly authoring “The Zen of Benign Neglect”)

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