Tag Archives: kids

When Is The Right Time To Start Crushing Your Children With Pressure?

Today I found myself giving my son a pep talk. My words were the result of my expectations, and I was communicating them in a motivational fashion. It went a little bit like this….. “Son, don’t be allergic to peanuts!! I know you’re too young to understand right now, but your inability to consume peanut butter will put a real strain on this family. We eat peanut butter on toast almost all of the time. I love peanuts son!!! Not the way I love you…. I love you more, but I do love peanuts and peanut butter son, and I need you to not have a peanut allergy. Do you understand???” We were about to give him peanut butter for the 2nd time in his life (which they say is when the allergy will show up). He’s 16 months old.

I’m certain my son didn’t understand the full extent of what I was saying. He’s a pretty smart kid, but not the ‘I know how to talk’ kind of smart. Not yet anyways. He looked at me when I gave the speech, so I know he was listening. I also know that I was holding a cracker at the time of the speech, and he really likes crackers, so I’m not sure if he was focused on Daddy, or simply waiting for me to feed his bottomless pit of a stomach. As I was talking, I felt myself transferring my pressure and anxiety on to his little shoulders. Almost like it was in slow motion, I could feel the disapproving looks of my wife, mother, sister and 3 month old nephew, who were all in the room. Was it too soon? Is he not ready to handle the pressure? Was I wrong?

Parents usually suck at life, and what’s the point of having kids if not to try to make them suck less than we do. We pressure our kids. Whether we mean to or not, we just do. We have to. Somehow if our kids end up not as completely stupid as we all are, then we feel that we’ve redeemed ourselves for our miserably disappointing lives. We can then take FULL credit for their achievements and accomplishments.

I’ve been watching the Olympics a lot this week. What do you notice when you watch the Olympics?? A lot of kids under a lot of pressure. Not only from their parents, but signing up for the Olympics means you get pressure from everybody else’s parents too. Especially if you’re from the same country as them. (The media has the nerve to get on Patrick Chan for not winning a Gold in Figure Skating. He won a Silver, which is awesome, but that’s not good enough for certain rotten cheese doodle eating members of the Canadian Sports Media, but that’s another story). For them to be some of the world’s best athletes, they have to be under pressure. Oh, I know what you’re thinking…. ‘They all put themselves under that pressure because they are so dedicated to their craft’. Sure, that’s probably true, but they learned it somewhere.

It starts at home. It can start when you’re a toddler, and it can start with your father trying to talk you out of having an allergy. Hey, if my son goes to the Olympics someday and ‘puts a lot of pressure on himself to be the best’, I’ll know in my heart of hearts that me pressuring him into not being allergic to peanuts made him a more intense competitor. You can never start too young. Crushing them with your hopes and dreams! They’ll have to endure it later on anyways. You’re not doing them any favors by waiting until they’re 7 or 8 years old.

Now I was going to stop there, and I’m not saying that I don’t trust my readers to know when I’m joking, but……. I’m sort of joking about some of this. Kind of.


Who’s That On Your Profile Pic?

I’m revisiting a rant from my pre-Wordpress days. I don’t know why it made me so many enemies at the time. Not real enemies I guess, but there were a lot of people with differing opinions about it, and that makes me happy because I do like to stir it up from time to time.

On a Facebook status update I once said that I hated it when people used pictures of their children as their profile pics. Last night at a bar, a friend fondly recalled this as me ‘hating when people post pictures of their kids on Facebook’. That is NOT EVEN THE SAME THING!

Facebook logo

I have this belief that a Facebook profile picture should be a picture of the person whose profile it is. Call me old-fashioned! This is the picture that I see when I’m trying to figure out who you are. This is the picture that I see when you leave a comment on my page. Sometimes when people have babies, they like to put a picture of the baby as their profile pic. I don’t like that! If your kid needs to be the profile pic, then maybe it’s time for them to have their own page.

I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t have pictures of your kids on Facebook. Post as many pics of your kids as you want!! In photo albums. I love seeing your beautiful families. Just not on the profile pic. That should be you. Can it be a pic with you with your kid? Sure…. but not your kid solo. It irritates me.

Maybe it’s because when I see a Facebook comment, I like to look at the person’s picture and imagine them saying that to me. Or maybe it’s just that I don’t want to picture a newborn baby delivering a social commentary about how the mayor of Toronto is a crackhead, or a 4-year-old posting a YouTube clip of a Led Zeppelin video. Take responsibility for your status updates, and stop hiding behind your kids. It’s like not looking me in the eye when you talk to me.

When I first presented this idea to people, I got a lot of that ‘When you have a kid, you’ll understand’ business. Well I do have a kid now, and as much as it pains me to say, he’s substantially better looking than I am. While I’m happy to share that with my Facebook friends, I do not do so in the form of a profile pic….. cuz it aint his profile!!!

I know what you’re thinking….. what kind of thing is this to care about?? How much extra emotional energy does this guy have to be irritated by something so unimportant and trivial? It may surprise you (but at the 457 character mark, it shouldn’t because I never wrap up this quickly) that this is actually part of a bigger philosophy I have about parenting. I lacked credibility before I had a kid, so people didn’t want to hear my opinion on this, but like all the other parents who think they’re so damn smart because they managed to create a human (and they didn’t even have to go to school for it), I now would like to present my advice on parenting. Please feel free to give feedback, or to ignore as you see fit.

I think that too many parents give too much of themselves to the endeavour of raising their kids. There seems to be a breed of super-parents who have no lives outside of their kids. I don’t mean to criticize this because in a way, it’s the most selfless thing you can do. I’m certainly not suggesting that you should have kids without the intention of going ‘all-in’ either…. that wouldn’t be right. Somewhere along the line though, the world has seen armies of interesting people get into the ‘human creation’ game, and come out the other side ‘not-too-interesting’. I can see how it happens too. This is an all-consuming undertaking, this parenting thing…. not for the weak-hearted!

Maybe there’s a way we can do this without totally losing our identity though…. maybe there’s a way we can ‘keep our own photo as our profile pic’ so to speak…..I know there’s not a lot of time to do things we want to do, and when we get that extra time, the first thing we think of is what else can we do for our children…. which is great! I’m sure they appreciate it.

The thing is that one day they’ll get older. One day, they’ll want to know about YOUR life. One day, they’ll want to know that YOU had hopes and dreams, and at least occasionally went after them. At the time that they reach a certain age and have their own family, they might want to know that YOU didn’t just shut it down and live through them exclusively, but that maybe YOU still had a few tricks up your sleeve, and maybe YOU were someone interesting who they could really look up to.

So all you super-parents out there, I’m sure your babies appreciate all you do for them, and this isn’t meant to be-little any of the sacrifices you make. It’s just to remind you that your babies want you to be happy, even if they don’t know it yet. They want you to still live your life (or at least as much of it as you have time for). Most importantly your babies want you to be a person of interest, not just their parent. They won’t be offended if you take back your identity…. they’ll respect you for it in the end (providing you don’t do a complete 180 and start becoming a crappy parent, that’s not what I’m trying to say). Take some of your life back if you can! Start with that profile pic. YOU ARE STILL A PERSON!

A message of inspiration from Thoughts and Rants in Jogging Pants 🙂