Parents, will you be judged as you venture out of the house with kids? Take the test!

I see you have decided to leave your house with your children, you foolish, foolish person.

Do you think you can avoid comments, judgmental stares, or eye rolls from friends, family members, and complete strangers as you exist in the world with young humans? Take the test and see! 


First up: getting somewhere.

I see you have a baby in tow. Do you…

Take a stroller?

Oh, I’m sorry, your baby will always feel neglected and pushed away, because you are literally pushing them away. Your child will never know what it is to feel loved. 

Wear the baby?

Ugh, guess you’re one of those parents, then? Can’t cut that umbilical cord? Do you need your baby close to you? They’ll never grow up to be individuals capable of making decisions now. 


Next, an activity.

Phew! You made it to the park! Now while you’re here do you…

Sit down and watch your kids play?

You’re a neglectful parent who probably allows their kids to *gasp* go up the down part of the slide. Your kids will become criminals who can’t operate successfully in society. 

Go around the park playing with them? 

You’re a hovering, overprotective helicopter parent who makes your child’s life too easy and are too involved with their lives for them to operate successfully in society someday. 


Deciding where to eat

Uh oh, you’re out and need to eat somewhere other than your own home. It’s time to make some decisions on where to eat. Do you… 

Opt for a kid-friendly fast food place? 

Seriously?!? You’re going to feed them that junk? It’s 2020! You’ve gotta be kidding, right? That stuff is so gross for them! It’s. Not. Even. Organic. 

Go eat at a real (not-too-fancy, but sit-down) restaurant? 

Restaurants are for adults, not for children. It doesn’t matter that in order for children to learn how to eat at restaurants they have to actually practice eating at restaurants, which means going to restaurants. It doesn’t matter if the restaurant has a kids’ menu. There are other adults there without children, and your children’s presence there will ruin their day. 


Actually eating out

You sit down at your food establishment of choice, are seated, and the kids are getting a little antsy in their pantsies after they’ve doodled with crayons on the paper placemat. Nothing too raucous, but they’re starting to get bored and the food hasn’t arrived yet. Do you…

Hand them your phone? 

You’re not even going to engage with your kids?!? Ugh, what are you teaching them about human interaction? Have you not read the millions of articles about limiting screen time? What is wrong with you?? 

Not hand them your phone? 

Can’t you keep your kids quieter?!? Why can’t they behave like adults? Isn’t there some sort of screen you can hand them? 


Riding on the train

You need to get across the city? It’s time to take the train! Do you…

Sit next to them and read them a book of poetry at a reasonable, conversation-level volume*? 

Eye roll. Ugh. Can’t you be quiet? Do I have to hear you speak, to your child, no less? What is this, some sort of public space where people are allowed to engage and talk to each other? 

Hand them your phone/electronic device?

Seriously? Seriously?! Can’t you connect with your kids? We just went over this. Have them look out the window! Play games with them! It doesn’t matter that if you were on the train alone, you would be looking at your phone. That’s entirely beside the point for some reason. 

*This is not hyperbolic. This literally happened to me. 


Feeding your kid a snack

It’s a long time between your meal and the next one, and your kids are hungry and tired from all the activities they’ve been doing. Plus, they’re usually fed a snack at school around this time. Do you…

Hand them a snack? 

You know, the French don’t snack at all. Why can’t you be more like the French, despite neither being French nor living in France? Shouldn’t they be eating something healthier? Why are you feeding them junk? 

Not hand them a snack?

Can’t you see they’re hungry? Kids need to eat more regularly! They’re growing! Now they’re angry and hungry and getting whiny. Why didn’t you plan ahead more? You should have known they would get hungry! 


Breathing

You need to take a breath of oxygen in order to stay alive as it is a basic function of human existence. Do you…

Breathe?

That is now one breath of oxygen on this planet your children cannot inhale, you selfish cretin. 

Not breathe?

You have passed out and possibly died. However, you will still be responsible for all snack and beverage requests from your children, regardless of the status of your consciousness.


So, how did you do? Did you avoid getting judged? You didn’t?!? Wow, it’s almost like the game is rigged against parents or something.


My House Looks Like Two Young Children, Two Tired Adults, and a Dog Live Here.

(And I just can’t be sorry about that anymore.)

Hello! It’s so good to talk to you! Would you want to come over here some time and hang out while the kids play? I can offer you tea, water, fizzy water that may or may not ruin your teeth depending on which article came out last week, coffee, and wine while we chat. You would? WOW! This is great news! 

There is one thing, though, and this is hard for me to admit. You’ll see it when you walk in. The thing is… 

My house looks like two young children, two tired adults, and a dog live here. 

There’s really a good explanation for it, I promise. You see, it’s because two young children, two tired adults, and a dog live here. 

I’ve been to many, many houses where there are more children or more dogs and just as many tired adults who live there, but it does not look like it. I marvel at houses like that. I want to live in those houses. 

But the thing is, my house is not those houses. And right now, it will not be those houses. My house looks like two young children, two tired adults, and a dog live here. 

I might have piles of unfolded laundry surrounding the dryer. In fact, I will definitely have piles of unfolded laundry surrounding the dryer. Sometimes they’ve been there a day. Other times they’ve been there a week. I’ll get to them tonight, I’ll say to you. They’re now a fixture of the house tour. And no matter how long I spend folding clothes, the piles of laundry keep growing and changing, and that is just how it is. 

My chairs look like people have sat and eaten Goldfish crackers in them for years. The throw pillows for my couch have a 30% chance of still being on the couch from the time I get up to let you in to the time you walk in the door. My children apparently have declared throw pillows an enemy of the sofa, and have waged war on them with a dogged determination I can only see as impressive at this point. My dog will most certainly have climbed into the exact spot you will want to sit in this opening-the-door-to-walking-in time as well. 

There are strollers in our living room because we use at least one of the strollers every day. I could spend time hiding them somewhere else in my home, but I could also spend time…not doing that. 

Every flat surface over the height of 5 feet has something fragile placed on it, not because they look good, but because otherwise they would most certainly be broken by now if placed anywhere else. 

I don’t say these things to frighten you away. I say these things because I have spent too much of my time worried that my house looks like two young children, two tired adults, and a dog live here. And I refuse to let myself miss out on the connections I would otherwise make because I’m actually embarrassed by the fact that my house looks like two young children, two tired adults, and a dog live here. 

If you’re here, know that I want you here. I want you to come in and be part of my life, so I can be a part of yours. I want to laugh with you, commiserate with you, learn from you, and discuss the terrible television I watch instead of making my house look better. I can bring over the boxed wine, schlep the throw pillows back onto the couch, and talk until it’s time for you to leave. 

I would love for my house not to look like two young children, two tired adults, and a dog live here, but the fact of the matter is: it does. And I wish I could be sorrier about it. 

That’s all I wanted you to know. 

So…how does next Saturday sound to you?