I keep seeing this ridiculous story all over my Facebook page. It may be hard for you to believe, but one set of parents hast sent another set of parents a bill for a birthday party no-show. While watching the development of this story (those mamas have taken it to Facebook now, and Money Mom wants to take No-Show Mom to small claims court for 15 British Pounds even though the latter just wants to make up for the sake of the kids) is a welcome distraction from the constant posts about Target Canada’s lamented exit from our glorious North, every time I see it I get more and more irritated by the whole scenario.
I mean, WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? I know that I’ve asked this question before, but somehow, nobody is ever able to provide me with a satisfactory answer. So, I ask again. What is wrong with this woman who thinks she should BILL someone for not showing up to her kid’s party?
I feel like people have lost all perspective. And by people, I mean parents.
Maybe it’s human nature.
We get too involved. We’re optimistic. We’re naive. We’re impulsive. We like to label things. We’re competitive. We want to be the best. We want to win. We want to be right. We like to be prepared. We like to brag. We like to be the best. We like to have all the information. We bullshit when we don’t have all the information. We lie to get out of trouble. We cheat to get ahead.
We get carried away. We don’t back down.
NEVER BACK DOWN. Unless it’s our kid whining on about something and then just give in so they’ll shut it, right?
Right? You know I am.
So, in the spirit of all that, and to protect parents now and in the future, I’d like to share 5 basic tenets that all moms and dads need to know so that they aren’t blindsided.
It’s sad to say that these facts of life really shouldn’t have to be said out loud, but as it seems, there’s a need for a refresher.
And if you can’t deal with my pointers, then there’s a chance you’re going to have trouble cutting the mustard over the long haul.
Kids are completely egocentric. Don’t let the selfishness of children bother you. They can’t help it. It’s in their nature. While they may pretend otherwise, they really only care about themselves. If they’re being nice it’s because they’re probably just buttering you up for points to be redeemed at a later date. And really, unless you hold firm and call them on it once in a while (not that it will make a difference, but it will make you feel better), this behaviour will just result in selfish adults. Like ones who forget that that birthday parties are for fun, you don’t invite people for the gift, and that some fights aren’t worth fighting.
Kids grow up really fast. While the years of diapers and toilet training and baths and bedtimes and crying and puking and shoe lace tying and school lunches and school visits and the dreaded parent-teacher conferences and recitals and programs and mom’s taxi may seem endless, they’re not. Before you can blink, it will all be over. So seriously, it’s a cliche for a reason, but don’t sweat the small stuff or ruin special moments out of mean-spiritedness (This kiddo from Cornwall is going to need to seek therapy after this one.)
Nobody and nothing is perfect. You’re going to make mistakes. Your kids will make mistakes. Chances are, nothing will ever turn out as expected. But just keep in mind that each of these missteps and non-events is an opportunity to turn butter into buttercups. Do you understand what I mean by that? Do you understand that sending a bill for a missed party is the butter? And that admitting it’s ridiculous is the grown-up buttercup thing to do?
You are the model for everything. Forget Big Brother is watching. Your kids are the ones really sucking it all in. If you act like a jerk or a bully, then your kids will act like jerks and bullies. If you are unkind or rigid or stupid or ridiculous, they will be unkind or rigid or stupid or ridiculous. Of course, the reverse is true. If you’re kind and patient and flexible and understanding, so too will they be. They’re like clay. Mold away. Or else hide the newspaper reports of what an idiot you are from your child.
Shit Happens. Have you ever heard the expression, Man plans and God laughs? Well, it’s true. Phones get dropped, and meals get ruined. Playdates go wrong, and vomit never ends up in toilet. Lunches don’t get eaten, tests get failed and non-refundable deposits get wasted. Your baby boy will pee in your face at least once and your kids will get sick the second you fall asleep or when you have a big meeting. Planes are delayed, it rains, it snows, you have to make choices. Kids get lost and so do games. Teenagers are moody and nobody likes the same dinner on the same day. You’ll forget to take your kid to a birthday party and and things come up and Billy won’t show up for yours . Just like the scouts, you always have to be prepared for the poop to hit the fan. Oh, honey, you’d better never forget anything, ever. Because after this, you’d better be as perfect as your
In my opinion, the real measure of a Mom is not in how perfect her bento lunches are, but rather how she rolls with the punches.
PS It’s a good thing my kids never knew this lady’s kids. Because we’d owe her $40,000. I’d also like to give special kudos to to all of the mothers who never sent me a bill for the broken toys, the doctors whose appointments I showed up to a day late, the stores whose displays we ruined, the friends whose minivans we crumbled in….