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Parenting: It's not for idiots

I am not a perfect mom.  (And my kids will back me up on that.)  However, I believe Dear Husband and I have a pretty firm grasp on some of the basics of parenthood.

For instance, one of the basics is that the Kid Comes First.  When you become a parent,  you turn in your Selfish Card.  Oh, I'm not saying Mommy doesn't deserve a night out for book club, or Daddy doesn't get to go golfing on Thursday evenings.  I mean, your life stops being All About Me, and starts being all about the Kid.  The Kid's needs always come first, and those needs are endless and mind-numbing and tedious, at least sometimes.  Tough.  The Kid Comes First.

That means, that if you and your spouse (geez, I hope you were married) can't keep it together, you don't put the Kid between you like some sort of pull toy.  If you split with said spouse, you don't move a boyfriend or girlfriend into your home, and expect the Kid to deal with it.  You don't leave your Kid home alone while you're out, night after night.  You don't take the female teenage Kid to get birth control so "you don't have to worry about her".  You don't ignore the fact that your teenage Kid is dating a man, because you're so caught up in your own dating escapades.

The Kid Comes First also means that you have to be mean.  Yeah, no friendship between Parent and Kid.  Nope, it's all about authority, learning, guidance and laying down the law.  Now, I don't mean you are the dictator and the Kid is simply a member of the proleteriat, but rather that you have to teach the Kid about consequences.  If the Kid forgets his homework, he gets a zero.  You don't run his homework into school.  If the Kid misses curfew, she gets grounded.  And the grouding sticks.  They'll cry and scream, beg and tell you how horrible you are.  But you get the secret satisfaction of knowing this is all part of the Kid Comes First.

Turn in the Selfish Card, folks, and get with it.  Your Kid's life is at stake.

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