I don’t understand why parents are so cranky. I mean, be cranky all you want at home or in the car, but why would you be that way when you’re out in public? That just makes people look at you like you’re a monster. Well, okay, it makes me look at you like you’re a monster, but surely I’m not alone.
And what I find even more confusing is that you do this when you’ve taken your kids on a mini-vacation like an amusement park. Did you expect them to be well behaved? Then you’re dumb. They’re going to be over-excited and hot and tired and maybe even missing their nap. And yet you want them to act like they’re having an audience with the Pope. The Pope doesn’t have kids (probably not) and even he wouldn’t expect your kids to behave.
And yet you do. And you voice your aggravation loudly and with more than a little peppering of contempt. That’s so dumb. You need to realize your situation and then you can understand why you’re kids are – in your opinion – acting up.
First of all, you probably hyped them up for the trip for an entire week. “We’re going to the amusement park on Saturday! Aren’t you excited?” And they are excited. You’re accomplished your goal. You’ve gotten your kids wound up. Can you see where this is leading?
Then you used the trip against them. “If you don’t clean your room, there’s no amusement park on Saturday.” Now it’s a weapon. The kids are led to believe that this amusement park is so Goddamn terrific that it’s worth cleaning their room over. Excitement levels are reaching critical stages.
And then comes Saturday morning and the inevitable fighting and crying and bitching that goes along with getting your family into a car. You make two trips back home to grab the camera and the tickets that your forgot and now you’re pissed cause you’re off schedule. Your spouse is pissed cause you’re driving like a maniac in order to ‘make time’ and the kids are by now so wound up that they are vibrating in their little booster seats.
When you get to the park, you’ve got to wait in lines: lines to get into the parking area, lines to get inside the actual park. Lines for rides, lines for the bathroom (that you waited too long to get little Johnny to anyway), lines for food, face painting, hair wraps. It’s basically one big ride: the waiting in line ride and you’re damned to it. And you’re pissed over it.
Your kids know your mood. They can read that pulsing vein on your forehead just like everyone else. You’re agitated and therefore, so are they. They’re going to act up. It’s becoming a near-mob mentality. But of course, you’re the adult so you’re actions are warranted and of course you’re going to lash out and jump down your spouse’s throat. And they’re going to retaliate and the kids are suddenly quiet for a moment just to see what good old mom and dad (or mom-mom, dad-dad, it’s all cool) are going to do. It’s like waiting for the whistle on the pressure cooker to blow (yeah, I don’t know what one of those things are either but I saw one once on an old TV show). You know it’s gonna blow, and you know it’s gonna be fairly soon. What you don’t know is whether it’s gonna take the kitchen out with it.
And so you snap. You let loose on your kids for basically what you created for an entire week. You got them so excited for this trip that nothing you could have done, no place you could have taken them would have measured up. Hell, Disney on the moon wouldn’t satisfy your kids now. They’re wanting dragon and unicorns and cyborgs and pirates and you’re producing some sweaty guy in a gopher outfit. But you don’t care. You’re pissed and by God someone is going to pay. And then you’re freakin’ mouth opens and instantly I’m thinking of ways to drown you in the boat ride pond.
Why did you have to place such high expectations on this trip? Why couldn’t you have been a little more realistic? For once, tell your kids the truth. You’re going to an amusement park and it’s going to be a lot of fun. Sure there may be some lines and it’s gonna get hot, but you’re going to have fun. You’re all just going to take a deep breath and (I have a hard time with this word) relax. See how easy that was? And for Christ’s sake do some planning. Put the camera and the tickets by your cell phone cause I can just tell you’re the type to never leave it at home. Pack some snacks and maybe stop once before the park entrance for a bathroom break. If you’ve got one still napping, plan for it. You’re smart; you can do this. You’ve got your MBA, surely you can organize a little outing with the spouse and kids.
Otherwise, suffer the consequences. Listen to everyone bitch and endure the sideways glances and out and out scowls from the people around you. You’re the king of your own shitstorm. Enjoy your big day.