Thursday, April 26, 2012

Warning: Mad-Dad has Entered the Building

Dear Eve,

I recently had a couple kids. I am also a pessimistic a-hole who tends to see the worst in people and humanity. My opinion of people ranges from absolute hatred to being slightly-annoyed-to look-at. You know it's bad when you can really relate to the outlook of Daniel Day-Lewis's character in There Will Be Blood. I also tend to get a little introverted in public situations. I would rather stay home and read a book than do almost anything else.

However, I'm trying to be positive for the sake of my children. I understand that the best thing you can do for your children is to just try to be happy. Not maniacal happy, just upbeat and excited to do things. For example, I took my 2 year old to an indoor pool a couple of weeks ago. I thought that it would not be crowded because of the time of year. When I walked in and saw that it was practically standing room only, I almost had a nervous breakdown. I toughed it out, put on a smile, and swam with my son in gross people's urine for awhile.

I just need some pointers in dealing with the world. I genuinely don't want to do "kid" activities because they're boring and I hate other parents, but I guess I have to right? I don't want to be the dad that gets drunk before EVERY kids party but I am considering it.  Any help would be appreciated.

Dear Mad-Dad,

You're right.  A lot of social activities for kids are about as fun as The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, but they're not made for us to love.  You simply have to suck it up until your kids reach an age where they can play and you can half-read a book while looking sufficiently Uni-bomber-ish to scare off friendly parents who want to play their reindeer games with you.  Until then, only choose activities from the higher rings of hell and ones where you, coincidentally, have other commitments and can only stay for 45 minutes. While you're working on your skills of deception, start circling your wagons at home.  Young kids really only want their parents' attention and are happiest in the warm bosom of family so make a lot of play-dates with siblings and keep your parties in the immediate family.  This new-fangled idea of having to "socialize" kids with other kids is bizarre to me.  As long as you're not a family of card-carrying Vikings, everyone will learn how to behave with other sentient beings without the help of "Blah blah psuedo-science/I heard on Dr. Phil/the internet moms said/and LA LECHE LEAGUE BITCHES!" from other parents.

So what do you do for 45 minutes when you do have to leave the homestead and go to the pool because M-D Jr HAS TO GO NOW or when you have a party you can't snake out of?  Showing up absolutely does not mean that you have to assimilate into the herd and start asking people how they are doing (ugh!) and then pretend to care when they tell you nor do you have to keep up with some inane conversation about how Megan doesn't discipline Skylar and someone needs to confront her but who will it be?  There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a broody, standoffish, withdrawn misanthrope who wants nothing to do with the people around you.   Of course, all the moms will be dying to know Mr. Mysterious and spend an inappropriate amount of time talking about you, but let your wife worry about that.  On the off chance that you're feeling uncharacteristically friendly (blech!), you could find the other black sheep in the flock.  There's always one mom that doesn't play well with others and keeps to herself; I guarantee she's dying to have someone to be petulant with. The old adage "Bitching is more fun in two's" is true.  

Your kids don't need you to be someone you're not.  Be true to yourself.  I swear you're not going to ruin them.


  1. Funny, in high school I was named most likely to be "a broody, standoffish, withdrawn misanthrope who wants nothing to do with the people around you."

  2. Golly gee, it does have to be a production sometimes to go to the park and "talk to people". It's crazy that the world has developed this new magnitude of social connectivity where it seems like every second of every day you are communicating in some way with someone else. Sometimes you just want to take it in and not talk about it. I totally get that. And fuck Dr Phil. The end.

  3. Agreed. Being able to keep to oneself is an undervalued character trait.

    I wish a had a shirt that said "Get Offa My Lawn!"  I would wear the shit out of it.

  4. I made a picture of dr phil for you but haven't had time to post it.