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5 Ways We're Making Parenting Harder

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Is it me or has parenting become exponentially more difficult in the last 10 years? When I was a kid, I remember spending my days eating Spaghetti-Os, watching marathons of Muppet Babies, and playing outside for hours and hours with no adult in sight. You know what that's considered now? Neglect.

Maybe this is always true of the current generation, but we seem to have deemed ourselves parenting experts and consider everything our parents did to be wrong. In some ways, this is a good thing (e.g. Riding in the backs of pick-up trucks). In other ways it's just absolutely ridiculous. For example:

1. Birthday Parties

What in the hell has happened here? I remember going to birthday parties as a kid. We simply played for a bit, sang "Happy Birthday", ate some friggin' cake, and watched our buddy open up some presents. Why on Earth have these things morphed into themed parties that take hours of planning, hundreds of dollars and are only appreciated by the people who aren't being celebrated? It's crazy! For HJ's first birthday, I fell victim to this whole fiasco. We had a Milk & Cookies theme and I stressed myself completely out as I accounted for food allergies, activities for older kids, balloons during a helium shortage, and the perfect shade of pink in every corner. I was still so stressed out by the experience that HJ had a grandparents only party the next year.

2. Elf on the Shelf

Simply singing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" used to be enough to put kids in check. Now they have a snitch. Not just any snitch, but one in which Mom and Dad have to place in humorous and cutesy positions every night to entertain the kids and remind them to be good. Because completing Christmas shopping, baking for holiday parties, seeing family, going to light shows, and wrapping presents isn't enough to keep us busy during that month. We need to add a stupid elf to the list. (Full disclosure: HJ and B's elf is currently in my closet, ready to make her debut this Christmas.)

3. Organic EVERYTHING

Yes, organic is the best way to feed a family. Avoiding pesticides, GMOs, additives, and other preservatives is preferable, obviously. I get it. That being said, I still need to be able to afford to actually feed my family. Have you noticed how organic food is nearly double the price? AND everything can be organic these days. There's organic t-shirts, organic cleaners, and organic candy. There's even organic diaper bags. Seriously? We really need the bag that carries my kid's poopy diapers to be organic? Are we eating it later?

4. Kid's Sports

I played sports as a kid. I was in dance, gymnastics, tee ball, softball and volleyball. The difference between kids' sports back then and now is the fact that our sports didn't eat up every free friggin' moment of every day. Thankfully my kids aren't old enough for this yet, but I have seen it from family and friends. As soon as their kid starts a sporting activity, I NEVER see them again because it never seems to end. They are always at practice, a game, or a tournament. As soon as the summer league is over, then the fall league starts. Fall's over? Oh, great! The spring league is here! I don't blame parents. I blame the coaches and league organizers. Do these people even have kids?

5. Pinterest

As much as I love it, I have to admit: Pinterest is an a-hole. It further perpetuates the notion that parents must do everything perfectly and be the best at everything. Just the other day I saw a pin that taught parents how to apply tattoos to bananas for school lunches. Are you kidding me?! It's not enough to make lunch for your children, but now we have to decorate it? Ridiculous. Also, because of Pinterest, I am guilted into thinking I should have a water table, a colored rice sensory table, make my own finger paints, sew pillowcase dresses, put lunches artfully into cute little bento boxes, and that I should be setting up monthly photo shoots with my wiggly kids. No. No. And no. It's difficult enough to keep them alive, fed, clothed, bathed, and away from my secret candy stash.

Can we collectively agree to take it all down a notch?

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