"Birthday cakes have become the Rolex of parenting." Photo: A.Y. Photography
I understand that as parents we are just a ragtag collection of unrelated individuals counting down the hours until it's time for “bath, books and bed” – but no one parents in a bubble, people. Your kid comes to school and goes on about all the toys they get, the mountains of lollies they eat and the questionable decisions you make. And quite frankly there are a few of you who are really letting the side down, and I think we need to talk.
We could make this whole parenting lark easier for everyone if we just set some ground rules. Let's start with a random list of things that we should really cease right now - but we all have to do it. If one of you blinks you will spoil it for the rest of us.
Pinatas: why must every kids' party include this little reenactment of Lord of the Flies? Photo: Maria Teijeiro
Little kids wielding big sticks, and then a bunch of lollies plummet to the floor, at once creating a scramble that would put a Wall Street trading floor to shame. Why must every kids' party include this little reenactment of Lord of the Flies?
Paying more than $2 for a tooth
I understand inflation, I understand you want to make your kid think the tooth fairy is fabulous. I get that, to you, that little piece of dental perfection is priceless – but when your son or daughter goes and blabs at school about the rolled up $10 note under their pillow, our kids start thinking their teeth belong in the bargain bin or their tooth fairy is a skinflint, short-changing her kids so she can go buy that new tiara.
Know that every other parent wants to flick their kid a $20 next time just so YOU have to answer the question: “Why are their teeth worth more than mine?”
Treating Santa's list as a hard-and-fast contract
Santa's wish-list is really just a guide. The big guy likes to do his best, but he's a busy man and when a four-year-old asks for a PlayStation he can't deliver that can he? Oh really, little Timmy gets everything he ever asks for from Santa, does he? Maybe the jolly green elf is making up for the fact that his parents are really annoying.
No personal iPads, iPods or games consoles before age 12
A related point, because where do you go from there? Are you planning to buy them a car when they turn 13? A laptop? Kick off their wine collection?
Getting your kid to use PowerPoint during “speaking and listening”
Seriously? Despite these past couple of points, I'm all for embracing technology, but my kid is in Year 2 – and I am not training him to be a middle manager in a widget factory. I have proudly gone most of my professional life without using this most annoying of office tools, do NOT get my kid to pressure me to do a PowerPoint for “show and tell” on steroids – it's called “speaking and listening” not “pointing and staring”. Telling an interesting story is a skill, PowerPoint is window dressing.
One pic of your kid on social media per month
You get a special pass just after birth when we know our feed is going to be flooded like the bib of a drooling newborn. After that, please observe the rule.
The birthday cake arms race
Birthday cakes have become the Rolex of parenting, an OTT status symbol to make the other parents tremble in awe at your icing and baking-based skills. I get how it happens, we have all had our kids give us “the look” and beg for a cake shaped like a puppy, but we all have to agree to an upper limit. For me it was the Gulper eel cake – a deep-sea dwelling creature with sharp teeth and a bioluminescent tail. The teeth were individually placed shards of almond, the tail incorporated a series of flashing LED lights – the kid was three. Stop it, or open a cake shop. And professional cakes are cheating.
Right, well I am sure you all have a few points of your own. Post them below and we will get a list going so we can circulate it to the rest of the parents, and start taking things easy.