The Politics of Parenting (includes some algebra)


I am the type of person by nature that avoids confrontation. Don’t get me wrong it is not due to fear, it is due to remorse. There is a line in the movie You’ve got mail that always sticks in my head. Tom Hanks says about telling someone what you think about them. The line goes… “I must warn you… when you eventually have the pleasure of saying the thing you want to say at the moment you’re wanting to say it… remorse eventually follows.”


I have been in the situation hundreds of times where I felt like saying something to someone, and yet I bite my tongue. Who am I to judge? I am the last person to think myself better than someone else. Yet why do other people find it so easy to pass judgment? In this case fellow parents.


I have 3 groups of parents I interact with. Work parents, Neighborhood parents and Online parents. All of us have different ways of raising our children. Do I agree with everything other parents do? Nope. Have I learned some good parenting ideas? Yes. Have I told other parents that I liked certain aspects about how they raise their children? Yes. Have I told other parents that I dislike certain aspects about how they raise their children. NO!


So when someone makes the comment that they think my wife and I spend too much money on our child it drives me crazy. What is “too much”? Is our house filled with toys? YES! Did we buy him all those toys? Alas, no. Here is a math problem. (The algebra mentioned in the title)




A = Allowance – $10 a week. He does VERY well in school, has chores at home he almost always remembers to do, always asks my wife and I if we need help with something, and takes really good care of our pets. For a seven year old I am amazed.


B = Only grandchild on wifes side.


C = Only grandchild on my side.


D = Only nephew on wifes side


E = Only nephew on my side


F = Ebay. I Ebay. I Ebay A LOT! My son knows what Ebay is and how it works. When he tires of a toy he has me sell it. He then takes the proceeds and buys something else.


G = Thrift stores. My Ebay travels take me to thrifts store. So if see a shoe box filled with Pokemon cards for $1 I buy it. For $1 the look on his face is incredible!


H= Cash Hoard. At any given point this kid seems to have more cash at hand then myself. This is a combination of math components A,B,C, and F.


I = Parents. Yup, me and my wife. If I actually figured out how much non-allowancegrandparentauntuncleebaythrift money we spent on my son I just might be called a cheapskate. Shhhhhhhhh.


So does my son “get” more than other kids. Some yes, some no. Do other kids have things, or get to do things he does not? Yes. Could I spend a few paragraphs talking about things I see or hear other parents do that I do not “approve” of? Yes.


Will I? No.




Because when you eventually have the pleasure of saying the thing you want to say at the moment you’re wanting to say it… remorse eventually follows.



(although) Brian, I think a Playboy subscription for a preschooler is NOT good parenting.


Mario Kart has taken over my household!


I have a son, seven years old. And like most seven year olds he has a Nintendo DS. With it he has seven year old boy games. Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, Mario Pinball, Kingdom Hearts, Spectrobes…


All was fine and dandy. He would play it when my wife and I were getting things done around the house, or in the car. He would “link up” with other kids (within 20 feet of himself he reminds me). Again, all was fine and dandy.


Then something happened. My wife came home with that smile she has when she is about to inform me that she bought something. (This is perfectly OK! She works hard at her job and may buy whatever she likes!) That something she bought was Mario Kart. A new game for my son. Hey, something else to keep him entertained. Cool.


Or so I thought…


My son LOVED the game. So, one night I tried it after he went to bed. For 4 HOURS! I could not put it down. I was hooked. All these different tracks to choose from. All the characters. All the Karts. All the bonus items. My wife thought I was nuts.


Then one night I cam home from work and walked into the house to hear the familiar sounds of red shells, speed ups, and thrown banana peels. I thought my son son was still awake. Wrong. It was my wife. Sitting on the couch clutching the DS faced screwed up in concentration. Mario had her too.


I walked over, told her I was going upstairs to change and would be back down. When I got back to the living room she was still there playing. I asked what time The Dude (my son) went to bed. She made a noise that may have been a time, I am not sure. I sat down in my chair and said


Hey, can I play when you are done with that race”?


The reply was quick. No. Of course my only response was to ask how long she was playing. She said not long. Hmmmm, maybe, maybe not I thought. About 10 minutes later I asked if I could play now. No was the answer yet again.


Now I was getting frustrated. I had been at work for 12 hours, I wanted to relax and play Mario Kart. I had been thinking about it for the last few hours. I knew tonight was the night I would get the Gold trophy on 150cc Special track unlocking me another cool character, or some other cool reward!


Eventually she gave in. I am sure it had nothing to do with me whining like a 5 year old. I think she was just done playing.


Fast forward a week or two. All the neighborhood kids were gone on vacations, and The Dude didn’t have anyone to play with. He told my wife and I that he wanted us to get a another DS so we could race with him.


Of course being the great parents we are, and only having our sons happiness in mind we left the house about 10 minutes later (I think I showered) to purchase our 2nd DS in a one child household.


End result you ask? I am sitting at work right now. 3:30 in the afternoon, looking forward to 9:00 when I head home, check that The Dude is in bed, and challenge my wife to yet another couple hours of Dry Bones, Blue Shells, Banana Peels, and Cheap Cheap Beach.