I’d like to think of myself as a pretty tolerant person, but sometimes when a pet peeve of mine is triggered, I momentarily lose my amiable nature, and become something akin to an R-rated version of Oscar the Grouch. I’ve had the same pet peeves for years, most of which are pretty standard. But recently I’ve felt a new one beginning to crop up. At first, it started out like one of those underground pimples – an annoyance that I tried to squelch before it came to a head. But now this sucker is red, ripe, and sitting right on the end of my nose, just begging to be popped.
I CAN’T STAND “Proud Parent of….” BUMPER STICKERS!! Damn that felt good….
I’m aware of the fact that I probably just offended half of my readers, but it has to be said because parents have gone totally over the top with these stickers. The back of some of these cars read like college applications. Since the dean of Harvard is unlikely to be driving behind you, why do you feel the need to advertise all of your child’s academic and athletic achievements to the world?
I get it, you’re proud. By all means, call Grandma and tell her all about the fact that little Sally made the honor roll, won a gold medal at her gymnastics tournament, and then rescued a baby whale during her Greenpeace excursion. She’s SUPER awesome!! But nobody but Grandma (and maybe you) cares.
You might argue that you’re just letting your child know that your pride for them is like these bumper stickers – permanent and unable to be removed without the use of a razor blade and/or blowtorch. But here’s a secret that your child might not be willing to share with you: they find these stickers just as obnoxious as the person driving behind you. And if your child is over the age of twelve, you can add a hefty dose of teenager embarrassment to that as well.
Part of me gets why these bumper stickers are so popular. Besides people wanting to brag about their kids, they also promote a sense that the world is a perfect place to live in. A place where all children get smiley face stickers on the top of their math tests, and score the winning goal at their soccer game. It’s a lovely idea, but it’s also total crap. Parenting is a messy, complicated business, and rarely idyllic.
Which is why I’ve come up with a better way for proud parents to decorate their cars – I’m calling them “The Real Deal” bumper stickers. Not only will EVERY parent find something they can relate to, but my bumper stickers also won’t make the person driving behind you want to smack the shit out of you.
1. For some kids, getting on the honor roll is about as probable as Macaulay Culkin getting another big movie deal – but that’s OKAY!! Getting straight A’s isn’t nearly as important as learning not to share your poop with the people you live with….
2. As a parent, it’s important to not only pick your battles, but also take your victories where you can get them. No matter how small they may seem….
3. Let’s face it, sometimes sitting on the sidelines of your kid’s game is BOOORRRRRING!! There’s just so much cheering you can do before you start to pray for death – beginning with the screaming parent next to you that just ruptured their spleen (and your eardrum) because their son missed the ball. For those parents who want to show support but would honestly rather be somewhere else, this one’s for you….
4. After the age of ten, most honor students are like those cars that drive themselves. They really don’t need parents behind the wheel directing them where to go (or taking credit for getting them there). I know this because my daughter is like one of those freaky self-driven Google cars. So I made this version of the “proud parent” for her because we both know the truth….
5. Being a parent is hard. Being a parent stuck inside a metal box with a toddler is HELL….
6. It’s not much easier when they get to be teenagers and discover dance music that makes you want to gouge out your eardrums with a set of car keys….
7. Sure, driving around with your kids can sometimes be annoying, but those little rugrats can be a real lifesaver to the other drivers on the road. Especially for the ones who cut you off in traffic….
8. It’s been a decade since I had a baby, but I remember the trauma of sleep deprivation the way most soldiers remember the horrors of war. For all you parents out there driving around like extras from The Walking Dead, I’m here to make sure you don’t get pulled over during your commute to work….
9. Along with sleep deprivation, babies can also make you forget that you have sexual organs, and that you once used those man/lady bits for something other than creating life. Go ahead and post your problem on the back of your car so other new parents won’t feel like the only sexually castrated Ken/Barbie dolls on the block….
10. Having a teenager brings with it a different set of hardships, most of them chock full of hormones and seething hatred. While I may get a full night’s sleep now, I have to do it with one eye open….
11. Most kids will test your patience on occasion. GOOD parents learn how to control the urge to strangle their offspring when their kid throws a temper tantrum. GREAT parents go on to promote world peace despite being given a lot of shit at home….
12. Just once I’d like to see a “drive carefully” bumper sticker that wasn’t put on a car to protect someone’s baby or grandma. Like a drug lord, for instance….
13. Trying to keep your child engaged in activities that challenge their mind and body is hard, especially when it’s Sunday afternoon and all you want to do is take a nap. You wish they came with an auto-pilot button so you could just get a little bit of “me” time. And then you realize that they do…..
14. A subset problem of the “Proud Parent” bumper stickers are these stick figure family decals. Here’s why: you know that creepy guy who lives in your neighborhood? The one you checked out online to see if he was a registered sex offender or just gave you the willies for no reason? Well, your decals just made his life a whole lot easier….
15. Whether you choose to go back to work or stay at home after having kids, it’s easy to feel like the grass is always greener on the other side. I chose the latter and after about a decade, having a misogynistic boss who doesn’t appreciate me has become a fantasy of mine….