Not just because being a parent can be stressful, which is a topic for a different day, but because of the bizarre things we’ll do to entertain our kids and keep them happy.
These things might make us seem like we’re suffering from some sort of mental illness, but we’re (probably) not. If I had to call it anything, I’d say it’s “parental illness” — behavior that mimics mental illness, but in reality, is just good parenting.
People say children are easily amused. I disagree. There’s nothing easy about keeping my daughter amused! I have done some things in the name of entertainment that, if Molly wasn’t around, would make me look more than a little crazy.
Now that I think about it, making our cat “talk” by moving his mouth and doing a gravelly, tough-guy voice (we ... or, uh, I ... like to imagine that he’s involved in organized cat crime) was funny when Molly was there, but creepy when it was just me and the cat.
Rolling myself into a blanket burrito on the living room floor while making sizzling sounds seemed like good parenting when Molly was pretending to cook me, but more closely resembled a warning sign of mental instability when, still sizzling, I noticed she was no longer interested in Burrito Mom and had moved on to other, less weird ways to spend her time.
Good for her.
Doing the potty dance — I’ll have to show you one day — is a fun way to celebrate success after a 3-year-old uses the bathroom, but try it when you’re over 5 and alone in the bathroom, and you’re breaching into the crazy zone. Actually, you may have crossed right over.
If, and only if, a child is present for any of these shenanigans, you’re fine — it’s considered normal parenting behavior. You’re only doing it to entertain your child, after all. But roll yourself into a blanket burrito when you’re home alone, and BAM! You’re insane.
This is why it’s important to bring your child with you everywhere you go.
I try to take comfort in the knowledge that, by doing these things to entertain and amuse my daughter, I’m being a good mom. Even though it might cause others to (rightfully) question my sanity, Molly and I have fun.
Soon, she’ll grow up and be too old, cool and mature to find her mother’s impression of Daffy Duck hilarious. That’s a great reason to take every opportunity to do it now — sorry, Michael. In any case, I’m certainly glad Molly is around. Raising her gives me a chance to relive childhood a little, and I can’t lie — I love it.
(Editor’s Note: Debra Carpenter is a novice mother, wife and college student. She writes about the parts of parenthood “you didn’t expect when you were expecting.” Like the fan page at facebook.com/MotherInterrupted or visit the website at motherinterrupted.com.)