Tuesday, June 21, 2016

If I Ever Have Children

1. I won't try to set them up on dates with people who look exactly like my spouse and then fail to understand why that's fifty shades of creepy.

2. And they become overweight, I'll show them how to cook healthy food and go for bike rides with them, not constantly berate them for being fat and point out all the young people their age who are so much thinner.

3. And one of them is a daughter who comes home from her first school dance in tears, I'll comfort her with ice cream and stories about my own unrequited crushes. I won't tell her, "No wonder no one wanted to dance with you."

4. I will encourage them to pursue careers that they are passionate about, not pressure them to pursue the career that I want for them and then become smug when they struggle to succeed in their chosen careers.

5. I won't criticize their hair, their clothes, or the way they walk, so that they'll never feel the urge to go on Jerry Springer's show just so they can yell at me.

6. I won't insult them for being unmarried. I'll tell them about how I was single too, and how at the very least it gave me something to write about.

7. I'll welcome them home with homemade cookies and questions about the good things in their lives, not complaints about how they don't visit more often.

8. I'll encourage them to become independent, not become furious when they make decisions without consulting me first and then constantly try to make them feel guilty as a result.

9. I will protect them if my spouse berates them, not blame them for provoking my spouse or accuse them of being the ones with bad personalities.

10. I will never allow my mother or father to treat my children the way they treat me.

I've never been a mother, so I have no experience or any real idea of how difficult it is to raise children. So it's easy to say that I won't be like my parents.

If I ever do have children, I will do everything in my power to treat them better than the way I am treated. Many other people my age have traveled all over the world. I've barely gone anywhere, except for a trip to New York that I kept secret because my parents would not have approved. I have even had to take a leave of absence from my jobs and give up vacation time on more than one occasion so that I can take care of my parents' dogs while they travel.

This summer, I have to give up two weeks of my vacation so that my mother can take two separate vacations. A couple years ago I had to give up my spring break so that she could travel. Next week I have to visit my parents (which I am dreading so much that I literally broke out in hives); if I don't go, they will show up at my apartment, which would be even worse. They don't care that I want to take my own vacation or have other things to do.

One reason I'm so neurotic and obsessive is because of how I was raised. I took a personality test in high school, and my teacher said that my innate personality was actually easygoing and laid-back. But he said because of my upbringing, I grew up to become a Type A personality instead. He said this soon after he met my mother.

What about you? If you don't have children, what kind of parent would you want to be? If you do have children, did you ever make any resolutions about parenting before they were born?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

What I Wish I Knew When I Was Eighteen

1. If your college roommate tells you that she doesn't smoke, what she really means is, "My friends and I will make the dorm room smell like an ashtray."

2. It's okay to say no if friends ask if they can "share" your dessert. It's not okay to stab their hands with your fork and/or bite them if they reach for your food.

3. You don't have to do everything your parents tell you to do, and it's good (and important) to make your own decisions, no matter what they say.

4. Take notes every time you go to class, and don't lend your notes to people who are always absent.

5. Dating is not like a Hollywood romantic comedy, and Prince Charming does not exist.

6. Dating is more like an improv show where a lot of people don't know what they're doing. It's likely that you and your "costar" won't have chemistry, which will make it less entertaining and more "If I pretend to throw up, that might get me out of this earlier."

7. If "friends" tell you all about the fun they have with other friends but don't have time for you, stop listening to them and stop calling them.

8. If you decide to major in English, also major or minor in something "lucrative," so that you won't ever have to say something like, "Would you like to sign up for our store credit card?" or "I'm sorry, but you have to put your shoes (and your shirt) back on if you want to shop here."

9. When you start teaching, don't let your students walk all over you, and don't let them get away with their "excuses."

10. Eat less fast food, and cook your own food more often.

11. It's okay to prefer museums and bookstores over parties and bars, even if it means you'll go to those places on your own.

12. If your friends ignore you every time they're in romantic relationships, don't be there for them when the relationships end.

13. It's good to work hard, but it's not good to let your life revolve around work.

What about you? What do you wish you had known when you were eighteen?