My Children Would Be Grimy Diseased Fashion Victims Without Me

The other day I was thinking about what might happen if I were to die. Now, I'm not planning on dying—hello, I have tons of important things to do first, like growing out my bangs and seeing how they end Breaking Bad—but if such a tragedy were to occur, I was wondering what sort of life my children would have, being raised exclusively by their father.

I don't mean to paint my husband with a cartoonish, bumbling-dad-cliché brush, but the truth is we do things differently when it comes to parenting. Very differently. We both love our boys with all of our hearts, of course, but if he were in charge of it all, I have this mental picture of what the kids would eventually look like. And it isn't pretty.

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First of all, they'd be filthy. I confess I am not the most vigilant mother in the world when it comes to baths (I keep hearing about this idea of bathing the kids "every night," which sounds nearly as appealing to me as jamming a letter opener into my ear canal every 24 hours), but if it were up to my husband, the children would have a several-inch-thick patina of black crust coating every square inch of their bodies before it would occur to him to dump them in the tub. And even then he'd probably just spit on a napkin, take a cursory swipe, and call it good.

They would contract scurvy. Believe me, I'm no gourmet children's chef, and I stopped fighting the food battles with my picky eaters a long time ago, but I know what my husband would feed them: chicken nuggets. Is it breakfast time? Chicken nuggets in milk! Lunch? Chicken nugget sandwich. For dinner: a plate of chicken nuggets, with a frozen nugget for dessert.


Their fingernails would turn into repulsive, freaky talons. I hate trimming my kids' nails (post-traumatic stress from drawing blood on more than one unhappy occasion when they were tiny-fingered infants), so I always ask my husband to do it. His response is always something like, "You sure they need it?" Call me anal, but when there are actual potatoes growing under the surfaces and the toes start to resemble eagle claws, IT'S TIME.


They would always be dressed like assholes. I'm all for casual comfort and I have no requirements that my kids' clothes actually match, but for god's sake, Spider-Man pajama bottoms paired with a shirt that would say KEEPIN' IT RURAL if it wasn't on inside out AND backwards, with the tag poking out the front like a tiny tracheotomy tube? I sometimes ask my husband why our 3-year-old looks like he's wearing the remnants of a shipwrecked Old Navy cargo vessel, and he just shrugs and says, "He picked it out." Yes, well, this is the same kid who repeatedly walks into closed doors, has to be reminded that there are no sharks in the wading pool, and will happily stride out into traffic if you don't stop his suicidal ass. Just saying.


In other words, my kids would probably be happy as hell, being as how I guess I'm pretty much here to scrub their ears, force balanced meals in their whine-holes, override their fashion decisions, and chase them around the house with metal clippers. I'm sure they'd miss everything I do for them, though, right? As they piteously gnawed their trillionth chicken nugget, held gingerly in their unspeakably foul hands, their vitamin-deprived teeth rolling loosely in their ravaged gums ... yes, THAT'S when they'd realize how valuable I really—oh, who am I kidding.


Well, hopefully I'm not going anywhere anytime soon, because I'd sure like my children to be tormented for as long as possible by having a mother around. Even if I am sort of a massive drag.


What does your husband do differently than you when it comes to everyday parenting stuff?


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