I’ve read for years about parents getting puffed up with their child’s accomplishments and deflated when the little ones came up short. They were obviously pathetic people so uncomfortable in their own skin, so unable to find fulfillment within themselves, that they’re going to make their child’s life miserable, thought my non-child-having self. Children are children, and you love them regardless, so how can you have such highs and lows. Surely I wouldn’t act that way when I had a child of my own.
Hah, laughed some guiding force of the universe. In the 15 months since my son came along, this superior-inferior battle has waged mercilessly in my head. See for yourself:
Superior: When my son exclaims Daddy! when I enter the room and laughs and smiles. Hah! He knows I am the Protector, the Provider, the Pack Mule Who Lugs His Stuff!
Inferior: When my son calls every adult Daddy.
Superior: When I see toddlers munching on chips, candies and other unhealthy things for breakfast. My son had a cupcake on his birthday, but otherwise, it’s been fruits, veggies and lean cuts of meat! Take that!
Inferior: When I recently had to tell my son, in public, that a whole wheat English muffin with peanut butter is not a hat. And I didn’t pack a wash cloth! Bad Dad!
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Superior: When my son is the only child not crying at a gathering full of other kids. I am a great parent! Look at how in sync my son and I are.
Inferior: When my son is the only child crying at a gathering full of other kids. Why do the acoustics on the subway amplify his wail into Godzilla’s bellow?
Superior: When my son shrugs off shots at the doctor’s office. He’s a tough little guy, just like I was(n’t).
I know (think) I’m not the only one; when do you have these moments?
Image via Angela Johnson Meadows