When it comes to parenting, who am I kidding?

By Vivian Sade


If only I could be appointed as the Worldwide Creator Abater — the person in charge of who is allowed to have children. Things would change — just because humans can procreate doesn’t mean they should.

Yes, I’m messing with the 119-kids-and-counting types who like to pop out babies like a toaster.

But, try covering police and court stories for a couple of decades and see if you don’t join me in passing out contraception in the town square.

Shouldn’t there be some kind of licensing system for those who wish to become parents? We must have a license to fish, for crying out loud.

Ironic — this coming from a woman who probably could not have passed a test to have any of the four children she gave birth to.

In the early 1970s I had my first child in southern California while married to her Marine dad, who was stationed at Camp Pendleton. An officer’s wife, who ran a women’s group for the Marine infantry wives, told me the average age of the female spouses in the group was 15.

I was 19, old and wise and almost AARP material in their eyes.

I got my first glimpse into the world of Lil’ Miss Moms when one cute, but ditsy, young newlywed and mother (the two were sometimes synonymous) showed me a large knife placed under her baby’s crib. She said her infant son had an earache and the knife would “cut his pain.”

Honest. To. God.

I had to refrain from calling the authorities and having the knife-wielding mommy jailed for felony stupidity.

These were the wives of some of the same Marines who fought in the Vietnam War, and if you know anything about the Vietnam War, then you know that the men who fought for our country were not men, but teenage boys. And their wives were younger.

That was my first eye-popping revelation as a naive girl fresh from the Midwest: A lot of parents had no idea how to raise a child, especially if their parents also had not known how to raise a child.

I was the oldest of eight, reared by a no-nonsense mom and dad who used to tell my brothers and I when we were fighting, “If you intend to kill each other, take it outside, and work it out.”

I grew up taking care of babies. Changing diapers, bathing a squirmy toddler and soothing a crying infant were as common to me as knowing how to skip rope or ride a bicycle. I quickly found out as a young adult that was not the case with many mothers and fathers.

Anyway, I’ve come up with a Q & A guide of sorts for those who are thinking of becoming parents. If you have more that four affirmative answers … well, stop by the town square. I’ve got something for you.

You should rethink becoming a parent if:

• You think the birth canal is in South America.

• You think it was the worst pain ever when you had your tonsils removed in second grade.

• You have ever uttered the phrase: “My kid will never do that.”

• Finding two-week old, leftover fried chicken in the glove compartment of the family vehicle on a hot summer day makes you crazy.

• You get gaggy at the sight of vomit, phlegm, blood, boogers or runny, greenish-yellow poo.

The author with her father – who had neither a license to fish or to parent — but nonetheless, reeled ’em in and raised ’em up.

• You were never a teenager.

• You were a teenager, but can’t remember it because you were stoned out of your mind.

• You are now an adult and still stoned out of your mind.

• You think you will look like Pregnant Barbie and have your child effortlessly by pulling it from a plastic flap in your belly.

• You ever plan to sleep eight consecutive hours again in your lifetime.

• You think that children will bring you and your mate “closer together.”

• You think you and your mate will continue to enjoy long, romantic evenings alone together.

• You think children, adolescents and teenagers have a natural, instinctive ability to apply reason and common sense.

• You currently reside in a dumpster by night and a public library by day.

• You know that if you were in charge of your friends’ children, you could make those kids “straighten up.”

• You want to wait until they clean up the Earth, solve global warming and everyone is recycling before you bring children into the world.

• You think people should not have kids until they can afford them.

• You have ever thought about naming a child after the sponsor of your favorite NASCAR driver — Sirius, Prilosec, Viagra, Dasani, Dupont Tyvek, Sprint Nextel or Wishbone — or any of the following sponsors: Bud, Budlite, Bud Weiser, Anheuser, Pabst, Corona, Heineken or Red Bull (exceptions on Red Bull: a Sioux Indian or Spanish matador).

• You ever expect to go to the bathroom by yourself again. Ever.

• You occasionally smoke crack to “energize.”

• You have ever said “Bubba and I are going out for a few beers after we bet on the dog fights over at Thugger Joe’s.”

• You have been diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, you think you are Jesus Christ or you think Donald Trump would be a diplomatic president.

• You plan to train your child to perform on stage, dance provocatively, apply garish makeup and win the USA Jr. Miss Potty-Trained Toddler crown by the time she’s 18 months old.

• You want to have a litter of kids so you can make lots of money with your own reality show.

The author lives and works in Churubusco. She has lost out on winning Indiana Mother of the Year by four votes — her children’s — every year since 1990.

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