Lying To Children

From the nine months it takes to create that perfect little life until the eighteen years and beyond it takes to raise them, children are by far the greatest gift we ever receive. 

Their first smile. Their first laugh. Their first words. Their first steps. All are such monumental milestones. As parents, we smile and encourage them and are their biggest fans. 

Sacrifice. That is what parents do, and they do it with grace. Putting children first for millions of year… yup, that pretty much wraps up parenting… but what if you could REALLY say what you wanted to say to your children? What if for once you could say, “Just stop being selfish and whiny! Have YOU had to wear the same underwear for 18 years?”

What if you could write it all down, all the funny, crazy, angry, OH MY GOODNESS I WANT TO KILL YOU moments that you would NEVER admit to in real life, and hand it to your kids and walk away?

This is my side of the story. One day when you tell your future significant others, children, or therapists what horrible parents your mother and I were and how we ruined your lives, this book might help to exonerate us.

What if your kids really knew how you felt about getting that new puppy when you already had a dog, and how that puppy ruined your dog’s life, therefore, causing you interminable amounts of grief?

Every time I came home, I expected to see a message spelled out in kibble: “Couldn’t take it anymore. Had to leave. Love always, Steve. PS: I shit on her side of the bed.”

Have you ever turned to your loving spouse and said:

“Honey, I want to use my ‘Get Out of Parenting Free’ card.”

It’s ok. You can admit it. The author Alex Shahla sure let it all fly loose in his comical and heart-warming (and yes, completely identifiable) book Lying to Children. Rarely do I laugh out loud when reading a book (smile, yes…laugh, no) but Shahla managed not only to make me laugh out loud, but also laugh until I had tears as I identified with all of the “letters” he wrote to his children. 

One chapter on Christmas and Santa brought me giggles and left fantastic images in my head! I never did understand why at Christmas we don’t just tell our children that we have worked and slaved all year long to purchase them the overpriced toys that we know they will either play with five minutes or abandon in pursuit of happily playing with the boxes said toys arrived in. But hey, we all play the Santa game, right?

Hold on; give me a moment while I put on my Mr. Rogers sweater. Okay, here goes. If you ever wake up in the middle of the night and there’s a large man with a sack standing in front of your fireplace, realize that he is not there to bring you presents; he’s there to steal your presents. There is no such selfless figure. Aim for the chest and fire in rapid succession.

Shahla managed to take everyday parenting and turn all of the struggles and giggles in raising children to a poignant and entertaining read. His humor may not be for all and there are many places where the punchline is a bit repetitive, but for me, he presented a great tribute to parenthood and all of the daily struggles, joys, and fake (as well as real) smiles that come along with it. 

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars for the laughter it provided me. I think you should go now and read it too. Take a journey and think about all those times you also wanted to scream and pull your hair out when your kids “knew better than you.” Smile as the reach adulthood and congratulate them…

But seriously. Congratulations. You’ve reached the end of the Yellow Brick Road and what awaits is the joy of partying your way towards massive amounts of educational debt, followed by the misery of adulthood, where you’ll discover there are repercussions for your actions beyond being grounded.

Enjoy!

~Janet 

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