The Better Parent Contest

A father and his young son walk hand in hand.

My wife and I have two children, and by every objective measure, I am the superior parent. More patient, more even-tempered, more punctual. I am a firm keeper of bedtimes and a strict enforcer of television viewing times. I am forceful, yes. A disciplinarian, yes. Yet I am also a boon companion when wrestling is to be done or tickling to be had. If one were to devise a method by which to keep score on parenting, and pit my parenting skills against my wife’s, it wouldn’t even be a fair contest. I would win said competition without even breaking a sweat.

Actually, such a scoring system already exists. In fact, I keep a running point tally in my mind of all the times when I have displayed worthier parenting acumen. By this system, I am kicking my wife’s ass. She is too much of a pushover, too willing to buy the children gummy worms regardless of proximity to dinnertime, too lax when a new episode of Adventure Time is on EVEN THOUGH IT IS AFTER THEIR BEDTIMES. When the children claim to be sick on school mornings, she is too willing to believe their lies. For all these offenses, and more, she loses points.

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And yet, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, my wife sometimes acts as though it is she – not I – who is the better parent. Laughable, I know. How dare she inform me, as she did this very evening, that I am a “birdbrain” for not making my son’s bed in her preferred manner, which involves some sort of bed sheet origami known only to her and the ancient emperors of Japan’s Asuka period.

I know there are “experts” out there who say parenting should not be a competitive endeavor, but I suspect the only reason those experts are saying such things is because they are losing their own child-rearing wars at home.

Let me be clear: parenting is a blood sport. Mother and father fight to the death to raise their offspring in the best possible manner (ie: as much like themselves as possible). How else to ensure that we pass on, not only half of our genes, but A HUNDRED PERCENT of our manga, or “fighting spirit”?

An example: while putting my son to bed last night, my wife and I got into a small dispute over which of us is “more stubborn.” I, of course, insisted that she is the more stubborn of us. Because she is so stubborn, she refused to accept my verdict, and, unbelievably, insisted the opposite to be true. An impasse. To resolve the issue, I asked my son. “Which of us is more stubborn?” I asked.

He demurred, perhaps not wanting to be forced to choose between his parents. Nonsense. Twaddle. I persisted. “Which is it?” I demanded.

“You are,” he said, looking at me.

“I told you,” smirked my wife as she exited his room.

“Thank you,” I said to my son, kissing him on the forehead.

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For proving my point, young man, for proving my point.

Allow me to explain: were she the better parent, my son would have pointed the accusatory finger in her direction, knowing that a truly great parent will be more forgiving and understanding when indicted. But because I am the better parent, he, rightly, risked my wrath secure in the knowledge that I would instantly forgive him his obvious lie for the sake of keeping harmony in our happy home.

My son instinctively understood what I have done a masterful job of articulating herein, namely that in the death match known as “raising children,” I am the clear cut, undisputed winner.

(Please don’t show this to my wife.)

About the writer

Michael is an actor/comedian. He is also the author of the hilarious memoir, You’re Not Doing It Right.


Barbara 2 years ago

Excellent, thanks a lot Michael for sharing such a great and sweet experience, I enjoyed a lot. And it is a good lesson for us too. You just amazingly guided us through this worthwhile post. Thanks a lot again, God blesses you all.

Shhhhhhh…. and we are promising you that, we are not showing it to your wife. :) best of luck..

Colleen 3 years ago

Sounds like me & my hubby!!

Kasey 4 years ago

Love this!!

Rachel 4 years ago

I just stumbled upon this blog and thought, “Holy Cow, my husband is writing blogs under a false name!” He totally feels this way, but would NEVER say it out loud. I’m pretty sure if you asked our kids, they would tell you that I am their favorite parent. I don’t know that “favorite parent” and “better parent” are the same thing though. Somehow I think that they are probably opposites. Oh well…

Cassie 4 years ago

Having a competition to see who is the best parent is an amazing way to make sure that you are both always doing your best for your kids. In my mind, you both win because you care enough about your children to keep tally of what you do right and reflect on what you don’t. Also, you have a great sense of humor!

The Mommy Psychologist 4 years ago

I agree. You’re totally winning.

Amber Snow 4 years ago

I need a tally system! I would totally take my husband to the cleaners. Everything from potty training, healthy foods, bed time, remembering to bring something for toddler sharing day every Wednesday that he NEVER remembers and so much more.

zeemaid 4 years ago

LOVE LOVE LOVE this post. We all think we’re the better parent for innumerable reasons so why shouldn’t they (men) think it too. The difference is we know that they are wrong. 😉

NICOLE 4 years ago

hehe, love this :) Made me laugh…

Mother Ruckus 4 years ago

Love this! I’m showing this to my husband, because we have similar arguments.

So happy to read a blog about something other than THE BOOK!

CC Jen 4 years ago

LOL! We try to kid ourselves that there isn’t a point system, but we both know that I’m clearly the better parent. Except when I’m not.

Brian 4 years ago

I completely agree!! There is a definitive points system in place for this. However there are a few caveats as well.
I subtract points from my wifes total when:
We have a discussion and she ends up crying.
I’m not asked for anything and the questions are whispered to mommy.
When I come home at noon (Saturday) the children are in their PJ’s.
When there is spousal eye-rolling when my children are with elbows on the table, full shoveling dinner into their mouths, and I correct them.

Any other fathers do this?

Unvarnished Mom 4 years ago

Bravo! Our competition is over who does more around the house: “I took the garbage out AND fixed the door handle.” “Well, I emptied the dishwasher, folded the laundry and made the school lunches.” It’s the only competition I stand a chance at winning. Can’t wait to read the book!

Shanan 4 years ago

Everything you said is true. Don’t tell my husband. Please.

Tanya Doyle 4 years ago

Silly man, with your fancy notions.


Gigi 4 years ago

I loved this!

Of course, in this house, we all know that *I* am the superior parent.

Amanda 4 years ago

Ha! My husband could have written this too. He likes to claim he’s the superior parent, but I know secretly he believes that I am!

Tracy 4 years ago

This is hilarious! I love hearing from the Dad’s perspective…everything is a competition!

thedoseofreality 4 years ago

The best thing about superior parents is that they rest comfortably anywhere knowing they are the best, which is great, since I am pretty sure the moment your wife reads this, your bed will be the backyard.
Finished your book the other day and immediately turned right back to the beginning and started it again. That is how very much I love it.

Kerrie McLoughlin 4 years ago

Holy crap, this has to be my husband writing this, only we have 5 kids and I homeschool. And when he travels for his job, I let the kids eat popsicle after popsicle and we stay up late and do all sorts of things I won’t reveal here. And when I leave for the rare 2 hours, I come home to a freaking immaculate house and clean kids who have been fed and played with. Oh, and there’s usually something amazing for dinner cooking. It’s annoying and wonderful at the same time.

    Student Mom 4 years ago

    Mine too! How he does it is beyond me! So totally grateful for him, too.

Pauline 4 years ago

Love this post! My husband believes the same thing. I’m not afraid to admit that he is better at some things, but it is a tight match.

Karin W 4 years ago

My husband is a fabulous parent – he’s even a better parent that I am but only to one child at a time. He can only solve one child’s problems at a time and if he’s asked to solve 3 problems at a time, no one, including him, comes out happy.

Christine @ Quasi Agitato 4 years ago

I am feverishly doing the math over here…using your criteria to try and figure out who rules in my household. Weirdly I keep coming up with my 4yo daughter as the winner….that can’t be right….I should have paid better attention in math class!

imperfectmomma 4 years ago

Love it! Men always think they are the better ones don’t they?

a Book for My Daughter 4 years ago

I loved this! I kept imagining my husband having the audacity to say any of the things you just wrote, and it made me laugh even harder. I love the tone, and the way in which you prove your point throughout. Mostly, I loved the way you ended it. Brilliant. Thank you for making me laugh today!

    a Book for My Daughter 4 years ago

    Oh, and I’m definitely going to read your book!

Sarah 4 years ago

Sounds like Michael Ian Black is married to my husband.

    Jadzia@Toddlerisms 4 years ago

    No, actually I think he is married to MY husband. The pushover. I keep telling him that he is only popular because he lets them do whatever they want, and friends like that are no friends at all.

Michelle 4 years ago

Haha… and my husband are must be members of the same secret society.

Alexis 4 years ago

That is awesome.
Perhaps if you are going to maintain a scoring system you could add a commerce system whereby parenting points could be traded for worthy parenting items. For example when you are sufficiently above your wife in parenting points you could trade in 10 points for a “Worlds Best Dad” mug or save up 30 points for a pink glitter kazoo and a sleeve of grape-scented stickers.

Stephanie 4 years ago

Ha! Sounds suspiciously like my house. Except here, I am, of course, the better parent. 😉

Miss Rebecca 4 years ago

Hilarity! My husband and I often fight about who is more stubborn… I secretly let him win, all the while, knowing that he is in fact the most stubborn! I sometimes go to sleep with a secret little smile, knowing that I have won that battle, while he thinks he’s won. Isn’t that the goal? That both parents be satisfied?
Oh, wait – we were talking about rearing children… I always forget the original focus… “It’s all about the kids!”

    Xtinews 4 years ago

    Children smildren… It is all about who is right!!

Zee 4 years ago

Great post! I shall show it to my husband, who will undoubtably declare me the “superior parent”. He knows what’s good for him, lol 😉

I am, however, guilty of “bed sheet origami”. I, and I alone, know the seven different ways of making the same child’s bed (depending on their mood).

Carrie 4 years ago

Oh, wow. I follow you on Twitter already and will be patiently waiting to see the results of your wife finding this.

Because she will.

Women know stuff about their men way before the men know stuff about the men.

If Twitter gets way less funnier…I’ll know she’s read this.


Sili 4 years ago

Oh my God! this was hilarious! I can’t stop laughing!

Kristin 4 years ago

I loved this book! So funny, and still truly touching. Glad to have a Father’s Day gift all set this early on. 😉

Amanda 4 years ago

I love Michael Ian Black and this post is fabulous!

Susan @ Mommy Mind Trip 4 years ago

Props to you for your willingness to write about it, so many men are ashamed to talk about their “superior parent” status.

Lynn from For Love or Funny 4 years ago

Not only are you the superior parent, you are a extremely brave man for saying it out loud! :)

    Rivka 2 years ago

    Brave and stupid are two different things:)

Arnebya 4 years ago

Good save at the end. Clear cut and undisputed winner…as long as she doesn’t read it (because then you know all hell would break loose. All better parent hell).


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