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 Gummi 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.

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.

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.)


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  1. 26

    Unvarnished Mom says

    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!

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  2. 27

    Brian says

    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?

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  3. 29

    Mother Ruckus says

    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!

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  4. 31

    zeemaid says

    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. ;)

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  5. 32

    Amber Snow says

    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.

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  6. 34

    Cassie says

    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!

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  7. 35

    Rachel says

    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…

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  8. 38


    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..

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