In an attempt to boost herd immunity, the state of California passed legislation last week that will outlaw the personal belief exemption for childhood vaccinations, essentially requiring all school-age children in the state to get vaccinated.
But why stop there? I want more out of life than avoiding the mumps. There are so many parenting practices we could outlaw in the name of making life easier, by forcing parents everywhere to adhere to the same set of rules. Call it “parenting herd immunity.” I’m no state senator, but here’s what I’d ban:
Busting Out of the School Drop-Off Line
We all know how lines work. But here’s a refresher: You get in line. You stay in line. You don’t get out of the line. You especially don’t swing your Denali out of line because you can’t wait for the 5-year-old in the car in front of you to get her lunchbox.
The Over-Extravagant Tooth Fairy
This should be an “all-play.” Kid loses a tooth, kid gets a dollar. Unless your child loses a limb along with the tooth, any bill in a larger denomination is over the top.
The Work-of-Art Lunchbox
I’ve got news for you: Your kid throws out half his lunch every day. Or he spends his lunch period fashioning his organic baby carrots into a set of fangs. Either way, your post-modernist take on how to artfully arrange a fruit salad is all for naught.
The Impossible-Math-Homework Facebook Post
Getting through my own personal slog with my children and their math homework only to then find the same math homework on FB sometimes make me want to cry; I can only handle feeling stupid at math once per evening. So let’s just keep it to our own kitchens and soldier on.
The Swanky Birthday Party Gift Bag
Here is the rule: a handful of candy and a small piece of plastic crap, like a kazoo that never works. That’s it. No more lavish gift cards to the local ice cream joint or $30 worth of Pokémon cards. The gift bag swag doesn’t need to be a lasting token. It just needs to survive the car ride home.
The Over-Celebration of Ordinary Events and Lesser Milestones
Dispense with the cupcakes for half-birthdays, quarter-birthdays and average report cards. Stop it with the leprechaun traps and the Earth Day dirt cups and the perfectly decorated “May the Fourth” Star Wars cookies. Let’s just stick to the major holidays and call it a day.
The Too-Early iPhone
If your child still has the occasional potty accident, thinks The Elf on the Shelf is real or still needs you to cut the food on her plate, she’s too young for her own iPhone.
The Perfect Playdate
Stop raising the bar on playdates. Just take my kid home with you and send them into the yard/basement/hallway of your apartment building. Don’t provide a make-your-own sundae bar, a decoupage art project or a trip to the rock-climbing wall. Please.
Moms of the world, join me in putting down our collective, TOMS-wearing feet. If we band together, we might just make it through the next dozen years or so—sanity, self-esteem and savings accounts intact.
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