My nine-year-old broke his ankle three weeks ago during his basketball playoff game. There’s no awesome tale to tell about how he did it. He tripped running down the court, end of story. On Friday, he’ll finally get his bright orange cast cut off—a fact he will proudly announce to anyone who asks, anyone who doesn’t, and to the random high school sophomore who works behind the counter at Insomnia Cookie.
To say he’s pumped to finally shed the Sunkist accessory south of his right knee would be an epic understatement. But I have to give him props for handling the entire debacle like a champ—always smiling, no complaints. To understand why this is such a big deal, I should probably give you some background. The nine-year-old was a “difficult” toddler. The kind of kid who threw at least five tantrums each morning before leaving the house. You know… because the tag in his shirt was itchy. Because the seam in his socks didn’t line up right. Because the chocolate chip cookies I packed him for lunch actually had chocolate chips in them. Because the bagel I meticulously toasted for him was too “crunchy.” The list goes on.
I spent a lot of time during those frustrating toddler years trying to “fix” my kid. And a lot of time washing empty wine glasses. What I didn’t do was think to start an Instagram account where users could share photos of their children in various stages of fit-throwing accompanied by a quick explanation and the hashtag #assholeparent. Mostly because Instagram didn’t exist yet—but still.
Blogger and mom of four Kristen Howerton did start such an Instagram account. And it turns out that she—and I—are not the only #assholeparents out there. Check out this post, for example:
And then there’s this:
Funny stuff. Because misery obviously loves company. Or as Howerton told The Huffington Post yesterday: “Despite our best efforts, children are often disappointed, and I’m hoping it can be a humorous reminder that we’re all in this together.”
And if you recognize that last line as something Troy Bolton might say, you are totally my spirit animal. Still, you should probably use at least a tiny bit of caution before throwing your kid under the bus and hitting the “send” button, because every moment of weakness you post is just one screen shot away from going viral. And while being a difficult toddler is something every child grows out of, being an asshole parent is forever.
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