Do I have to?

I realize it’s wayyy too early to even be thinking about this stuff. But really, I always have, so why would it stop when I’m actually going to have to be a parent?

I’m talking about all those things that parents do – or let their little kids do – and all of the things these same parents complain about. Overblown birthday parties for two year olds. Letting your toddler play with (and smash) your phone or iPad. Trailing crumbs and juice spills all over the house. Watching that insufferable little Caillou brat. Listening to Raffi on a steady loop. Leaving a party at 7 pm because it’s baby’s bedtime. Being endlessly interrupted by a three-year old. Taking an hour to put baby down to sleep.

Channeling Carrie Bradshaw here: I can’t help but wonder…do I have to?

Can’t I skip throwing the parties the kid won’t even remember? Can’t a kid be taught that food and drinks are for the kitchen, not the couch, even if the rules are different for mom and dad? Can’t I simply refuse to hand my phone over to a two-year old? Can’t I tell him that Caillou is dead and Raffi is for suckers and make him listen to the Beastie Boys and watch Vanderpump Rules? Can’t I let the kid fall asleep on a pile of coats in a spare bedroom just like we all did when our parents went to parties when we were little? Can’t you teach a three-year old that they can say, “excuse me” when they want something and wait until mom acknowledges them before they speak?

In this moment of all-knowing-I-don’t-have-a-kid-yet wisdom, I think you can. I think I can. And I know it is at least possible, because every once in a while I see a mom who does these things and it looks fine. It looks better than fine, actually, it looks like a mom with non-sticky carpets and her friendships, identity, sanity and phone screen intact. In fact, it looks a lot like my own mom. And that, my friends, is mighty fine indeed.