In Honor of Festivus, Parents Air Their Top Grievances
Think the holidays are all about basking in the company of beloved family and friends? Think again. Every year, when December 23rd rolls around, people across the country gather to celebrate the infamous Seinfeld-inspired holiday of Festivus and commence the annual Airing of Grievances. It’s a sacred moment to bellyache about all the ways in which our kids, friends, family and yes, even strangers and super-annoying products, have made our parenting lives even harder. Trust us, it’s cathartic. Following the Festivus tradition, we’ve rounded up a list of top grievances from fellow moms and dads to help get you in the holiday spirit.
Wouldn’t it be great if kids played only with the gorgeous Scandi-chic wood toys that are forever Instagram-ready? But oh no—it’s the obnoxiously bright plastic clunkers whose shrill sounds can be heard from any room of the house that are destined to be littered all over the living room, decor aesthetics (and our eardrums) be damned.
There’s no greater lie than when a child declares he or she is full after taking two bites of dinner. Pants on fire! You know how we know? Because these very same children say they’re starving as soon as all the plates are cleared. “Gonna start keeping track of hrs my kids didn’t sleep and meals they didn’t eat. Going to be one hell of a #Festivus this year,” joked Christin J. on Twitter.
Stop. Giving. Kids. Balloons.They inevitably pop or float away and we’re left to deal with the aftermath of sobbing. Or the balloon takes roughly 10 months to slowly deflate and die while hovering in corner of the living room, and your child refuses to part with it until the last wisp of helium has escaped. “I was about to leave the kids’ haircutting place, when the stylist chased after us, offering my son a balloon. In unison, my husband and I shouted, ‘NO,’” laughs Tacy P. “Balloons are the worst.”
Here’s a great rule of thumb: If the kid walking up the slide, dangling from the monkey bars by one knee or, heaven forbid, running super-fast is not your child, please keep your paranoid safety warnings to yourself. Kids are being kids—and chances are, their own parents or caregivers are keeping a watchful eye over them at a respectable distance. “I hate parents who follow their kids around on the play equipment and glare at you if you’re not shadowing your 3-year-old because you’re watching the younger kid,” says Abbie R. Helicopter parents can just go hover elsewhere.
Where is it? Why does it vanish again just seconds after it’s finally found? Do kids hoard them in a secret cellar somewhere? “I can’t even count how many sippy cups I’ve bought. It’s ridiculous,” says Kate G. “And if I do find them, they’re filled with a cottage cheese-like substance.” (Don’t even get us started on how hard it is to clean those nasty straws.)
No, your child is not 27 months old—she’s 2 years old. Stop making people do unnecessary math.
Early pickups, late starts, entire days off—it’s really quite impossible to be a functioning adult who accomplishes grown-up things (like errands, or a job) when your child’s fluctuating school schedule is always cramping your style.
“I belong to a support group for new moms, and for the most part it’s really great. But there has been a fair amount of humble-bragging by a couple of the gals, and it drives me crazy,” says Michelle F. You know, comments like, “Oh, my baby only sleeps for 6-hour stretches at night,” or “I can’t believe I’m wearing my pre-pregnancy jeans already.” Humble brags are subtle digs in disguise, and no one appreciates them.
“My kids never, ever want to get in the bath, but once they’re in there, they don’t want to leave!” says Lavern T. Basically the game is rigged so we parents can never win.
When you’re incapacitated with a sinus infection, dead asleep or in the middle of juggling dinner or taking a pee, you’d assume your kids would take notice and not badger you with requests, right? Wrong. They’ll walk right on by your able-bodied, fully awake, non-multitasking partner to ask you to do something completely unimportant. Thanks, kids.
“I’ve heard my child talk about my pimples with her kindergarten classmates!” says Casey P. And it gets even worse. Children will tell anyone everything, from how much wine mommy drinks with dinner to how long daddy spends on the toilet.
The brand rep at Costco giving out samples, the lady at the bank, grandma—everyone seems to love doling out unsolicited snacks to babies and kids. “Why are people always trying to give my baby food?” wonders Megan W. “She’s not hungry. She doesn’t need a snack! Ask me first!” Plus, you know, allergies. Come on, people.
You know that preschool TV cartoon with zero plot and even worse animations? “The creators of Caillou should be immediately taken to The Hague and tried for crimes against humanity,” Timothy S. writes on Twitter. “#AiringOfGrievances #Festivus.” Can’t disagree.
There are many, many things that can go wrong when taking small humans out to eat. They can have full-blown meltdowns, and everyone in the restaurant hates you. You can hand your child an iPad to keep them entertained while you all eat, and everyone in the restaurant judges you. Or things could be going swimmingly—until the server places every dangerous item imaginable directly in front of your baby. Steak knife? Glass bottle? Scalding fajita pan? Check, check and check.
Having your kid doze off in the stroller a minute before you get to the front door is not cool. Having them pass out in the car as soon as we pull up grandma’s house? Also uncool. Having baby fall blissfully asleep the second he’s put down, not to be heard from again until 8 a.m.? Very cool—and never happens.
When did we become the grinch of our families? “Oh, let her have a cookie!” “Mommy says you can’t watch another show.” “Where have you been keeping my grandbabies!” Nana, husband, whoever you are—please stop. We really don’t deserve to be thrown under the bus.
Glaring at a mom who’s struggling with a child mid-tantrum is not helpful. Gawking at a mom who’s breastfeeding is inappropriate. Staring at a special needs child is rude. Just keep your unsolicited looks to yourself.
Published November 2017