Parent for the Day

30 12 2008

We’ve all heard of High School parenting classes (maybe in not such crass terms but the idea is still there). We’ve all heard the horrors of lugging around a flour sack or even a mechanical doll that screams and cries like a real one. And we’ve all had a good laugh over the trauma. 

But – these classes – do they really make a difference? Does hauling around a mechanical doll that screams and cries randomly and only needs a minute or two of rocking to shut it up really show the trials of parenthood? Hormonal teenagers see the project as a six to nine week nuisance, yes? And, come on, do babies really scare away people? (Mechanical ones, I mean.)

Babies grow up, and rather quickly I might add. For a year, they’re small and uncertain and always crying. Then they’re two, and walking, talking, and climbing. They don’t stop yelling, however. So, how is a mechanical baby going to show the trials of parenthood?

It doesn’t. It’s a teaser, yes. It shows what the beginning will be like, and it begs for patience and tolerance. But what about everything else? The hardest part of parenthood – the childhood.

If people really want to show teenagers and possibly college students (the current generation apparently has a delayed maturity) what parenthood is like then they need to create ‘Parent for a Day.’ And I mean, parent for a day. Not a few hours here or there. I mean, the whole day. 

And the age can vary, from 2 to 7. But from morning to night, the “parent” takes care of the child. And I don’t mean like a babysitter, but like a parent. All the way from entertaining the kid to running errands to doing chores. The typical (non-working) day of a mother or father.

Now that’s a typical day in the life of a parent. Not a mechanical doll that cries and yells randomly. But a bright-eyed, very much alive child who can speak, demand, yell, cry, and run (all at once even).  And doing errands and chores with a bored kid is no easy feat. And entertaining a kid will show you just how old you’re getting.

I imagine that will (or could) make all the difference. Much more than a sack of flour or mechanical baby can ever do at least.