Aug. 19, 2011 at 11:00 AM ET
In our Real Mom Secrets survey, 26,000 moms confessed their darkest parenting secrets. But what about dads? Don't they have guilty secrets, too? They sure do, and dad blogger Bob Trott reveals his here.
Iread "The Mom-Judging Olympics: A competition nobody meant to enter" and furrowed my brow, shrugged my shoulders and made a too-loud “Pffffffft!” sound. Sure, it’s an unavoidable facet of human nature to compare yourself with others -- and ipso facto you’ve just judged them -- but the extent to which TODAY Moms do it shocked me a bit. Ninety percent! And on every topic under the parenting sun, too. “Easy now, live and let live – take a cue from us dads,” I was ready to say, with as little smug as possible.
Then, I remembered Chin-Up Dad.
I saw Chin-Up Dad at the playground a couple of weeks ago. He wore a skin-tight, sleeveless black t-shirt (solid black – I guess his Ed Hardy tees were in the wash), matching shorts, and enough gel to keep the “Jersey Shore” guys’ hair crispy for three months. He earned his nickname on the jungle gym, repeatedly. Up and down, up and down. We get it, guy, you’re ripped. Enough already. Then, I noticed his son acting like a punk and I actually smiled – my envy over Chin-Up Dad’s sculpted torso and bulging arms was suddenly folded into sweet, righteous judgment. Because his kid was cutting line at the slide, not caring about the other children – even pushing one – while oblivious Chin-Up Dad was using the monkey bars as a gym workstation and chatting up a mom.
I judged Chin-Up Dad. I judged his brains out. Felt pretty good, too.
So now that I’ve ceded the moral high ground on judgment (When you reconsider your position after a mere 10 seconds of thought, did you ever really have the high ground? Probably not), this TODAY Moms and Parenting.com survey makes a lot more sense. I generally give moms a pass – remember, I’m just trying to keep my head down, so I’m loathe to point fingers. And with fathers, perhaps it’s the soft bigotry of low expectations, but unless I see a guy swinging his toddler around by the foot like a baby lariat, or driving off with his kid in a car seat on the roof, I tend to judge the dads I see as Swell Fellows.
The one thing I have absolutely no qualms or guilt about judging –an adult smacking a child – is something that, thankfully, I haven’t witnessed in a long time. If and when I see that, I will be one judgmental son of a bee-sting. Know that.
I suppose that I feel bad judging any other parent because I always feel a little bad for them. I look at their child, who’s nowhere near as awesome as mine and never will be, and shrug. They’re doing the best they can with what they have to work with.
Now, the "confessions" part of the TODAY Moms survey hit closer to home. For example, I’ve heard my wife and kid come home and the kid’s wailing about something, so I stayed down here in my basement office “working” until the screams died down. (My wife may have thought my diligent work ethic was a bit suspect, but she’s only now getting confirmation on it, reading this – Hi, honey! And, sorry.)
Also, my daughter turned 2 this past Monday, but we couldn’t throw a party for her because we were out town over the weekend. (“But you know your child’s birthday, so why would you schedule a trip then?” you’re asking. See what we did there? Evil!)
Have you asked a dad about judging other dads? Or their secrets and confessions? (I asked my wife to read this over, and her first comment was “I KNEW you hid in the basement!!!!” That’s four exclamation points.) Share your thoughts below.
Bob Trott blogs about his adventures in parenting at Dad Solo.