There are flyers posted all over my community announcing an adult education lecture entitled Growing Good Kids: A Jewish Approach. This interests me from the get-go. I would like to grow good kids. I tried to grow good tomatoes last spring and it did not go as planned. It’s a good thing that my children can verbally express their need for hydration.
So I read further down on the flyer to note the date and time and speaker, and I see a familiar face smiling back at me from the page. The lecture is being given by my husband. Apparently he is a community-wide authority on how to raise good children. Good to know.
In truth, this is a problematic development. For starters, my children are young, and the jury is still out on whether they can officially be declared ‘good’. Some days it is uncertain if they can be declared ‘human’, so ‘good’ is not at all a done deal.
But now that my confident husband has publicly implied that his masterpieces are complete, let’s just imagine for a wonderful moment that they do turn out ok. Given that I am now married to Mr. Perfect Parent it is highly unlikely that I will get any of the credit. The conversation will most certainly go:
‘Those are some good kids’
‘well, duh, their dad is awesome!’
‘What’s their mom like?’
‘Oh child, their mama’s so useless she’s like a screen door on a submarine.’
But in the event that my children go by way of last year’s tomato crop, the talk will undoubtedly go like this:
‘What rotten kids. Their father really tried his best. Pity that their mother is a social deviant.’
‘I know, and she has such a pretty face…’
To recap, I will get no recognition for my bit part in raising stellar beings, or all of the blame for my role in this adaptation of the fable where the shoemaker’s children have no shoes. For the record, my kids may be depraved, but they are NOT barefoot.
So what’s a girl to do? Attend the lecture and endure the comments of ‘oh, so you’ve come to learn a thing or two from your brilliant husband?’ Or don’t go, and risk overhearing ‘if only she had attended that lecture…’ as I wrestle my tantruming child away from the grocery store/playground/tattoo parlor where he is demanding more chocolate/ play time/ fire breathing raccoons on his torso.
And here’s the kicker. Deep down I know that my husband is a better parent than I am. He is more patient, more consistent, a better wrestler, and his pancakes are always freakishly round. People should come out on a Sunday night to hear him talk, and they should privately wonder what the heck he is doing with me (I make really good soup. And I have billions of dollars stashed all over the Cayman Islands. Bet it didn’t occur to you that maybe I was the one that settled! ) So we now have a deal. He is responsible for the moral guidance of our offspring. He will grow them good and Jewish. And I will make sure they have soup and shoes. And store-bought tomatoes.