Adam Mansbach seems to take the ritual of putting his kids to bed a little more lightly then I do. There was a time when I had my kids every night and I put them to sleep with a book maybe two. If they asked for another I’d say ok and usually fell asleep in their bed. Later when my (now ex) wife got home from work at about 11 she would wake me and tell me to come to bed. The ritual was nice and I didn’t mind it one bit.
I know in more traditional households when parents are together they are trying to make more time for each other rather than spending all their time putting their kids to sleep. And for them this book comes off as quite comical. In fact, I even wrote a poem called Little Bed Buggers to highlight my own challenges to put my girls to sleep. I just think the problem I have with Adam’s book is it appears as a children’s book from the cover and very well could be confused with one. I’d hate for a child to find daddy reading to himself and laughing and the child come in and ask him to read the book to her. I mean I have made up a few words to stories a few times but I certainly can’t change the entire book.
Sure, I’m being overly sensitive to something that doesn’t appear to be more than a harmless joke but that is my second issue. I have seen more and more people shirking off the responsibility of parenting. There are school teachers calling kids lazy, there are parents on Facebook allowing their children to drown and there are weirdoes going out to play ninja while their kids are sleeping.
All of this says people don’t take parenting seriously and they are so self involved or so resentful of their children they don’t see it as the blessing that it is. Children have a pureness of love and joy that adults can struggle to find. And when it is your child that lights up when you read to them and care for them then you can truly appreciate what it is to be a parent.
I’d really like to see more parents say, my child means more to me than watching TV or getting to bed 15 minutes early. I’d like teacher to say, I stay after school just to make sure all the kids are understanding. I’d like the government to say education is the highest priority and creating a future full of great mind is more important than making money selling weapons to the middle east.
But it starts at home, with each person taking this job of parenting seriously. I don’t expect anyone to not laugh or think that the struggles of parenting will just disappear. I’d like it if there was more education for parents and more acceptance for people that aren’t ready to be parents. I see the family system breaking down at every turn and I think making children the joke or the victims in all of this is going to have change.