The Ever-Growing Enrollment of the Bad Parenting Club


Author’s note: This first appeared on Raising Wild Things.

There’s a club out there for everyone. And now, with the expansiveness of the internet, if you’ve got an interest (no matter how strange or quirky it is), you can find others like you. That’s great for people who like to play chess underwater. It’s also great for us parents. Because, once we have kids, we belong to a club too.

It’s called the Bad Parenting Club. It’s an unavoidable fact that if you have a child (biological or otherwise), and you are responsible for raising them, you are a full-fledged member of the Bad Parenting Club. I’m a member twice over. In fact, I probably spend a good amount of time attending Bad Parenting Club “meetings”. I wouldn’t be surprised if the powers that be have considered making me chair.

I’ve been known to send our children on wild goose chases from time to time. I’m in a silent competition with myself to see how many pages of my book I can get through while they’re out on my dad-made distractions. I thought I’d finally outdone myself when I took them into the yard and challenged them…


Then, a couple weeks later we went to the beach…


So, yes. I am a member of the Bad Parenting Club. Even if I wanted to, I’d be hard-pressed to deny it. My biggest problem is that I find my kids hysterical. This isn’t usually a bad thing, but the problem arises when I catch them doing something like this…


…and I just can’t help but take a photo before I put an end to it.

The thing about this Bad Parenting Club is while I wouldn’t say I’m proud to be a member, I’m certainly not ashamed. You (I’m talking to YOU, overweight-beer-drinking-softball-league-playing dad) have a better chance of pitching a perfect game in the World Series than you ever do of being a perfect parent. That’s not to say I’m not aiming for it. But I’m also realistic.

My children are three and two years old. I’ve just started this “journey” – the quotes are because it feels more like a spin on the Tilt-a-Whirl than a journey, but that’s what all the fancy writers always call it, so that’s what I’ll use – and I’m proud to be a dad. I’m even proud to be a member of the Bad Parenting Club because that means I’m trying. You can’t be bad at something you don’t at least try.

I’m also proud because I’m part of another club. It’s the Excellent Parenting Club. I’m far from a nominee for chair in this club, and I definitely don’t spend as much time attending these “meetings”, but I’ve seen the room they’re held in. I know what their coffee smells like. I know that I’d like to be a regular there. And that’s really the first step to becoming a member.

One day, I expect to be going to the Excellent Parenting Club meetings more, and the Bad Parenting Club meetings less, but I’m not there yet. I’ve still got some more things to learn and some more work to put in. But I’ll get there. In the meantime, I’ll continue riding on the Tilt-a-Whirl, hoping to slow it down once in a while.

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