I’m Doing Everything Wrong

On Wednesday morning, something miraculous occurred in my house.

I overslept (watching Shadowhunters the night before an hour later than usual and insomnia) and my kids got up, showered, dressed, made their breakfast, ate breakfast, brushed their teeth, cleaned up their breakfast dishes, packed their lunch snacks and were practically in hats and coats by the time I lumbered downstairs.

All of this happened without fighting, and electronics and television were off.


Based on previous experiences of parenting euphoria–when my kids slept through the night the first time, when they stayed dry through the night for the first time, when they behaved well and other parents complimented my husband and me–I knew something would happen immediately to take away my high and I’d come crashing down to Earth.

All I had to do was check Facebook on my phone. I follow Slate on Facebook, and came upon this article. I took a deep breath. My kids and I have started to talk about allowances, and I came up with an age-appropriate chore chart for each child. We all reviewed it together and I printed out copies and posted them in their rooms. I said, OK, if you complete all the chores for the week without me having to remind you, then you’ll get an allowance.

That was about a month ago, and I still haven’t had to give out an allowance yet. Whenever someone asks, I direct him or her to the chart, the child says “Oh,” and that’s the end of the conversation.

I come across these articles once every few months. The Atlantic has a handy list of everything I’m doing wrong. Slate has devoted a whole section of its website to this kind of piece. Even the Washington Post gets in on the act.

It’s amazing that I’m nearly 40 and I’m a relatively productive member of society. According to these articles, I’m a walking grenade without its pin.

I’m not denying I make mistakes; I do that every single day. Could I go about doing certain things in a better way? Absolutely. I don’t know everything and in my quest to be right all the time I sure do want to know how to do things more efficiently.

When I read this articles I only make it about two paragraphs before the condescension and negativity drive me away. I certainly don’t want to take any suggestions because a lot of the time, they’re more complicated and come from experts like a personal chef who doesn’t have two picky children and a pickier husband with a discerning palate.

Hey, writers and editors of You’re Doing It Wrong articles: YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG. Instead of focusing on what people are doing wrong, tell them what they’re doing right, and emphasize the benefits of following your advice. For example: We’ve discovered how to make great tasting pasta in half the time so you can spend more time listening to your family tell you they hate it. Or: We know you love sushi, here’s how you can enjoy it more without spilling all of the soy sauce all over the place. And: Your kids start to learn about money in math class in second grade or so. It’s great if you start teaching them about allowances then.

(Aside, my daughter learned more about financial literacy from selling Girl Scout cookies for four years than I could ever teach her from the Slate article.)



I’m Doing Everything Wrong

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