I’m a better parent than you.
Sorry. I know this is tough for some of you to hear. Just accept it. It’s easier that way.
I’m a better parent than you and I’ll tell you why.
I dominate the morning routine.
Today, like every day, I woke my son up, got him dressed, gave him something to eat, and took him to school. But whatever. We all do that. That’s not why I’m a better parent than you.
I made sure that my son goes to a high-quality school.
I moved him to a good zone, vetted the curriculum and the teachers, got input from other local parents, made sure the student/teacher ratio was healthy, and toured their facilities until I found the perfect place for my son to enroll. But that’s not why I’m a better parent than you.
I keep him clothed and fed.
I bathe him. I buy him toys and take him to movies and let him watch TV. I don’t buy him too many toys or take him to too many movies or let him watch too much TV. I make sure he’s not deprived but I don’t spoil him either. I’m ensuring that he grows up with a good work ethic and the right values. Again, this is basic stuff, and it doesn’t make my parenting superior to yours.
I discipline my kid when he acts out.
I make sure he knows why he’s in time-out, what made his behavior unacceptable, and how we can prevent it from happening again, all while reassuring him that I love him, and will always love him, no matter what. Even when he throws a tantrum. I explain to him that everyone needs limits, and I’m there to help him discover and set his, because there are consequences for his actions. He understands this, and he knows right from wrong. But that’s not why I’m a better parent than you.
I read to my son every night.
I also encourage his creativity, along with his interest in music and playing the guitar. I put on a cape and pretend to be Superman with him. Sometimes I pretend to be Lex Luthor, if he wants – even if that means shaving my head to be convincing (I’ve never done that) – because I love playing with my son and want to make sure he develops a healthy imagination. I play catch with him, I practice bike-riding with him, I wrestle with him, I dance with him, I tickle him.
I’m all-in on this fatherhood thing.
From the good stuff to the bad, from the pain-in-the-ass parenting tasks to the fun, pretending-to-have-superpowers parts, I’m totally devoted to raising my son right, giving him everything he needs, being there for him in every way, and loving him unconditionally.
But I know I’m not alone in those things, or in any of these things. None of the above make me a better parent than you.
What makes me a better parent than you is the fact that I don’t worry about what kind of parent you are. I’m not comparing myself to you or judging you or basing my parenting on yours. I’m doing what’s best for me and my son. You go ahead and do what’s best for your family. (Unless you think that means not getting vaccinated. Because that’s dangerous and stupid.)
I’m a better parent than you because I don’t care about your parenting. And you shouldn’t care about mine.
A version of this first appeared on Dad and Buried.