Why We Parents Use Self-Deprecating Humor
I feel like it’s pretty difficult to be in a conversation with any other parent without one of us making some kind of self-deprecating remark regarding the way we raise our kids.
While parenting is one of the most important jobs on the planet, there is no standard rating system to know how well we are doing; nor is there an official playbook for raising a kid.
To go around regularly giving unsolicited advice to other parents is often not appreciated because it can easily give the impression of being an arrogant know-it-all.
And since overall, not knowing what we’re doing as parents is the norm, it’s best to recognize and work with this.
So to play it cool and make each other feel comfortable, and not competed against, we splice in quick insults towards ourselves like, “well if I wasn’t such a horrible parent, I would…” or “guess I won’t be winning Mom of the Year for that…”.
Interestingly, we hold ourselves up against the impossible standards of “Supermom” or “Superdad” in which we inspire to be like. On the extreme, however, are “that mom” and “that dad” who dramatically overdo it, perhaps hoping to appear as the real life “Supermoms” and “Superdads” that don’t actually exist outside of black-and-white 1960′s sitcoms and modern day urban legends.
To be so openly judgmental of ourselves makes it unnatural for anyone else to be subconsciously critical of us first. The tension is eased and we allow ourselves to feel normal.
As a fun little game, start noticing this in conversations you have with other parents over the next several days. See how long it takes before the other person says something like, “Half the time I’m lucky to even get the [insert household chore here] done, much less make sure I’m wearing socks that match. But hey, that’s what it’s like when you have these rugrats keeping you busy all the time.”
If you get bored with that game, you could make things more interesting by seeing how quickly you can be the one to insult yourself first by starting the conversation like so:
“I haven’t brushed my teeth today, I gave my kid chocolate syrup and Twizzlers this morning for breakfast, and not to mention, I’m so lame I have the song ‘Don’t Bite Your Friends’ from Yo Gabba Gabba as my cell phone’s ring tone. Seriously, what happen to the cool version of me?”
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