Parents, for almost two decades I’ve been watching you and your kids.
Yes, that is officially the creepiest sentence I have ever typed. With the possible exception of, “About last night… you were sleeping so soundly, I felt it best not to wake you… but don’t worry, I cleaned up after myself.”
Whoa. I even creeped myself out with that one. Time to move on, I’d say.
Today’s message is simple: I’m about to give parents a few simple guidelines that even a Kardashian could implement. Executed properly, these tips should resurrect a vacation that would otherwise be dead on arrival.
Or so I’m guessing. To be clear, there is no actual guarantee with my advice.
ONE) Stop bringing cookies, bread without butter, and every form of junk food known to man with you on vacation. You may think you’re being economical and saving money, but you’re not – not by a long shot.
Just think of the future cost of having a morbidly-obese child. Do you think it’s worth it to buy bags of crap for your clan if they wind up having to have a wall taken down just so they can leave their beds? Seriously, progenitors, no matter how much you may hate it, the fact is, you’re going to have to spend money on actual food while traveling.
And by “actual food”, I mean healthy food. The life you’ll be saving will be your kin’s.
TWO) Giving your young children Red Bull first thing in the morning – or at all – is wrong. Stop doing it. I shouldn’t have to keep saying this, but here goes… Red Bull really isn’t the greatest beverage for a human of any age (or an animal, for that matter), but it definitely isn’t an appropriate chaser for a well-balanced breakfast.
I can’t help but shudder every time I see a rug rat bouncing off the walls of the lobby (sometimes literally) as they grip a can of Red Bull tightly. Our hearts are delicate instruments that need time to grow and strengthen through childhood. Overtaxing your child’s immature ticker with energy drinks is an act of cruelty, parents.
Again, stop doing it.
THREE) Having sex with your spouse while on vacation with your kids is no easy feat, so consider it carefully. Why do so many parents go into it blind? I hear comments like this all the time:
“Mommy and Daddy had to take a shower together because Daddy said Mommy is a ‘dirty bitch who needs a good spanking!'”
“Mommy said we had to go to Grandpa and Grandma’s room so her new boyfriend could change her oil!”
“We could hear our parents having ‘secs’ last night! Daddy started crying after!”
“Mommy and Daddy pretended to be our dogs last night when we were supposed to be sleeping!”
I can certainly understand – and applaud – parents who have managed to maintain an active, healthy sex life, but having relations while your offspring is in the same room, or worse, the next bed, is one million types of wrong. (I’ve done the math.) So fornicate smarter not harder, folks.
If you can’t arrange a room with a separate sleeping quarters – with a door – for the kids? Don’t have sex.
If you know they may be listening (and will be unattended) at the door while you engage in shower sex? Don’t have sex.
If you’re not traveling with other couples who can take turns watching your kids while you make the Beast With Two Backs? Don’t have sex.
Yes, I realize “Don’t have sex” is like saying “Don’t breathe”, especially when you really want a big lungful of “air”, but you don’t want to scar your kids, do you? Okay, so right now some of you are saying,
“Screw ’em, they’ll be fine! I need to get my rocks off after shilling out thousands for a vacation in Niagara Falls!”
Trust me, I’ve been there. In fact, my drive revs higher now than when I was a teenager. But you need to show some restraint. (Using that word didn’t help, did it?) Being a parent requires sacrifice, temporarily, but you can do it. Childhood is wild enough these days, don’t make it even ickier.
FOUR) Put the devices away! Yes, even yours, parents. I know I say this a lot, but anyone who has ever spent more than a few minutes in a hotel lobby can attest to this statement’s importance. Every day I see hundreds of people with their faces glued to their phones and tablets while their friends and family do the same.
They look disconnected from the world.
They look lonely among us.
They look like idiots who have no idea what they’re missing.
Don’t be a tech-addicted idiot while traveling with your kids, parents.
FIVE) When I deliver your bags, don’t send your kids to the door – sans tip – while you hide in the far end of the room. Not only is it cowardly, – stiff me to my face – it’s just plain reckless. You don’t know me; why are you leaving your kids in a room with me?
And yes, “stiff me to my face” is what she said, thank you very much.
SIX) Never let your kids play sports in the hallways. Hockey parents are the worst offenders. Too many of them let their spawn run amok in the lobby, elevators, hallways and anywhere I happen to be.
This is not cool.
People have paid good money for their rooms, folks. Let them be, won’t you?
SEVEN) Don’t use your newborn’s stroller as a luggage cart. Sure, you’ve saved yourself a few dollars in tip money – but you look like a complete and total douche. Put your baby where it belongs and use a cart, you moron!
EIGHT) Never let your kids run around like Tasmanian devils on the Valet Deck. They’ll get hit by another neglectful parent in a mini-van and suddenly, you’ll be “Parent of the Year”, screaming and wailing like a maniac over the fate of you beloved child – who you didn’t care about moments earlier. I’ve seen it happen more than once.
NINE) Keep an eye on your kids inside the hotel as well. We’ve never had a child disappear for more than a moment or two at the hotel, and even then, it was usually because they got on an elevator before their guardians/parental units did.
But there’s a first time for everything.
TEN) Talk to your kids! This is going to be difficult for many parents to grasp but…
Your kids are real, not-quite-formed human beings with thoughts, opinions and even feelings.
Yes, the same mind that thinks it’s okay to put the cat in the microwave to dry it off after putting it in the washer actually has real emotions and opinions. Amazing, isn’t it?
The sad truth is, shift work, the disintegration of the Nuclear Family and a general lack of consideration for the role of a devoted parent in a child’s life have given us a society overrun with Kardashian clones. I get it. I realize how tough it is to get through to the modern-day teen. They’re so busy obsessing over, well… everything, that it feels like you’ll never be able to tune your messages to their wavelength.
But guess what? That’s what parents have been saying since the beginning of humanity. Every generation feels the one that follows is a mystery they’ll never be able to solve.
But giving up isn’t the answer.
Your kids deserve better.
So talk to them.
About anything at first, and then the really big issues.
This has been, “I’m A Better Parent Than You: With Robert Hookey”.
See you in the lobby, parents…