By Charlotte Latvala
If you have children, it is your God-given right – no, it is your duty – to live your life through them.
Otherwise, why do the little fiends exist?
Ok, we’re being facetious. They exist to fetch wine and hummus when you don’t feel like walking all the way to the kitchen. But by 50, you deserve more. Whether your children are 13 or 30, they should fulfill every desire, whim, and wistful longing you ever had.
- Set the tone by continually reminding them of your sacrifices. You never moved to London, got that Ph.D., or finished Season Two of Game of Thrones. And it’s all their fault. Somehow.
- Use the royal we. “We finally passed the driving test!” “We’re done filling out college applications!” or “We got accepted to Magnificent State University!” It sounds almost normal if you say it often enough.
- Pretend to be the most involved parent in any group. The best way to glean satisfaction from your child’s life is to be omnipresent. To get out of actual work, however, use the phrase “Sorry, I’m crazy busy” as often as you can. Refer to less-involved parents, behind their backs, as “dead weight.”
- Cultivate friendships with parents whose kids aren’t as talented as yours. Subtly lead the conversation to your child’s accomplishments whenever possible.
- Push your child into a sport/hobby/eccentric obsession that will make him unique among all humans – the earlier the better. Become a quasi-expert yourself. (Learning a few jargony terms is enough; becoming a real expert takes more time and effort than any 50-year-old parent has.)
- Go see a community theater performance of “Gypsy” and insist that you don’t get the point.
- Point out some minuscule flaw in your child, and rephrase it so it seems to be an enviable trait. (“Gavin is such a perfectionist! It drives me insane when won’t settle for less than a 4.0.”)
- Spend ridiculous amounts of money traveling to out-of-state tournaments, competitions, and performances, but tell yourself it will all be worth it when your child is the first-ever archer, luger, or liturgical dancer who’s a household name.
- If at first you don’t succeed, try again with the grandchildren.