Left: An old photo of a younger Fuzz Martin sitting on a couch, holding a video game controller with his eldest daughter, a baby at the time, sitting beside him. Right: A recent photo of Fuzz Martin with his family. From left to right: Fuzz’s wife, his eldest daughter, and his youngest daughter, who is holding flowers and a stuffed toy, all smiling together outdoors.

Big Dumb Kids

Parenting by/for Dummies

When you’re born, you come into this life thinking your parents know everything. They are your world and can do nothing wrong.

Then, when your first child is born, you panic. Do you know anything? Suddenly, you are this little human’s world. What if you do everything wrong? What if you screw them up forever?

Well, it turns out your parents didn’t know everything. Like you, they were just big dumb kids who had kids of their own. Only, they did it with fewer resources—financial, educational, healthcare, you name it. The only resource they likely had more of was childcare since there was a higher likelihood of a stay-at-home parent or a grandparent nearby.

Raising Xennial Babies

My parents had me when they were 22. It was the late ’70s. I’m sure it wasn’t easy. My first daughter was born when I was 25. I was nowhere near mature enough to be responsible for raising a child at that age. I can’t imagine being three years younger.

It’s also easy to forget that my parents did it without all of the tools that we Xennials1 and older Millennials have access to. They didn’t have the internet in their pockets 24 hours a day. They didn’t have a phone in their pockets until we kids were late into high school. They couldn’t search YouTube for videos on how to fix a bike, help with our math homework, or deal with angsty, hormonal middle schoolers.

At best, they could call a parent who grew up with even fewer resources. At worst, they had Oprah, parenting magazines, or simply nothing at all.

Thankfully, all of us reading—or writing—this survived.

A Very Short Book Review

I recently started reading Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents, not as a knock at my parents, but because it sounded like an interesting book that an acquaintance was reading.

Before I go too much further, here’s my very short review of the book:

I couldn’t get through it.

The book showcases some horror stories of controlling, dismissive, narcissistic, and perfectionist parents. I found myself asking, “What am I going to do with this information?” and thinking, “This book is probably great for someone who is currently living through some of these situations.” But it wasn’t for me.

Adult Children is not a feel-good book. It’s sad. I’m sure it’s a good book for those in the thick of it or struggling with deep scars, but I’m thankful that I’m not one of those people.

However, it gave me more respect and empathy toward my parents.

We’re All Just Older, Less Dumb Kids

Reading Adult Children also made me self-aware of my own parenting situation. My oldest is turning 20 this year. Yes, I’m more mature, successful, and responsible than I was at 25. But, at my core, I’m the same guy with a bit more experience, financial stability, and chill.

I’m hoping if someday my kids choose to have kids of their own, they’ll give themselves the grace to know that:

  1. We didn’t know what we were doing.
  2. Neither did our parents.
  3. Their kids are going to turn out just fine.

So, here’s to my parents, your parents, and all you big dumb kids out there raising kids.

Happy Father’s Day.

  1. Xennial: People born between the late 1970s and early 1980s, bridging the gap between Generation X and Millennials. Xennials had an analog childhood and a digital adulthood, giving them qualities of both the pre-internet and internet eras. ↩︎

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