Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The Truth About Parenting

A few months ago, our oldest child Theo – a newly minted Army officer - surprised us with a visit. He came home over a holiday weekend, because – get this – he just felt like it (awesome!); and we old folks at home were thrilled.  That is, I was enjoying his stay until something unfortunate occurred, an incident that left me, essentially, a broken woman, contemplating the futility of all human endeavour.

You see, I’ve spent many years (22, to be exact) watching reality steamroll over my naïve child-rearing aspirations.  As the mom of 6 kids born over a span of 13 years, I’ve experienced my share of disappointments: I’ve had to gradually surrender all my nutritional ideals to the great god Sugar, for example; I’ve watched the Internet pretty much destroy my dreams of a TV- free home; and I’ve even accepted that teaching my kids to maintain orderly bedrooms - and their actual doing so? - are two entirely separate matters.  

But, despite my multiple run-ins with reality as I raised the next generation, there remained one singular accomplishment on which I continued to pride myself.  Not to boast  but, as the mother of 3 boys, I trained those young lads from the beginning to ALWAYS put the seat and the lid down after using the toilet.  


I know…it was as if I had supernatural powers, right?

Is this REALLY so hard to do?
I knew – I KNEW – that, no matter what twists and turns my boys’ lives might take once they left the nest, this one principle that I had harped on for years would stay with them.  I KNEW that I had managed to raise young men who would be fundamentally incapable of leaving that seat up - at least in any household containing members of the fairer sex.  You know, in my darkest moments as the mother of teens, when the harsh reality of childrearing seemed bent on stripping me of the very last vestige of hope –  that hope that I could at all influence my growing children’s attitudes or beliefs or behavior?  In those darkest moments, I would wander into any one of the bathrooms in my home and reassure myself with the sight of that closed toilet.  It was a sign from the heavens, telling me that, yes, I was doing at least one thing right.

But that weekend, with my beloved first-born visiting, I walked into our powder room and discovered what was, essentially, a cross nailed through the heart of my one remaining parenting illusion.  That’s right – that darned toilet seat? It was UP.  There it stood, as it were, mocking any dreams I may have enjoyed of worshipful future daughters-in-law throwing flowers at my feet and thanking me for how well I had raised my sons.

The lesson here, folks, is a simple one.   In the Sisyphean struggle that is parenting, reality will always win.  Expect it.  EVERY SINGLE TIME.

[Toilet image:]


  1. At least you didn't fall in. That's something.

  2. That is something. I'm still trying to train mine to stop peeing somewhere other than in the bowl. And he's 10. I fear I'll never reach your level of parental awesomeness.

    1. We only have one bathroom and I'm always telling my 10 year old to go out and pee on the bush but he won't do it haha.

  3. Don't despair just yet. I managed to train my husband to put the toilet seat down (probably the ONLY thing I've been able to teach him) yet he still, after 21 years of marriage, occasionally forgets once or twice a year. At least your son has had those early years of training from you, so when he does get married his wife won't have to labour over this issue as much as I did.

  4. I just watched an episode of Malcolm in the Middle where the mom goes away for a couple of days and the dad completely reverts to this wild, bad-boy dude of his youth. Sometimes when you're not there to steer the reins it all kind of goes wonky. There's only so much you can do.

  5. Have you considered the possibility that your husband is the guilty party? Blame him then your male children will be redeemed. I admire you for training them to put the seat down. I only have 3 males in my house and I never even bothered to try. I just look before I sit.

  6. bawhahaaha

    I had pretty much got my husband trained up but something happened. I think he got together with my son and they signed a pack to take over the toilet seat position.

  7. Oh! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooo!

  8. Well that's just not good news for me. I'm going to pretend I didn't read this.

  9. O.M.G. The exact same thing happened to me. They were trained and it all came undone when they went to college.