October 15, 2010

Embarrassing my kids

I was asked the other day by my soon-to-be 15yr old son:

A: "When did you decide to be an embarrassing parent?"

Me: "Ohhh...long before you kids were born."

So there you have it. I'm an embarrassing parent....and dang proud of it I might add.

I thought I'd share some of the embarrassing things I have done, or do, in case I can 'inspire' other embarrassing parents around the globe.

I will start with the fact that I grew up with my own 'embarrassing parents'. My mother would openly sing while we'd be walking around the shops. At one time I was in a little store with my mother while she was singing. We were the only two there along with the lady behind the counter. I told mum to "Shhhhh...don't sing". I must have been 15 at the time. Mum stopped singing and the lady behind the counter said "Leave your mother alone and let her sing." I never again told mum to "Shhhhh".

My mother also likes to use words other than the correct ones. For example: instead of asking for the 'instructions' she'll ask for the 'destructions'. It's not a 'knife', it's a 'Kah-nife'. It's not an 'avocado' it's an 'Ah-vock-a-do'. One of my greatest fears about getting pulled up by the police for speeding or broken headlight or something, is that I'll say "Yes ossifa" because I heard it so much growing up.

My father wasn't exempt either. My father would randomly go and open the front door of the house and YELL "I LOVE MY WIFE!!!". He was well known around the place for his rendition of "The Three Little Pigs". It was just him up on stage without any props or costumes. Ohhhhh everyone would be in fits of laughter. If only we had a recording of it so I could share it with my own children now. There was also the time when we were playing  Blind Man's Bluff  one FHE. My father always thought it funny to pretend to be and pretend to sound like mum to throw the person who was blindfolded, off. This one night he went even further and went and threw on one of mum's nightgown's so that if he was 'caught' he might be able to confuse the person even more and they really might think he was mum. But wait, there's more....the room we were playing in was the front room by the front door. Beside the front door was a window so we could see who was at the door. This meant whoever was at the door could see us. On this particular night dad decided to be even funnier and climb on top of the filing cabinet, in full view of said window, while wearing my mother's nightgown. We were in full swing of the game and didn't hear the first knock at the door but we surely heard the second one. Yup....someone from around the neighbourhood had come to speak to dad about our dog. We were all in fits.

I'm thankful for my 'embarrassing parents' and the wonderful memories they have created for me. With that in mind, of COURSE I wanted to be counted as one of them when my own children started coming along. 

When my oldest was in grade 7 (schools over here go 1-7 and 8-12) and lined up with her entire grade level to go on a field trip I did what I though all parents would do and YELL out from across the road "Have fun S!! 'Member mummy loves you. Have a good time. Love you. BYE....." 

When my children have gone on camping trips or conferences of any length (anything from three nights to two weeks) I generally run along side the bus waving and blowing kisses while pretending to cry that I'm going to miss them. Yes, even when my son went on his grade 12 ski trip. Of course when they get home and off the bus I'm there again yelling their name while running up to them telling them how happy I am and how much I missed them.

When my daughter was in grade 8/9 she begged me NOT to beep the horn or yell out when I dropped her off at school. Which of course meant ALL of us in the car wound the windows down and yelled out to her. It wasn't long after that when she said it didn't bother her anymore because all the other kids around, had parents too. It's a good thing because for her 16th birthday I printed off photos of her as a baby as well as a couple of recent ones, and plastered them on the fence across the road from school so EVERYONE would see them when they came out. There were balloons and streamers as well.

When my oldest son M started high school (which is grade 8 over here)I told him that if he didn't kiss me goodbye when I dropped him off at school I would go after him. He tried it one day in his first year. He knew full well I couldn't keep up with him. He jumped out of the car with a huge grin on his face and took off. I got out of the car and walked in the direction he ran. He and his friends would bob their head from around the corner of buildings and give me a huge grin before taking off again.

I proceeded up to the office and asked them where his first class was. I made my way down there where he realized he'd been foiled. He tried to get past me. I said to him "You can either kiss me on the cheek HERE or I'll go to the front of the class and tell everyone why I'm here." He knew I'd do it...so he gave me my kiss on the cheek and ran into class.

While in his last year of school he tried it again. I was wearing mismatched clothes, a robe and slippers to drop him off. He knew I wouldn't walk around the school grounds to find him dressed like that. He jumped out of the car with a grin on his face. I knew that he was gonna take off.....only this time he jumped the fence. I jumped out of the car and YELLED as he ran through the throngs of kids mulling around the front of the school..."M......... C........ YOU GET BACK HERE AND GIVE YOUR MOTHER A KISS!!!!!!!!!!" He just kept on running and grinning. We had a good laugh about it when I picked him up. He told me all about the comments the kids at school were making about it. 

One day while I was up at school I walked past a child's classroom. He was in grade 4 at the time. I knocked on the door and the teacher asked "Can I help you?". I said "No. I just wanted to tell everyone that I love Ch....." He grinned and shook his head.

Not all children can be as accepting to these kind of actions. I have one child who I can not be so bold with and I know the boundaries. Use your 'embarrassing skills' wisely and not in a hurtful way.

I have found on the internet that there are sites dedicated to us 'embarrassing parents'. One site suggests a list of things that kids find most embarrassing:

Teenagers' top most embarrassing parent behaviour:

  • Shouting or telling them off in public
  • Treating them like a child
  • Trying too hard to be cool in front of them and their friends
  • Wearing embarrassing/uncool clothing
  • Telling bad jokes in public
  • Shopping at uncool shops
  • Calling them by their nickname in public
  • Singing in public
  • Talking to their friends
  • Acting like a teenager in public
  • Kissing them in public
  • Dropping them off or picking them up from outside school
  • Getting out the photos of them when they were a child
  • Dancing in public
  • Telling stories about when they were a child
  • Hugging them in public
  • Talking to them in public 
They also suggest ways to be seen as a 'cool' parent:

How to be a cool parent

  • Treat you like young adults
  • Give you space/not fuss when you have friends over
  • Let your friends hang out at your house
  • Treat you to nice things, e.g. clothes, holidays, meals out, etc
  • Offer lifts to you and your friends
 After reading this list I believe one can be BOTH and I look forward to the day when my children have their own children and join the ranks of 'embarrassing parents'.

1 comment:

Luke Mannix said...


Thanks for the image (sourced you) and some funny stories to break up my writing (I didn't copy them, used time reading them as break)