I firmly believe that we parents establish what is and what is not important for our children. I don’t mean that we teach them, I am referring to what they pick up eavesdropping on our private conversations. Don’t be fooled by the earnest look of concentration once they have conned you into playing some game on your iPhone- which is the principal reason I don’t own one (flip phones rule!). Trust me, they are listening! So, make sure you pepper any conversation with your spouse with an adequate number of platitudes every couple of minutes. Keep the kids off the scent- they are like hound dogs after incriminating evidence. Take for example a conversation I had with my husband in which our unfortunate biases could have been picked up by our children, except for the brilliance of truism deflection!
“So, honey, did you remember to pay the pool dues?”
“God, why do we have to belong to a private pool?!?!”
“I take it that’s a ‘no.’ May I remind you of the tattoo-enhanced deviants at the community pool we went to that summer? You know, the ones that kept having ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ after consuming large amounts of unspeakable frozen drinks? What a bunch of….” Sly look our way. “I mean, why would you ever get a tattoo when real beauty is on the inside? The inside is what counts!”
“Right, the inside.”
“Beauty is only skin deep, you know.”
“Especially if you’re covered in tattoos….” Snort.
“Beauty is as beauty does.”
“Just pay the darned bill, will ya? Mommy loves daddy!”
“And daddy loves mommy because her beauty is only on the inside.”
See? How simple was that? And it’s a fun way to engage your partner in an amusing game of platitude chicken! Let’s be honest with each other here: by the time you have been married for almost two decades and have children, you are desperate for any form of reciprocal entertainment, no matter how base!
Ultimately, you don’t want your kids to think that belonging to a certain institution, or wearing certain clothes makes them better or worse than anyone else. But you also have to consider that seeing a tattooed grandma in a bikini perched on the edge of a pool, balancing her two-year old grandchild in one arm, with a 64 ounce “slurpee” in the other, all while momentarily placing her lit cigarette between rolls of fat for safekeeping, is probably not an appropriate life lesson either. Although her multitasking was pretty impressive….
And nothing is wrong with tattoos- some of my best friends have permanent body paint! That’s all I’m saying on the matter.