I’m teetering between wanting to say snarky things about the question of who gets to be called Doctor and who doesn’t, the question of how much snow we’re expecting today, and this awesome tweet about parents being an “oppressive class,” like “rich people” or “white people.” There are so many fun and stupid things to be violently angry about that it’s really hard to pick. But no matter where I land, I’ve decided to add “in Jesus name” at the end of every single thing I say, because why not, everyone else seems to be doing it.
Not having a Ph.D., but only some other mediocre letters that literally no one cares about, least of all my children, I’d just like to suggest that the person who thinks that parents are part of the “oppressor class” is himself totally being oppressive to all people everywhere. You know who are really totalitarian and terrible? CHILDREN, that’s who. It’s basically Christmas (I’ve given up on Advent—it’s too oppressive) so I thought I’d do a nice midweek listicle. It’s been a while and I think we all deserve the treat.
Ten Ways Children Are Oppressive And Tyrannical Like Rich People And White People
One—the worst tyrants in the category of All Oppressive Children are of course Babies. Babies are the absolute worst. They arrive into the world screaming, demanding food not just every two hours, but sometimes every few minutes. They absolutely beat up the bodies of their mothers with their powerful tiny, sucking jaws, and if the screaming doesn’t work, they eventually coo and play on one’s frayed nerves like an incessant adorable violin. Stockholm Syndrome anyone? All the way.
Two—As babies grow up, their tyranny might seem slightly to abate, but that is only because the beleaguered parent has got used to how it goes and has been trained to respond at a moment’s notice to every whim or desire. Child desires milk? Mother gets up without even thinking about what she is doing. Child desires cookies? Mother starts baking them and then, out of guilt of all things, lets the tiny, horrible toddler “help.” Little fluffy three-year-old waddles up to Father to request Kitten, and wretched and sleep-deprived Father goes out and gets her one, wondering all the while how his once oppressive, upright gate has become so stooped. Then he keeps on buying cat food for that creature too, so that if he was once rich, he never will be again.
Three—Then there’s the tyranny of children who can walk around and talk. Not only do they demand kittens and Baby Shark (I’m sorry—any parent who has endured Baby Shark cannot be counted among the oppressors of Children. Deep, terrible forces have swept that poor sap up in a great wonderland of confusion and stupidity. There should be a trigger warning on that song.) These kinds of oppressive creatures (children who can walk and talk I mean) demand to be heard delivering speeches and litanies not only of their desires for food and toys, but also of all their inane, incoherent, and usually very jumbled #thoughtsandprayers. They start every sentence with “But Mommy” or “Wait but Mommy.” If the parent does manage a coherent response, the Tyrannical Child refuses to listen and has to ask the same question again almost immediately.
Four—Of course, children don’t stay children, they grow up and get to be taller than their now crushed to earth parents. They eat all the food—All Of It—and yet complain about being hungry. Outside forces demand that the ignorant child be educated and this horror falls to the parents, who then feel bad and try to supplement with other kinds of “educational opportunities” that inevitably require that the parent be in the car for hours of every week if not every day. Also, they talk as well, and do not listen. In the middle of the poor parent trying to “blog” every single child will come to say random things that the parent is not even remotely interested in.
Five—Somehow, as hinted at before, the parent, so far from being an oppressor, is afflicted with guilt and feelings of inadequacy almost every single moment of the day. “I’m not doing enough,” she thinks as she washes the fiftieth load of laundry because her children can’t be bothered to put their clean clothes in the expensive set of dresser drawers procured precisely for the purpose. “I should do more,” she says to herself as she reads yet another mediocre essay about The Christmas Carol (her least favorite piece of English Literature in the entire world) because it’s that time of year again and she pays actual cash for her children to take a class that will require them to write an interminable 1000 words on the thing.
Six—But the worst is that just when the Oppressive Parents have so arranged their lives around the tyranny of the child so that they don’t even really know who they are if they aren’t mopping up milk off the floor or listening to the Deep Thoughts TM of all their offspring, the children decide to leave (hopefully) and don’t call or text except only when they need more money, which, of course, the Parents don’t have any of because they have already given it all away. The Mother sits alone in the dark, waiting for her Oppressors to call her. But her Oppressors Never Do—they Never Do.
Seven—All this is very bad, but after a while, the Children of these Poor People (whatever color they are) sometimes go out and find common cause with other people who have been oppressing their parents. They join up into pairs and arrive back on the doorsteps of their aged relatives desiring yet more money so that they can finally—and this is really where it gets good—get their comeuppance. After the Very Expensive Party, they will hopefully have an Infant Tyrant who will let them know how it really is. The parents will smile and finally feel really really happy about it all.
Eight—Except that then they discover the Worst Thing Ever—grandchildren. If possible, Grandchildren are even more cute than the original tyrant, and the Grandfather and Grandmother, without even noticing it, find the hands reaching into the pocket and pouring out yet more money, like water, into the tiny, dimpled hand of the Baby in the form of anything that looks even remotely enticing.
Nine—Of course, the grandparent is kind of an oppressor, because he comes into a special league with the infant, having learned something along the way, which is that the parent must be kept down at all cost. The grandparent forms a special alliance also with Satan and buys objects that sing Baby Shark and other kinds of songs from the Depths. Then the grandparent leaves, calling every now and then to complain about being alone and never hearing any news.*
Ten—But, I would say that the very worst oppressor of all is the person who thought up that tweet, and who probably really thinks like that, and in that way is completely ungrateful and has no human feeling for the complicated and intricate tapestry of love and sacrifice that comprises the human family and human society in general. So anyway, now I will go and live fully into my identity as oppressor and read that ghastly Dickens essay one more time. Have a nice day (in Jesus’ name).
*This is my personal special dream destiny. I am counting the days until I can do this myself.