This past year, my mom bought my husband and me the present to end all presents — tickets to go to see Jim Gaffigan in a live stand-up show.
I have a lot of respect for the self-proclaimed pale father of five, ever since I came across his “four kids” clip, which is essentially my life in a nutshell. Since that hilarious moment, I’ve laughed over his videos, selflessly purchased his book, Dad Is Fat for my husband and then immediately stole it before he had a chance to read it, and have even gone the stalker route by following his wife on Instagram just to try to answer the ever-elusive question, how do they do it all?
Sitting in the audience to watch Jim live was a big deal for me — so much so that I shelled out almost 100 bucks to a babysitter to wrangle all four of our kids and then woke up to the parental version of a hangover with feverish kids, an empty wallet, and feet (albeit, the baby version) in my face. I like to think that Jim would have been proud and in honor of the occasion, I’d like to present my favorite pieces of parenting wisdom, straight from the man himself.
“It’s not like you would point to someone in a wheelchair and say, ‘Looks like you don’t do much dancing!’”
2. All parents wonder if they’re doing it wrong.
“To me, it seems like other parents are smarter, more organized, and more patient.”
I hate to even say this, but I’m just going to go ahead and guess that Jim hasn’t even used Pinterest, so the fact that he hit the nail on the head with this one just goes to show how we all have our inferior moments, even without the bane of social media in our modern day world of parenting.
3. The guilt of modern parenting is ridiculous.
“I have my own baby sling and I still feel guilty all the time.”
Guilt over working, guilt over not working, guilt for eating gluten, guilt if I don’t have a problem with gluten, guilt for feeling guilty. It’s pretty out of control.
4. Instagram is a lie.
“Even if you put your three-year-old in a fedora, we all know that you are still getting barfed on and wiping noses and butts like the rest of us.” — Jim Gaffigan, Dad Is Fat
5. The “You’re Going To Miss This” comment is actually a confession.
“It’s a confession from these parents with older children that they may have not taken enough time to appreciate the chaos. It’s a sincere, generous confession.”
What parent on the planet hasn’t heard this one? Personally, this adage always ignites a mixture of intense fear that my mothering moments are slipping out of my hands even as I try to hold on to them and annoyance because well, I can’t exactly stop time here, people. But Jim’s take on this comment is pure gold.
6. Moms = incredible.
“A woman can grow a baby insider her body. Then a woman can deliver the baby through her body. Then, by some miracle, a woman can feed a baby with her body. When you compare that to the male’s contribution to life, it’s kind of embarrassing, really.”
Take it from a guy who has five kids and a gorgeous wife, men — flattery will get you far, mmk?
7. There’s never a perfect time for pregnancy.
“Pregnant women are either too young or too old, or it’s too soon after another pregnancy, or she’s going to get in trouble at work. She’s too poor, too rich, too successful, too skinny, too fat, too crazy, too busy, too single, too married, too too.”
So the next time someone asks you if you’re the nanny or maybe even your kid’s grandparent, just know that you’re in good company. There’s never a “perfect” time to get pregnant.
8. Parenting changes your idea of fun.
“I’ll still have fun, and like my friends, I’ll also wake up feeling like a truck drove over me.”
Netflix and a bottle of wine never sounded so good.
9. Complaining about parenting is normal.
“Failing and laughing at your own shortcomings are the hallmark of a sane parent.”
People outside of the parenting world may not understand our deep need to vent and complain about all of the hard parts, but it’s part of the gig. And when it comes right down to it, it shows that at least we care, right?
10. How many kids you have isn’t really anyone else’s business.
“I don’t mean to get up on a diaper box, but individual liberties are all-important in this country … except when it comes to the number of kids you have or don’t have.”
Man, do I feel Jim on this one. Or, more accurately, man do I feel Jim’s wife on this one. We surpassed the “limit” of children by going for #4 and I’ve heard plenty of comments about how bored we are, out-loud wonderings if we know “what causes that” (for the record, I think I get it), and our plan to eat up all of the world’s resources. And, the same goes both ways, for couples of one child who get the constant, aren’t you going to give that kid a sibling? Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
11. Being a mom doesn’t make you automatically unsexy.
“The concept of a MILF is rather insulting if it’s based on the belief that having a baby makes you unattractive.”
Take that haters. Also, read this.
12. Kids make us all better people.
“I believe that each of my five children has made me a better man. So I figure that I only need thirty-four kids to be a pretty decent guy.”
From teaching those who may have started out on this journey a bit self-centered that the world doesn’t actually revolve around us, to helping us treasure the beauty of the elusive afternoon nap, this parenting gig isn’t half bad.