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Are You An ‘Annoying’ Parent?


The other day I came across a really cool story about a stay-at-home dad in Utah who dressed in costume everyday for the entire school year to wave goodbye to his 16-year-old son as he headed off on the bus.

You really can’t look at this clip without a sly smile creeping over your face. I mean, really, who among us, has not had a parent embarrass us at one time or another? But there’s something about Dale and Rain Price’s story that is so heart warming you can’t watch it without a sly smile creeping across your face. Why is that?  Is it the shy son? The father’s creativity? Or something more?

I thought about that story this past weekend when my kids performed their rock music recital at the legendary Bitter End in Greenwich Village in New York. In case you don’t know, The Bitter End is a big, damn deal. Stars like Peter, Paul and Mary, the Isley Brothers, even Lady Gaga have all graced the tiny stage there. Now you can add to that list, Casey and Cole!

I’m sure Lady Gaga’s path to The Bitter End stage (working tiny clubs, writing her own music until she was discovered) was very different from my kid’s (parents paying through the nose for music lessons and having their kids on stage on a Saturday afternoon when the place would be empty anyway) but that’s neither here nor there.

Of course this is not the first time I’ve come to my kids’ shows. And, as in years past, I have taken more pictures than photographers at the Academy Award’s step-and-repeat wall. But something was different this year. What is it? I can’t quite put my finger on it. Oh yeah, my son is a teenager now. That means I’ve gone from being the super cool mom to being super annoying in 2.2 seconds. I got some great shots of the kids on stage but when I tried to snap candids of my son, the little bugger would hide behind something or someone. The icing on the cake was Cole coming over to where I was sitting (right at the foot of the stage) and through clenched teeth and in front of his buddies saying,  “You are SO annoying!”

I’m not gonna lie, those words, delivered with deft precision, cut to the core. Me? Annoying? I was just being supportive. How is THAT annoying? But the more I thought about it the more incredulous I became. You know why? Because this kid has been annoying me for nearly 14 years! (I am counting the 38 weeks in utero. He couldn’t sit still then either). There are more instances of “annoying” behavior than I can count. Take this morning for example. My baby boy has a little summer cold but you’d think his life was hanging in the balance. “My throoooooat is sooooooore.” I give lozenges. “They’re not helllllllllping.” I give hot tea. “I don’t like teeeeeeeeea.” I give coffee. “It needs to be heeeeeeeated up.” And he’s calling ME annoying?

But back to Dale and Rain Price for a minute. Did you happen to watch how Rain was talking about his dad? The entire time he had a smile on his face. While the story was about how Dale “embarrassed” his son, I don’t think Rain saw it like that, at least not for long.

See at the end of the day, our kids want to know that we cared. Dale Price cared enough to dress up everyday for his son and trust me, the son reaped the benefits at school (“Hey man, aren’t you the kid with the hilarious dad?”).

Cole will figure it out someday too. He’ll understand that there are other words that can be substituted for  “annoying”; words like caring, loving and proud. Maybe not today, tomorrow or next year because right now it’s cool to think your parents are dorks. But soon he’ll get it. I suspect when Cole becomes a parent. In the meantime, he’d better get ready because I plan to continue smothering him with my annoying behavior because that’s what parents do

That’s my story, how about you? Have you ever been accused of being “annoying” by your kid? What were you doing and did they ultimately understand? Start sharing…



  1. Jennifer

    June 17, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    I am, I think, one of the most annoying and irritating parents on the planet. I am a cross between a barnicle and a golden retriever as annoyance goes.

  2. Gay Wakefield

    June 17, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Spot on, Rene. My now-31-year-old even occasionally thanks me for being “the meanest mother in the world”–which was her favorite description of me during her teen years.

  3. Smarty P. Jones

    June 17, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    My parents were never annoying, to me. *shrug* I always had cool ‘rents. Growing up, our house stayed full of kids from the neighborhood and the family. My parents were always supportive to me and I’ll never forget it.

    My dad came to every ball game whether I was “riding the pine” or not. He came to every band and choir concert. My mom was there when she could be and it’s actually remembering those things that remind me that my parents will be there for me whether it was comfortable for them or not.

    I was grateful then and I’m grateful now. Good post, GEM!

  4. m.e. johnson

    June 17, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Well, if you count wiping my face with HER spit (and of course it was always in public). Why oh why can’t a parent use the child’s spit to wipe the child’s face?

    Reprimanding me in public, especially if my friends were present.

  5. m.e. johnson

    June 17, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    I hit the post button by mistake.

    Going skating or to a concert with teenage me and trying to out-skate, out-boogie and out-grunge dress me and ‘flirting’ with my guy friends.

    Taking the ugliest picture of me and showing them with glee.

  6. Cody Williams

    June 17, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Rene, my kids drag me to the movie tonight to the horrible new Jim Carey movie Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Did I say it was a horrible plot less rambling sappy movie. Anyway, as a treat I take them to kick of MY father’s day weekend. Their idea. During the movie my cell phone starts to ring. I find it and mute it, but before that is done both of them going on and on about how embarrassing it is for them that my phone goes off in the movie. WTF? I really like this piece. Nice observation.

    Did I say Mr. Poppers is horrible?

  7. Dawn Brady

    June 18, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    My kids complain because I am always running late…BUT…I never forget the camera, charged batteries, extra bobby pins, the lip gloss, the extra money for the rides, the sweater in case it’s cold…I look like a train wreck, one shoe on one shoe off, but I know they don’t have to worry about the details because I got their backs.
    Not sure this is what you intended, but you helped me realize what was happening, I beat myself up all the time that I am always late, but I realized today after 4 whirlwind days of one child’s birthday, surgery for me, awards night for one, 2 graduations, a dance recital, family dinner and Father’s Day shopping all while working full time that I am doing a pretty good job.

  8. keith

    June 19, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Um, Im going to defend Cole here….dont hate me.

    The reason Cole doesnt want his picture taken…I think at at least…is he is feeling about as unattractive as he will ever feel in his entire life. Why would he want you taking pictures when in his own mind he looks so bad and feels so awkward.

    He does not really think you are annoying. But it was much easier for him to tell you that you were annoying than it was for him to say “Mom, I love that you are here to support me and save these memories, but every picture of me will look like ass and the sooner I escape this part of my life the better.”

    Remember Cole’s rule: He gets mad. He deals with it. He moves on. But this isnt something he can move on from, which is 100x more frustrating. He cant fix it himself, and sadly he is realizing you cant fix it either. In fact, in your own loving way, everything you used to be able to do to fix it now just makes him feel worse, and he doesnt understand why either. He has nowhere to go to fix it, he just has to ride it out. And he has to figure that out on his own too, you telling him wont help. And I hate to say it, but you have no idea how he feels because you were never a teenage boy. If you are lucky, you will find moments when he is vulnerable that will last a micro second, gather as much data from him as you can and store it somewhere. Dont get me wrong, I am not giving him a license to be rude or obnoxious or disrespectful. But I know exactly where he is coming from. Hopefully you listen better than mine did at times

  9. Super MomEO

    August 28, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    I like to yell at water polo games. My kids tell me they can’t hear a thing when they’re in the water, but that’s not the point, is it? They know I’m there yelling for them, and they love it.

  10. Dawn

    August 28, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Keith, thank you for your honesty!! You’re right, Rene was never a teenage boy so doesn’t know how it feels, nor will I; however, your response will be something that I remember in about 9 years when MY son is a teenager and going through that awkward phase of discovering girls while his body is going haywire. Thank you for giving me a glimpse into some of the things that he’ll be feeling so that I can assimilate what he is saying more accurately.

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