As spring break wraps up around the continent, families are returning from escapes from the eternal winter we have had. We just got back from a week in Puerto Vallarta at a family-oriented vacation resort. This kind of melting pot of parents from across Canada and the U.S. will really open your eyes to a lot of different parenting techniques. Yes, we should live and let live. No, I’m not perfect. Yes, it’s none of my business. But still. These are the types of parents you see on vacation that make you just stop, shake your head, and realize you’re not that bad at parenting.
1. Walkie Talkie Babysitter
You might think it’s genius, I think it’s off-base. I started chatting with a dad at the burger bar one afternoon, sharing tips about the resort. He asked where the club was and wanted to know if it was near his room because he and his wife brought walkie talkies so they can ditch the kids at night to party. When I asked if he was having a good time so far, his response was obvious. “I found where the liquor’s at, so I’m good to go.”
2. Smoking Stroller Pushers
Sunset is a beautiful time when you’re on a beach vacation. Everyone is out strolling the promenade, taking pictures, and staring into the sea. Then it hits you. A blast of smoke. You get it by the pool, you get it on the patio, you get it on the beach. I get that people smoke and they know they shouldn’t, but it absolutely floors me when I see two parents hacking a butt while pushing a stroller and holding their kid’s hand. C’mon now.
3. Free Range Parents
Having social kids is great. I found it fun when a 7-year-old walked right up to us at the beach and say “I’m Lisa, what’s their names?” pointing towards our boys. I found it odd when other kids would walk over and just take our pile of sand toys and cart them away to play with and there were no parents around. We’re more than willing to share, but ask first and watch your kids when they wander into someone else’s toy pile.
4. Really Really Free Range Parents
“Tony! Where are you?!” It happens every so often around the pool. Mom is nose deep in Fifty Shades poolside, dad is hanging off the edge, back to the water, and both are nursing big bubbas of frilly tropical drinks. Forty minutes later they can’t find their kid and slur each other out for not watching their child in a pool. By themselves. These parents are also usually responsible for “squirt gun kid,” the one who doesn’t understand that not everyone in the pool is there to play your cops and robbers game and splashes and runs around.
5. Soda Slurpers
Wow. I can’t get my kid to eat. Having him gain weight is a struggle in our family, but after watching families herd up to the buffet and heap garbage on to their kid’s plates, I’m not shocked we have an obesity epidemic in our culture. Again, like with smokers, I get it’s a struggle for adults to deal with these issues. I don’t know why people feel the need to shortchange their kids by dealing them a terrible hand from the start. If your kid is in a high chair, they’re likely too young for soda. My boys are 6 and 4, have never had the stuff, and won’t for a long time still. And yet, in a buffet filled with milk, juice, and water, parents were bucking up servings of cola. For their toddlers.
6. Lazy Dad
This is the dad that gives dads a bad name and makes moms the superhero. At a beach excursion a 2-year-old screamed for 30 straight minutes for her mother while dad sat next to her dumbfounded. He didn’t hold her. He didn’t try to distract her with other games. He didn’t take her into the water. He sat there with a dumbstruck “I have no idea how to raise kids” look on his face while the child screamed. He’s the dad that gives dads the bad reputation so many of us are trying to change.
7. High Maintenance Mom
The opposite of incompetent dad is high maintenance mom. The one that hovers over their kids with a timer, re-applying sunscreen every 15 minutes, making sure they’ve got head to toe sunclothing on.
8. Paparazzi Papa
Okay, I know some people like to take pictures of their kids in the pool, but if you sit on the side taking nothing but long shots videoing everyone in the pool, you’re getting my kids too. I don’t want my kids in your movies. Get up close, or use a zoom lens, and take pics of your family only, make it quick, and then get back to vacation.
Our vacation was fun, the boys had a great time recharging away from the polar vortex of winter and the entire experience opened my eyes to the many ways people choose to parent their kids. Going to a family resort is a great way to unwind from real life and realize that, when compared to so many other parents out there, if you’re using common sense and care about your kids, you’re doing just fine.
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Written by By DADCAMP
Buzz Bishop (aka DadCAMP) is a Dad. Broadcaster. Writer. Team Diabetes Champion. Two Time Guinness World Record Holder.
He started DadCAMP in the fall of 2009 as a way to get out and network with other dads while he was between jobs and has been telling the stories of life with his wife and two sons ever since. He has two boys, Zacharie (’07 – once referred to as his favorite son), and Charlie (’10 – the two-time face of Cheerios in Canada).