November 20, 2013


My least favorite parenting task is not picking up used socks from around the house. Nor is it reminding my children that mealtime is—by definition—a time for eating. It’s not spending twenty minutes every afternoon cleaning out little stainless steel containers and washing their plastic components and disassembling water bottles all while missing the good old days when kids took paper bag lunches to school. It’s not even devoting what I’m sure will end up being at least a year of my life to making little circles with a toothbrush while my younger kids wiggle, follow the brush with their tongues, and try to talk to me.

No, if you asked me my least favorite parenting task, I’d answer immediately, “OKP.”

Now, you may be familiar with OPK, referring to Other People’s Kids. We say it partly deriding any children other than our own darlings, but mostly deriding our prejudice for our own darlings. But I’m down with OPK. I have no problem with OPK, even the ones who seem to inevitably poop every time they set foot in my house.

My issue is with Other Kids Parents. Out there in the land of the Internet, I can hear the sound of hundreds of heads nodding.

You know what I’m talking about. The parents who refuse to believe their children could do anything wrong. The ones who drop their six-year-old at a birthday party knowing full-well that child is the one who will be screaming and shoving other children, but the parents are nowhere to be found because only the parents of the well-behaved children stayed. The ones who tell you that your kid should toughen up when you call to discuss an incident on the playground.

I could go on and on, but I have a lot of little stainless steel containers with plastic components to fill with bits of lunch and two sets of teeth to oversee, so instead I’ll ask you to talk to me.

What’s your worst OKP story or peeve?

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  • Reply Allie November 20, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Sometimes the expectations of Other Kid’s Parents might be “Oh take Johnny for a few hours will you?” and you innocently do as the kid is GREAT and then you have him for not 2 not 3 but 6 or 7 hrs. This has happened to me numerous times. So instead I say Oh thanks- sure we’d love so and so to come and play. I’ll be bringing him back in 2 hours ok? and if they say NO then forget it. Sometimes its a longer playdate but 2 hours is usually good for me.

  • Reply Sarah Piazza November 20, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    OKPs do not share playdates. My house, your house, my house, your house becomes my house, my house, my house, my house.

  • Reply Eli November 20, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    I think it has more to do with the one night a year I REALLY don’t want to see OPKs. Back to school night. This is the one time the teachers and principal want to talk to the parents without the kids around. It is made clear from the beginning of the school year that this is NOT a kid friendly event. That KIDS are not to be brought to the event. It is even clearly stated in the event flyers that children should not be brought to the event.

    Inevitably there are the parents that seem to think their darlings will be perfectly behaved. They bring their posse of children. I accept if you need to bring an infant but an elementary school child? Get a sitter, leave one parent behind at home. IF you can’t do either of those things, then make arrangements. But it isn’t the single parents doing those things. It’s the parents of multiple children coming into the classroom with all of their kids who they cannot control, who disrupt the teacher to the point that another parent has to ask the kid to sit down (and these are school age kids), and one of the parents is evidently not even paying attention to the back to school thing.
    SO utterly frustrating when all you want to do as a parent -without the kid –is learn more about your kid’s teacher and what the year has in store for your kid.
    Of course it does give you insight as to which family and which kid to avoid for playdates! 🙂

  • Reply Issa November 20, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    The ones who drop off their kid for a 90 minute playdate and show back up five hours later. They’re also the ones who are on their phone non-stop but hey they “forgot” it that time. Really? The one duct taped to your hand got lost? The parents who not only didn’t RSVP to the birthday party, but they show up with all four of their kids and leave them at the effing door. Ahem.

  • Reply A Love Letter November 21, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    […] things have happened. You already know about the religious school fiasco, the puppet show drama, OKP, late-night sheet changing, and periodic weeping. I believe I also filled you in on the […]

  • Reply Melanie November 25, 2013 at 2:45 am

    I work at an elementary school and oh how I’d like to comment, but I cannot. *sigh*

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