“People are going to judge you anyway, so you might as well do what you want.” Taylor Swift

When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I was keenly aware of parenting mistakes made by other parents.

Parents who fed their young kids fast food, took them to stores late at night, or let them watch hours of TV a day were on my radar. I’ll never be as bad a parent as those people, I smugly thought.

Thirteen years and four kids later, I have a three year old who, in the last four days, has eaten four (okay, five) Happy Meals, been to Target twice past 9:00 p.m., and watched eight movies in their entirety (along with too many episodes of Puppy Dog Pals and Paw Patrol to count).

Karma’s a [a swear that starts with “b”].

So why do parents judge other parents? For me, I think it makes me feel a little bit better about my own parenting failures if someone else is screwing up the mom thing even worse than I am.

Ouch, that sounds really ugly. And very un-Christian (especially for someone who spent 17 years in Catholic schools). I definitely need to work on that.

Last month I introduced a new monthly feature on Lex Mater called “It Oughta Be Illegal…” My blog post on the first Friday of every month will be dedicated to two or three things that probably should be illegal, but aren’t. In case you missed last month’s post, click here.

The topic of today’s edition of “It Oughta Be Illegal…” is parenting.

Smoking in the car with your kids. Seriously?

I’m old enough to remember when people could smoke anytime and everywhere.

Your teacher could smoke in the staff lounge. Your sick grandma could smoke in her hospital bed. Airplane cabins were foul with smoke. Cigarette machines were everywhere.

The air finally started to clear in the 1990s with the wave of non-smoking laws and regulations.

As glad as I am that people can no longer smoke on airplanes, there is still one very important place where the air still needs to clear…cars with kids in them.

That’s right folks, smoking in your car with kids as passengers is still permitted in 42 states (including Texas).

So how bad is the air in the car? One person smoking in a car can make the air inside the car up to 10 times more toxic than the level the EPA says is hazardous for breathing. According to the CDC, secondhand smoke causes numerous health problems in infants and children, including more frequent and severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

It seems crazy to me that it’s illegal to let my seven year old ride in a car without a booster seat, but it’s perfectly legal for me to light up and expose her to 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and about 70 that can cause cancer, in the car.

What say you parents? Should smoking in cars with kids be illegal? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail.

Glitter, glitter everywhere…

This is definitely a “first world problem,” but I am sure there are a lot of other parents who are with me on this one.

I hate glitter. No, I mean really hate it. It’s a messy, annoying craft supply, and though it’s sparkly and pretty, it’s notoriously impossible to clean up. It’s called the “herpes of craft supplies.” If something is being compared to a sexually transmitted disease, you know it’s bad.

Remember the nursery rhyme “what are little girls made of, sugar and spice and all things nice?” They left off “and glitter.” I swear little girls always have glitter in their hair (and with four girls I should know).

Last year my then-six year old daughter participated in one of those “everyone bring a dozen pre-filled Easter eggs” Easter egg hunts. As we were driving home, she started opening up the eggs in her basket. After opening 11 candy filled eggs, she got to the last one. It was filled with glitter. Seriously, like one of those spring-loaded glitter bombs you can anonymously send to your enemies. Nine months and 36 car cleanings later, there is still green glitter in my car.

Okay moms. If you want to do glitter crafts in your own home and always be covered in little sparkles, fine. But please, for the love of God, don’t ever give it to someone else’s child without asking the mom first (and getting her to sign a consent form).

And really, all kids want in an Easter egg is candy.

I want to hear from you. What’s on your list of things that should be illegal but aren’t? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail.

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Copyright © 2018 by Siobhán Fitzpatrick Kratovil. All Rights Reserved.