Welcome to the Parental Olympics!

Most people won’t admit it, but parenting is a competition. Everything from who’s potty trained first, to which kid got into the best college is in play. This is all part of what we consider the Parental Olympics. We’ll cover these competitions a lot at The Dad Shift, but for now we’ll focus on the event known as getting a good picture during a milestone event.

Capturing a good picture at a preschool graduation, or any event with kids, should be an actual Olympic event. Even with the latest in DSLR camera technology, getting a clean shot is a struggle. There are a number of obstacles preventing the capture of that perfect moment. Most of them, are understandable. Like Junior being unhappy in his bowtie, and refusing to smile. Or Little Sally not taking her nap, and refusing to participate in the group dance number.

I get it. We’ve all be there, and we can all relate.

But, the hurdle that really grinds my gears, is the amount of iPhone, iPad, and Samsung Galaxy -toting parents that just get in the way. We’ve covered the 5 rules to kick your smartphone habit before, and specifically called out smartphone use at important events in number two. Yet, there’s just no avoiding the inconsiderate few that take out their device, only to block everyone’s view behind them. Seriously, get a digital camera, and handle your business from the comfort of your own seat.

UPDATE: Read the 5 tips for better milestone event pictures of your kids

Last night was our middle child’s preschool graduation. Having gone through this ceremony before, we planned ahead, and did everything right. We were fully prepared, and should have easily gotten multiple pictures of our little man in his cap and gown. It didn’t matter how ready we were, because the unprepared parents ruined most of the memories we were trying to capture.

By the way, don’t get me started on the need for a preschool graduation ceremony. I think Bryce Harper summed up participation trophies pretty well, and to me, this falls into that category. Let’s set that aside for now, and focus on the real issue.

Plan ahead, and enjoy your little star’s moment

If parents don’t plan ahead, and prepare to get a clean shot of their child, we’re all screwed. I went through the pictures when we got home last night, and 95% of them are out of focus because some idiot threw their smartphone up as I snapped the shot. Now, I did get some good shots, but it took way too much effort. Not only that, I didn’t get to just enjoy the event. Instead of watching my boy walk across the stage to get his “graduation” certificate, I was fighting with other parents to get a clean shot.

When our oldest went through his ceremony, we didn’t know what we were doing, and barely got a blurry picture on our iPhone 4. His digital documentary is sketchy at best. We have a ton of shots of him rolling over for the first time, but any proof of monumental events held outside the home don’t exist. Like many first time parents, we didn’t know what we were in for, or how to prepare. Many parents just show up, and then realize “oh shit, I should probably take a picture. Who cares that the entire group behind me can’t see the stage? I know I was late, but I’m just going to walk up to the front of all these seats, and stand here…no one will mind.”

We all mind, Mother Father!

Seriously, take five extra minutes to prepare for the event, and we’ll all have a better time! After all, you wouldn’t participate in the Olympics without proper training, and the Parental Olympics should be no different. Better preparation leads to a better performance at game time.

Kick your smartphone addiction, and enjoy your kids. They may feel like a huge thorn in the side much of the time, but someday, you’ll miss the craziness. They’ll all eventually grow up, and move out (I hope). So, participate as much as you can, and get a few good shots to remember the best moments. While I don’t agree with participation trophies, I do think we should celebrate every positive moment with those we’re closest to in life. After all, none of us are guaranteed more moments to celebrate.

Am I alone here, or does this bother others as well? Share your thoughts in the comments.