The $25 Validation Package
An argument behind you in the grocery store checkout line that will begin as a mild disagreement over whether or not the kid should be allowed to have chips today and gradually progress to encompass such issues as whether or not said kid will grow up to be a sociopath and who’s the real alcoholic in this family. For an extra $15, the kid himself can lie down on the grocery store floor and wail that he wanted a soda anyway.
The $100 Validation Package
A proper, old-school, miserable dinner at the restaurant table next to yours. We’ll be late for our reservation because the nanny was late. Argument about whether or not we should have fired the nanny last month and whether it’s OK to fire people at all to commence in hissing tones. Discussion on whether or not we can afford steak to gradually morph into discussion about who sacrifices more and for whom and in which humiliating fashion. Staring at our respective smartphones for 45 minutes. Too much wine. Guilt-inducing phone call from nanny that features the child screaming in the background. Debate about an appropriate tip conducted in slurred voices. Extra charges per each “accidentally” broken glass to be determined by the restaurant.
The $500 Validation Package
Showing up to embarrass ourselves at the next party/wedding/funeral you have on your schedule. I will arrive wearing a “No, we didn’t fight on our way from the car” expression on my face and will proceed to bitterly flirt with every other man there. (Tips for flirting with grabby geriatrics to be discussed on an individual basis). My husband will be on hand to invite any man stupid enough to flirt back to “go outside and talk.” Flirting roles can be reversed as needed, and the “go outside and talk” script flipped to “oops, I just spilled red wine on this woman who’s smiling at you and has her hand on your arm for some fucking reason.” If this is a child-appropriate event, please designate any special objects our child is supposed to damage/break/desecrate before the event commences. Storming out in full view of everyone carries no extra charge, but please note that we won’t be held responsible for any damages that result in slamming doors too hard and skidding on the floor.
The Gold Star $1000 + Legal Fees Validation Extravaganza
Public humiliation with extensive property damage, to be scripted and executed according to your wishes. Don’t forget to bring your mother. I will casually sidle up to her and talk about how “so, my mom nagged me to settle down and give her grandchildren—and look at how that turned out” midway through this event. My stockings will be wrecked and a sizable spot on my skirt will be encrusted with the carrot-pear-beet juice I would have made for my child that very morning after being guilt-tripped about it in the comments section of a parenting blog. My husband will be overheard telling someone about how he has been exploring religious sects that demand severing all personal bonds and living in an underground hermitage. The event will conclude with a public pledge to divorce conducted in shrieking tones in front of multiple witnesses. At this very moment, I am drinking from the bottle of whiskey I have stashed in the laundry basket, watching the sunset burn out, and waiting for you to hit the “order” button. Someone, anyone, press it now.