Tuesday, December 30, 2014

What Nobody Tells You About Being A Parent


No, this is not incredibly original.  I'm not the first, nor the last to make the realization that there's a lot of shtuff, nobody ever tells you about being a parent.  Particularly once the kids get a little older, are in school, and are talking back.

I remember my husband and I scoffing at people, upon finding out I was pregnant with our first, offering, "Boy is your life about to change!"  Thanks.

Please know that I do not wish to insult your intelligence, this is just merely my take and awe, about the experience of being a parent.  So, if any of the following statements are new to you; you now can't claim that nobody warned you about that.

I'm not even sure I should write this.  If you are an expectant parent, and as smugly naive in your ignorance as my husband and I were, this will fall on deaf ears- whatever.  Let me assure you, your well meaning albeit exorbitantly tired friends who've already taken the kid plunge are correct: You and your partner/spouse/whatever will not eat any meals together, especially not out at a restaurant, for many years to come.  Really.  If you have more than one; could be 10-15.  Set the bar high; if it's sooner it'll come as a pleasant surprise.

As for all of the parenting books out there, for when the kids are older, I found 1 that I highly recommend:  The 3 Martini Playdate by Christie Mellor.  Trust me, you'll thank me.

As for my contribution, here they are.

ABOVE ALL ELSE, REMEMBER:
-Children are a beautiful reminder that we are in absolute control of nothing.  Not even a smidgen.

-DO NOT EXPECT DIFFERENT (BETTER) BEHAVIOR FROM YOUR KIDS ON YOUR BIRTHDAY, MOTHERS' DAY, FATHERS' DAY, OR YOUR ANNIVERSARY.  If you are lucky, you may have a somewhat sincere "Happy (whatever)" wish, at the beginning of the day.  Beyond that; you might as well wish for the lotto.

-If you find yourself living in a 2 bedroom apartment with a toddler and a baby, there will be nights that both you and your spouse will camp out in the living room in order to get some sleep.

-Children are born, wanting what they want, when they want it, and will go to any means necessary to obtain it.  Children are not born with logic or common sense.  That is learned.  At least I hope so.

-Children are like drunks, and the criminally insane.  You will waste time, breath, and your mind, trying to reason with them.  Yet, still you will still try; over and over.

-You will let go of previous fashion notions.  Pick your battles.  Polka dots and plaid look fine together.    I also believe this is how some designer came up with the color combination of pink, orange, lime green, and sh*t brown.  They saw it on some kid at a playground.  Either that or it was their kid, and through shear exhaustion; it seemed like a good idea at the time.

- You will inevitably do every single parenting action you swore you'd never do.  Like, I'd never use the crib as a timeout location.  BEHRNT!  Not sure how to spell the sound of a screaming WRONG! buzzer.

-You will scream at your kids to the point that your face contorts and you resemble an escapee from an asylum.

-When exhibiting the above behavior; you will feel a strange mixed emotion of relief and anger because your meltdown has caused your once quarreling kids, to fall down laughing together.

-You realize by the time your kids' kids are playing with Legos, they will be microscopic.
Eventually some evil mastermind will implant an evil something or other, that will:
a) wipe out a predetermined demographic, that the mastermind blames their evilness on
b) rid the world of all forms of currency, taking us back to the barter system- only Legos are traded.
c) All the Legolands will join to become LegoEarth.

-You'll wonder if it's too late to invest in Nutella, Go-Go Squeeze, and Legos.

-Your kids will watch too much TV, see too much violence, and play on computers for God only knows how long, every day.  

-You will secretly detest/envy/not believe any parent that tells you that their kids listen well.  

-DO NOT BOAST ABOUT ANYTHING YOUR KID DOES BEFORE THE AGE OF 3.  IT'S A FLUKE.  If you do not heed this warning, you will be the laughing stock or murder fantasy of your Parent Circle of Friends.  They're not petty; they're tired.  If you are under the delusion your friends are above that; I guarantee, IT WILL COME BACK AND BITE YOU IN THE ASS SOMEHOW.

-You believe, in your heart that someday, your kids will eat vegetables.  Yes, I confess, I BOASTED.  Before the age of 3, my youngest ate everything including my gumbo and homemade spaghetti sauce.  I bragged to friends.  Then, as if by magic, that time was GONE.  She now lives on bread, Nutella, some fruit, incredibly sweet yogurt and the occasional chicken nugget.  Usually only if it's accompanied by a Happy Meal.  I solemnly declare to the parenting powers that be: lesson learned

-You come to really understand all those idioms.  Particularly, "not all truths need to be told"; "if you have nothing nice to say, keep it to yourself"; and The Golden Rule.  Most commonly paraphrased as, "How would you feel if your sister said/did that to you?"

-The honesty of children- you have to experience it to truly grasp the brutality.

-You do not believe, some of the images that spring to mind, or some of the words that fly out of your mouth.

-In battles of will, you will hide things, (tv remote, phones, tablets).  Inevitably, you'll forget where you put them.

-Gratitude will come, at times; but not when you expect it.  Sorta like Nanny McPhee.  When you want it and need it; forget it.  When you don't need it, and don't expect it; there it is.  Well, I did say sorta.  P.S. Caution: Expressions of gratitude may be prompted by desire for new toy.

-Your kids will learn swear words.  You may (no promise here) have the opportunity to teach them to do it properly with panache and gusto.

-By being a parent thus the older, though not always the pinnacle of wisdom and maturity; you realize that wisdom does not necessarily accompany age.  Age does bring experience; not everyone learns.

-There will be times that you either stick your tongue out, thumb your nose, or stick your fingers in your ears all the while chanting, "lalalalalalalalalal" over top your screaming kid, to try and make a point.  It doesn't work.  It can however, be cathartic.  

-You wish to Heaven and Hell, everyday, that your parents were still alive to consult.  Or at least to laugh with and vent to.  To get the real story on what you were like as a kid.  And my how you wish they were able to know your kids and vice versa.

-You learn that: we all had sucky childhoods (relatively); there were still some good parts (hopefully)
and that you, your partner/spouse/whatever, your parents, and your kids are humans who make mistakes, want to be forgiven, and above all, want to be accepted and loved.  We all are born, live, die.  And that it's never too late until it is.

 If you are an expectant or new parent you may also enjoy:


What I've Learned