5 Observations On Parenting
Observing my kids. I love my kids more than anything. They are amazing….really! All of them three of them are smart, kind, athletic, funny, creative, polite and thoughtful kids. On most days I look at them and think,” I must have done something right to be blessed with these three miracles!” But then there are the other days….days when I think someone put these little anarchists in my life to test the boundaries of my sanity and patience. Those are the days when I internally contemplate either selling them to the highest bidder (or even paying someone to take them) OR locking them in the house and running down the street yelling, “I’m free! I’m free!”
Ok, so before you call the Department of Social Services, I would never lock them away or sell them but I have had a few interesting observations about parenting along the way…
1. Having a newborn baby isn’t always the joyous, blessed occasion everyone makes it out to be.
Yes, of course it is amazing and a miracle. Of course it is wonderful to have friends and family come over, bring gifts, meals and meet the newest little member of your family. And when that soft little warm baby sleeps in your arms, well there is no better feeling. But at some point the guests leave and you are left overtired and still recovering from childbirth.
Next thing you know its 3am and your precious little “miracle” decides to cry non-stop for 2 hours while intermittently blowing out their diaper from butt to neck, peeing all over you and eating (or all 3 simultaneously.) All the while you stand in a dimly lit room, rocking back and forth while soft music, a wave machine or a fan runs in the background. Amazing, joyous occasion or a scene from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”? Debatable.
2. Toddlers are insane. Literally.
I don’t think anyone who has ever raised a toddler would disagree with this statement but I’m not talking about the “Oh look little Johnny is throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of the grocery store and I’m so embarrassed” type insane here. I’m talking about the full on “I’m going to spend my days just f-ing with your mind” insane.
The times where you just gave your 3 yr. old a bath and she is now in a highchair eating her waffles for breakfast with 5 minutes to go until you have to get to the “Mommy and Me” gym class. As you turn your back to gather your things she begins finger painting herself with the maple syrup…arms, legs, hair – the whole shebang! Or sitting in a bathroom in Target for a half an hour with your newly potty trained toddler because they had to “go poopy”.
But of course they don’t go, so after 30 minutes you decide to get on with the shopping and just when you get to the part of the store that is absolute farthest from the bathrooms and they crap their pants. There are millions of stories like these and we all chalk them up to, “They don’t know any better. They are only 3.” But do they? Jury is still out.
3. Buckle up for Pre-school! Its competitive out there!
I can remember the feeling of inadequacy like it was yesterday. When my first child started pre-school the parents were asked to bring in a “little treat” for the Halloween party. I got each child a Halloween-themed pencil and lollipop! I was pretty proud of myself only to get to school and see that some of the moms made full on cellophane wrapped baskets filled with goodies for each child or homemade iced cookies in the shape of a pumpkin. “Oh it was nothing!” they’d say to all the compliments.
Are you freakin’ kidding me? My pencil/lollipop combo clearly sucked. Then there was “button day.” Where the kids had to wear a shirt with a lot of buttons on it and the class was going to count how many each child had. I ran out to the store that night to get my daughter a cute button-down shirt to wear. Upon arriving at school I noticed not one but two kids whose moms had literally hand sewn over 200 buttons on a tee shirt. “Oh it was nothing my ass!”
This will be good preparation for some of the PTA mom’s that you might encounter in the years to come. While my experiences have been good I have heard stories that could strike fear into the heart of most rational, level headed parents.
4. Sometimes you have to “pretend” to be an “on top of it parent”.
We all have those days where we just don’t want to deal. Where you just want to not shower, stay in bed, be cranky and left alone. Try telling this to your kids! They still need to be fed, dressed, taken to school and/or their activities. There are days where you will want no part of it and yet you will still have to get up, look presentable and put on your best “mom” face.
I have had mornings where I have literally been screaming my head off at my kids because they are fighting or not listening but you can bet that when I arrive at school drop off I am calm and even a bit chipper. These are the days when I feel as though I am a character in a movie. This is especially challenging when your kids are acting like morons in public and need to be reprimanded.
That is when I have to channel all my inner strength and restraint. When I just take a deep breath and smile while calming leaning down and give my kid the biggest “clenched teeth whisper yell” threat I can think of quietly in their ear, praying that they stop and no one hears what I said to them.
5. You will, at some point, be the dumbest, most embarrassing human being on the planet.
This refers mostly to the pre-teen and teen years. The eye rolls, the loud sighs, staring their phones for hours on end while you are completely ignored and given attitude for days. I have traveled a lot, am relatively well educated and well read and have lived a pretty interesting 42 years and yet there are days I am reduced to the driver/cook/maid/social coordinator and all around village idiot. Time to just accept it and have an adult beverage with people your own age!
For those of you that have kids, I’m sure you can relate to some of these and for those of you contemplating becoming parents I say, get ready and have a sense of humor! The good news is that on most days I look at my kids with pride, admiration and love and think “Those are my 3 awesome children!” And the other times, well, I guess I think “Who the hell are these kids and why are they calling me Mom?!?”