Soooo, before I became a parent, I had these hypothetical thoughts in my head of how life would play out once I had kids of my own. I mean, it wouldn’t be all that hard. My children would be these stellar little creatures and I would be the fun, easy going, patient-all-the-time mom. Yup, that’s right….parenthood would be this grand, daring adventure!
Well, I guess you could say it’s a daring adventure. But, in a different kind of way.
You see, before having kids, it was much simpler in my head (as most things are, right?). My naivety and innocence assumed that parenthood would be this effortless endeavor, rather easy in a sense…because, I liked children and was good with them!
And then BAM, reality strikes.
Years later (with a little maturity on my side), I become a parent and it’s not as simple as I thought.
Actually, let’s be candid. Parenthood is flippin hard!
Some days are quite glorious, while others are a downright mess! Don’t get me wrong… I love being a mom, but there are a few things I’ve come to know during parenthood (hopefully I’m not alone!).
10 Parenting Truths & Realizations
1. Household items take on new functions.
For quite some time, you’re going to have to get used to the fact that your house won’t look like the ones in magazines (as if they ever will). Get rid of the notion that items will stay “nice” or in their original condition. Say hello to scratch marks, dents, stains, and everything in between. You can expect many, if not all of these, at some point in time, to be transformed as such:
- Coffee table turned train table
- Couch cushions transformed into mini trampolines
- Pots & Pans become musical instruments (that haven’t been tuned in awhile)
- Stairs are now mountains that must be scaled.
- Walls will soon become a blank canvas for your budding little artist.
- Laundry baskets are now race cars taking a spin on a crash course test.
Have any others to add to this list?! Humor me and share one that your kids have re-imagined!
2. You have little tolerance for drivers who speed.
The two hot spots that always get me are school zones and grocery store parking lots. Honestly, it is any parking lot, really. Oh, and also neighborhood streets. I get it…we all go slightly over the speed limit, at times. But when the UPS truck driver comes flying (SCREECHING)….really fast….down my street, where there are only cul-de-sacs, mind you, every fiber in my body wants to run out in the middle of the street and throw something at his windshield, and maybe even flip him the bird. COME ON….there are kids everywhere! Slow down and be mindful of the areas you’re in. Expressways warrant more excessive speeds, not places where kids can be found!
3. You need a vacation from your vacation.
Because when is there time to RELAX with kids on vacation?! From the time you start packing until the moment you have to unpack, it requires all of the energy you have….and then some! While vacations are often packed full of fun and adventure, they also suck the life out of you. Packing up the car or getting through the airport and surviving the airplane rides is a feat in itself. Then, once on vacation, it’s keeping everyone happy, fed, and entertained. Many times, you feel more tired and worn out AFTER the vacation, which seems backward. Don’t we take them to unwind and get away from the hustle/bustle of life? As parents, you know what it feels like to need a vacation FROM your vacation. Is it too much to ask for a little time to sleep, rest, relax, and rejuvenate?
4. You develop hangovers without even drinking.
I believe that sleep deprivation has similar effects to a hangover, but even worse! I would rather deal with a late night out on the town, having consumed one too many glasses of wine, then waking up multiple times throughout the night to a crying baby, unsettled toddler, or child who can’t seem to stay in his/her bed. It’s amazing how I can feel the effects of a hangover….groggy, slow moving, heavy eyelids, brain fog, lack of energy, etc…..without having had a single drink the night previously. It’s called the parenting hangover, and it’s the worst of them all! The thing is…you try to fix the parenting hangover with a few glasses of wine, ultimately causing an additional hangover, which is now double the agony. Win-win, folks.
beg offer to take on undesirable chores.
It’s true. You will battle it out with your spouse to complete tasks you previously dreaded or avoided. I realize this sounds bad, but sometimes you are completely spent and exhausted….and the thought of getting some time to yourself (no matter the circumstance) and not have a child calling your name a million times, is worth doing an arduous chore. My hubby and I try to convince one another why we are “happy to mow the lawn!”
No…I’ve got it, really. I don’t mind at all.
(I never had this attitude doing chores growing up).
My reasoning? I love having the sun on my face and getting some fresh air, even if it’s not from relaxing on a lounge chair. I’ll take it however I can get it. The same can be said with cleaning up after dinner. This is a common one in our house.
“Oh, don’t worry babe….I got this. Happy to help.”
Because at the end of a long day, getting through bath and bedtime requires even more effort. I think I’ll take the dirty dishes. Or, how about vacuuming, putting away laundry, walking the dog or grocery shopping?! Those all get thrown into the mix, too!
So, where do I draw the line?? Shoveling the driveway. I will never willingly go freeze outside in frigid temps simply to get some time alone. Not enticing enough!
6. Hostage negotiators can’t hold a candle to you.
There are two times of the day that require skills akin to a hostage negotiator. When it’s time to eat dinner and getting ready for bath & bed. Every parent must learn some tactics to get the job done. Trust me when I say that eating dinner with kids can be a painstakingly long process from the start to end. Put veggies on a plate and your children will delay in every way possible. In order to get them to actually TRY the food on a plate, let alone actually eat and finish it all, you need to strategize and become clever with your approach. Sometimes it requires making up silly songs, creating pieces of art with the food, or even using reverse psychology. These may motivate them to finish in less than three hours.
Now, bath and bedtime are no different. Negotiating techniques are a must when putting your kids to sleep, especially after the multitude of reasons they give for needing you:
“I’m thirsty. Can I have a drink of water?”
“I need a band-aid (for their non-existent wound).”
“Can you read another book (after the previous 5)?”
“You didn’t say I love you.”
“Can you sing just ONE more song?”
I’ll admit it. I usually get sucked in. It’s hard for me to deny their requests. But, after an hour of bedtime being delayed, enough is enough. They’ve got my number and know it. Mama needs a glass of wine, so it’s time to get down to business and put an end to the negotiations.
7. There’s a new backseat driver in town!
And I’m not referring to your spouse who’s sitting shotgun. It’s your kids in the backseat who suddenly know more about the rules of the road than you. “Both hands on the wheel!” or “The light is YELLOW! Slow down, mom!” will become standard statements you hear shouted your way. The intent is often caring…just get used to the fact that this becomes the new norm.
8. Clothing selection is not a battle worth picking.
For the first year or two of life, you have full control. The coordinating outfits, cute accessories, and stylish shoes are tolerated by your little love. But soon, the need for autonomy kicks in and self expression becomes important to your kids. Enter mismatched clothes, shorts in the winter, pajamas throughout the day, and absolutely no “hard pants”….aka jeans. When I was little, I refused to wear socks or tights with seams at the toes (my poor mom…she was a saint!). Do you realize how difficult it was to find these items WITHOUT seams at the toes?! Next to impossible. I also refused to wear anything “itchy”. Pitch any clothing made of wool, tulle, or fabric that wasn’t soft. It was safe to say I may have worn leggings for a good part of my childhood. Sooner or later, you’ll realize that the clothing struggle is real, but not a battle to pick. Easier said than done, I know. But, there will be more important wars to win.
9. Your “missing items” collection has expanded.
Pre-kid days, your collection of missing items consisted mainly of tupperware lids and socks. How did these always manage to go astray?! It always seemed like a complete pair or set lasted a few short weeks until one was MIA. Fast forward to the parenting days, and your collection now includes even more missing items….. pacifiers, sippy cups, your brain, pieces to puzzles and board games, mittens/gloves, your brain, phone chargers, shoes, your brain. Whether they were wedged within a couch cushion, had fallen behind a piece of furniture, was left at someone’s house, or sunk to the bottom of a black hole….somehow, they never make a return, and my brain is the one I miss most!
10. Get comfortable with the sound of your voice.
Because you will repeat yourself nonstop. I think I’m getting payback for all the times growing up that I was “in a zone” or selective listening took over. Word has it that I’m known for that. The issue with this lack of listening thing is that it doesn’t come and go. It persists during every age and stage….toddlers through teenagers! It can feel like pulling teeth when:
- You say their name multiple times with no response…not even a glance.
- You ask a question and are ignored in the process.
- You give a direction (put on shoes, start homework, stop doing ___, etc.) over and over.
You know what? Kids become really savvy at the whole, “I didn’t hear you” excuse or simply shutting you out. I swear I feel like I’m talking to a wall sometimes. I guess karma works in weird ways, right mom?!
And a final one, for good measure…
Parenthood is similar to folding a fitted sheet.
It’s true. Both require copious amounts of patience. After many worthy attempts to get the job done and whispering WTF to yourself multiple times over, you eventually just wing it (pretending to know what you’re doing), do the best you can, and call it a day….imperfections and all!