I was going to have four kids, none of them would watch television. Their days would be filled with educational games and activities. They'd all spend an hour a day reading, after their nap and healthy snack. Oh, and I wouldn't put up with all the crap my parents did. I'd be tough, but not too tough, but also kind and patient in a fine balance my parents never mastered.
I'd be as close to the perfect parent as possible. Or so I planned.
And then I had a kid.
And my plan vanished along with sleep and sanity.
I think back to the naive youngster I was and I want to throat punch her and her pretentious attitude. But parenthood has a way of humiliating....I mean humbling...all of us.
So here are six things I wish I knew ahead of time: (Don't worry. I also share helpful ways to manage parenthood. Just stick with me....)
1. Parenting is HARD. Like "what the freakin' freak did I get myself into??!!" HARD! I don't know if any parent really comprehends the responsibility of raising another human being until that being is laying in her arms, screaming like a cat getting run over by a vacuum cleaner. That's when sh*t gets real, y'all. But really, it's just the beginning because with each new developmental milestone comes new obstacles. So just when you think you've figured out your Poop Monster's habits, BAAM! Developmental milestone! And you're back to the beginning.
2. Most days you'll have to decide between sleep, eating or showering because you simply don't have the physical or mental alertness to do all three. I put showering on the list, but all parents know that's the first thing to go. Do you value personal hygiene? Tough, because you're about to wear the same spit-up soaked t-shirt for six days straight.
3. Everything is your fault. EVERYTHING! Oh, your kid doesn't eat organic orange slices after scoring twelve soccer goals in the championship game? Your fault! Obviously, you suck as a parent because you didn't find time between crying in the bathroom and chasing your half naked child through the aisles of Target to fix a healthy snack and train a pro-athlete. What a disappointment you are Mother.
4. Repetition is next to Godliness. "Good night stars, good night air, good night noises everywhere. Good night stars, good night air, good night noises everywhere, good night stars, goodnight air, good night noises everywhere, good night stars, good night air, good night noises everywhere, good night....GET THE F**CK TO SLEEP....good night stars, good night air, good night noises everywhere..."
5. Who likes an audience while they go to the bathroom? Oh! Oh! I know!! MOM DOES!!
6. Poop. Oh. My Good. Gracious. The mountainous about of poop will blow your mind. Not only will you literally be wrist deep in it, you'll talk about it. ALL. THE. TIME. Color, Consistency, Frequency, or CCF, will become your new ice breaker. "So Sue, how's little Johnny doing?" "I'm SO glad you asked! Yesterday, his explosive human excrement erupted from the back of his diaper! It was a healthy shade of cinnamon, unlike yesterday which looked more like a burnt chestnut. But the water to solid ratio is clearly worrisome. Anyways, we had to clean his entire crib while wearing Hazmat body suits, but it's all worth it to see little Johnny smile."
Oh, how naive I was.
But there are lots of ways to help get through these six common experiences.
1. Sing Jingle Bells in your head but replace all the lyrics with the F word.
2. When someone gives you a dirty look in a store because your child has decided that's the perfect time to renounce Jesus (true story), take a deep breath and imagine pulling that person's hair out. One strand at a time. While she's begging for mercy.
3. Play hide-and-seek, but instead of finding your child, take a Pintrest break to catch up on the latest trend in male hair buns.
4. And remember, parenthood is hard, but it's all worth it just to see little Johnny smile. :)